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An Englishman in Hainan, Wuzhishan, August 2019

August 1st We’ll start with a bit of repetition, it’s Jethro Tull Again, this from the song ‘Stuck In The August Rain’ - “Brings jasmine tea on a painted tray, and bends to kiss my frown away. But I'm still stuck in the August rain; stuck out in the cloudburst once again.” As you probably guessed, it’s raining again. Not to worry, no walking was planned for today anyway. The car was due a service and being August, the insurance needed renewing so a trip to Sanya was called for. In order to get back in a day the alarm clock, (my phone), was also called for. We were there nice and early, before nine o’clock, and as usual were straight in. We never have to book in advance and we never have to wait because most Chinese people, even with a new car, never take it back to the dealer for a service. They find a ‘cheap guy on the corner of their street’; I’d prefer to play safe. It does work out more expensive for us but probably not as much as you guys would pay. Today the service was about ¥950.00 (£113.00) and the insurance was ¥3800.00 (£452.00) so that’s my pension gone for this month!

Mind you, I did fall in love while I was there, with the successor of my car model. I have a Dongfeng AX7, (they do love their numbers) and the new one, although still being an AX7, also has a name, AEOLUS. (I had to Google it – In Greek mythology, Aeolus (quick-moving, nimble") was the keeper of the winds and king of the island of Aeolia, one of the abrupt rocky Lipara islands close to Sicily. Later classical writers regarded him as a god. Not a bad name for a car I suppose. Anyway, here’s just one photo of the many I took.

This one has a BMW 1.6T engine where mine has a Peugeot 2.3. I guess the BMW is a more modern engine, it certainly appears to give more power and better fuel consumption. There are only two things wrong with it. The first one is that it doesn’t have a 12V socket in the boot for our cool box, (necessary for our shopping safaris to Haikou and Sanya). The second is SWMBO won’t let me buy it, just because we don’t have the money!

Speaking of money, it was also time to pop into the bank, yes, even that is in Sanya, we don’t have one in Wuzhishan, to check that my pension is up to date and to change some more money for normal expenses plus monthly hospital costs. The difference in exchange rates from when we arrived in China in 2007 until now is absolutely amazing, or should I say horrendous, and definitely not all due to the infamous ‘Brexit’. If it had stayed the same, I would be far better off and could possibly even have saved some and bought the car we saw today! Have a look at this graph.

On the way home, where we usually stop for a break, the local authorities have tarted up their village quite well. We’d be very happy if our main street was made to look like this.

We’re more worried that they will not only knock down the buildings they have emptied and closed off but also knock down the trees and build multi-storeys in their place. Hopefully we are worrying about nothing.

August 2nd It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring. Well, he wasn’t exactly snoring but then again he wasn’t very busy either. Walking was out today so we both had a lazy day. We did clean and polish our bedroom this afternoon though, one more job out of the way.

August 3rd We went to bed with the rain and woke up to it this morning. It did ease off though, enough for me to go shopping. I needed a new mouse as my old one had gone crazy and was ‘double clicking’ all over the place. Consequently, I was opening web pages twice, once in a new tab and once in the existing one, and also closing web pages when I didn’t want to. It was very frustrating to say the least. Before going, I checked on my phone dictionary the Chinese translation for ‘computer mouse’ and thought I was all set. When I got to the shop I had to resort to miming again because my phone dictionary was wrong! These things are sent to try us. I managed to get home before the rain came down too hard, only walking just over four kilometres today.

Rain doesn’t just stop play here; it also stops work, and in some cases destroys it. Here’s what happened to the riverside where they had made a road for the trucks carrying out the work on our new park. As you can see, it’s disappeared.

This view took my fancy today, clouds almost down in the city.

The rain then decided to stay all day so once again no walkies. It did give me a chance to do some more work in the house though. The second bedroom has now been prepared for our royal visitors and all the photos on all the walls have been dusted off too. We’re getting there.

August 4th I beat the weather today! Well, if I’m honest, the rain didn’t show its face until later in the evening. In the morning, when we thought there was a strong possibility of it raining, I decided I had to go out anyway, after two days indoors. I walked Huan to her dance class and then carried on to do my daily ten. Only one photo, reflections.

