Things are just about to get back to normal after Tim's latest and last visit, before and during the May holiday. He again really enjoyed being in the classes, but this time he was also in the role of 'Interviewer'. The students had been practising interview skills in my previous lessons and Tim was amused by the ones who told him 'my English is poor', 'I don't want to be a teacher' or 'I used to be a good student but now I don't like working' (job interview for English teacher) but was impressed by most.
The rest of the time was an exhausting whirl of travel as I tried to show Tim a larger slice of Yunnan and impress him with my Chinese. Out first weekend included Ba Mei (boats through caves, horse and cart, buffalo cart, home stay, time-warp lifestyle) and Pu Zhe Hei (lakeside walks, beautiful scenery) and a bit too long on the bus.
Our main travels took us to Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Lugu Lake and Dali. We set off after class on Thursday, got the bus to Kunming, followed by the sleeper to Lijiang. Seemless organisation! This was Tim's first experience of a sleeper bus and, fortunately, he could dangle his longer legs out of the end of the bed so slept fairly well. In Lijiang we had rice noodles for breakfast while waiting for the Qiaotou bus to take us to the start of the Gorge where we were 'helped', or maybe hassled, by Margo, a formidable Aussie who owns the first cafe, and we were shown/told where to leave our luggage in her house. We obediently did so but slipped off to the next Guest House for a more laid-back welcome and a coffee at Jane's.
The walk was as amazing as before but the weather soon became wet and cloudy so visibility was fairly poor. We got lost in a bottle of 7 kuai Bai Jiu at Half Way House that evening, still only Friday, and socialised with fellow walkers from all over Europe, Australia and Asia before I bid a rather earlier than scheduled goodnight and retired to our 15 kuai dormitory. The next day we finished the walk and then descended to the Yangtse. This was followed by a magical stretch following the river to Walnut Grove over sharp precipices and under dangling rocks. Highly recommended, if you ever get the chance.
Tim loved the final stretch, with the proximity of the gorge and the Yangtse. It was still only Saturday so there was still plenty of time for more adventures.