The afternoon was spent sorting out the office, scanning all the paperwork on my desk, filing it, both in ‘real’ folders and in PC folders. Every inch was also cleaned and polished, that’s a big job when you have to move all the books and the knock knacks. By the time I finished I was ready for the knacker’s yard and a shower.

August 5th Today I was under orders not to go out and walk which was a shame as the weather was pretty good. Instead I was ordered to stay in and sort out the living room and dining room so that’s exactly what I did. You would think it was a simple job but I can assure you it isn’t. Everything on the wall units and cupboards has to be removed and washed, the cupboards cleaned and polished and then everything returned again. By the time Huan returned from dance class I had just about finished the living room.

After lunch, being Monday, it was shopping day. This week is only a small shop as we will be off on Friday up to Haikou again for a needle and also to meet our visitors. Yaaay! When we came out of the supermarket the rain had reared its ugly head again so I rushed to the car and got Huan’s umbrella then loaded the shopping in the back. It was then my turn to get in. Should be easy enough, open the door, bend forward to get in the car, close the door and Bob’s your Uncle. I managed to get the first part wrong and bent forward then opened the door, quite forcibly, into my head!

Huan was ready to give me the rest of the day off but I carried on and finished the dining room when we got home. The ‘homework’ is nearly all done now. No walkies for either of us after dinner, the rain was still around.

August 6th SWMBO told me I had to stay in again today and sort out the kitchen. Kitchens may be small in China but they can still get dirty. Ours wasn’t too bad although I did learn that perhaps we need to do our ‘deep spring cleaning’ a little more often than we do. I found that the batteries in our battery operated knife sharpener and our battery operated scales, both of which haven’t been used for quite a long time, had corroded badly. The corrosion was so bad that both of those two items had to be thrown away. Lesson learnt for the future I think. Anyway the kitchen is now complete so there is very little left on the list, who knows, I may get out for a walk tomorrow.

We did have a gentle stroll today after dinner, collecting Huan’s lottery winnings! Needless to say we will not be moving house or buying a new car yet.

August 7th Free! No ‘homework’ for me today so I had a leisurely stroll around the town, buying my monthly aspirin, a new lighter, today and tomorrow’s lottery tickets and looking for a mains to USB charger. I went to meet Huan from her dancing class and what do you know, she finished early today. A very relaxing morning even though eight kilometres was covered. The only photo of interest was this lovely motorcycle, a Honda Goldwing. It seems too nice to call it a motorbike. Huan was wondering if I wanted to buy one. Much as I like it I doubt if I would have the strength to pick it up if it fell over, or even keep it upright while driving it. It is a beauty though, don’t you agree?

The rest of the day was very lazy for me but not for Huan. She cleaned out the shoe rack, poor girl. Some of the shoes haven’t been used since we left Abu Dhabi in 2007 so they went straight to the recycling bin. After that we joined forces to try and stuff the sofa cushions back in their covers which had been washed, never an easy job!

August 8th Today was a little easier than the previous few days. Once our bedding was washed and hung up to dry we went shopping to buy the mains to USB charger that I had seen, necessary for the spare bedroom visitors! Huan also bought some mothballs to put outside the front door and hopefully keep little creatures, mostly lizards we think, away from the shoe rack. On our way home, we stumbled across someone trying to drive his car across wet concrete. He was reversing across it with a front wheel drive car and as you’d expect, he sunk! With a bit of cajoling from me, we got the workmen to help and a few of us were able to push him out. His daughter ended up ankle deep when the car caught its footing. Unfortunately, Huan was holding the shopping and didn’t have her camera with her either so the only photo I have is of the aftermath. I tried to explain to the driver that his first port of call would need to be the car wash to quickly wash off the concrete while it was still wet. I have no idea whether he understood me or not.

In the afternoon we finished off tarting up the house and then relaxed before packing in the evening. We have to be in Haikou two days before our visitors because I have yet another hospital visit tomorrow.

August 9th We were up at half past four and on the road by five this morning. We weren’t as early as we usually are but we were doing fine until we were part way into Haikou itself. We heard an enormous bang and then the sound of a wheel almost on its rim. Luckily for us, it happened just a couple of hundred metres away from a tyre service place. Here’s the flat and the place.

Once they got the wheel off we could really see the damage, we’re pretty lucky on two counts, first that it didn’t happen on the highway and second that it wasn’t a front tyre.

By the time the (two) new tyres had been fitted, (that took some explaining to Huan), and we’d had breakfast we were even later than we had expected at the hospital. First off, we went for a blood test to check my PSA levels; we had got this paper from the doctor last month. This was the beginning of my nerves, I hate needles! The results will be available tomorrow afternoon. Then it was ‘hormone time’. As usual, joining lots of queues was necessary. When we got to the front of the first queue the cashier told us that the doctor had no free appointments today. Huan explained that this was a monthly repeat prescription so we were sent off to the doctor to get a note from him saying that he would see us which we could then take back to the cashier. From there it was back to the doc again to get the prescription, for which a photo of the ‘needle box’ was needed from my phone. I’m not sure why they couldn’t see the details in my file. Prescription in hand it was then back to the cashier, pay the money and then off to another window to wait for my name and window number to be called. Box in hand we returned downstairs to the ‘needle room’ which seemed a little busy today. However, four people were there for one poor little baby who wasn’t happy at all. I don’t blame her; I had to leave the room! Before long it was my turn and as planned, Huan took a video of the procedure. By now I was quivering in my boots. However, even though there was a little pain, this particular nurse was as good as the one on the ward and it was nothing like the last few months. Here’s a screen shot, notice plugged up eyes and ears!

A very happy me and probably a relieved Huan, who has to put up with me, then went walking. I took us past a guitar shop that we know and we just happened to pop in. Upon seeing a couple of guitars hanging on the wall with strings hanging off the guitars we then popped out very quickly. I then managed to get us both lost, a fairly normal occurrence and we ended up doing about eight kilometres.

After a little snooze in the afternoon we set off looking for a hotel I had seen on the web, on Haidian Island, with a sea view and a swimming pool. Eventually we decided that the web was wrong and that this particular hotel does not exist. I managed to get us lost yet again so by the time we got back to the hotel, after a nice dinner, that was another nine kilometres clocked up. Considering we weren’t planning on walking at all today I think we did well!

August 10th This was a day best forgotten about. Trying to book a hotel for us and our visitors and the problems were plenty. First off my laptop was refusing to play so finding all the hotels I had previously checked from home didn’t work. Secondly, when arriving at various hotels the prices were not as advertised but a lot more, in one case nearly double. In the past, in Hainan, we’ve checked online and then got cheaper prices at the hotels, not any more it seems. Thirdly, all the hotels would give a cheaper price if you used WeChat. This won’t work for all foreigners who may or may not have WeChat, or like me may have the international version which doesn’t include the ‘wallet’. We did manage to sort something out in the end and booked two rooms at the Eadry Royal Garden Hotel. The staff didn’t know what the first word meant either!

August 11th I had managed to leave the flight details for Christopher and Amber on my desk, at home, in Wuzhishan. “No problem” I said to Huan, “they arrive at 11:45, we’ll be fine.” Just as well that we were early at the airport because the arrival time was 10:45 and the plane was on time. (See how busy the airport is!)

The ‘arrivals’ took some time to come out, they were successful but their luggage wasn’t. It seems their first flight had been delayed and the suitcases weren’t quick enough’ to join them on the second flight. Chris wasn’t worried though, he made a new friend immediately.

The hotel we had booked is not far from the airport at all. It’s quite a big place; they even give you a map to help you find your way around.

There are plenty of photos, you can find them in my Royal Garden Hotel album by following this link. https://www.tropicalhainan.com/forum/m/photos/albums/my/organize/Eadry-Royal-Garden-Hotel/owner/Unclebob/

Mistakes had been made with our booking but all was sorted out, the staff are helpful enough and some have a smattering of English. Once ensconced in our rooms we met for coffee and a sandwich, very nice indeed and not too expensive, at least the sandwiches weren’t. Chris and Amber then went for a kip; they needed it after such a long flight. Huan and I had a ‘swim’ in the pool outside our room! You can see the pool in the photos. It should be deeper, 1.2 metres, and then we could have swum more easily. Still it cooled us down and I even got a bit of sun.

Evening time and the sleepyheads were awake so we set off for dinner. Before we even reached the restaurant Chris had found numerous lizards and a new friend, a chipmunk.

We ate in the Cantonese Kungkuan restaurant and all four of us can heartily recommend it. The food was great; the beer went down well too. The only thing we noticed was that we were the only customers, maybe we were too early or maybe all the Chinese guests were in the ‘Western’ restaurant. Chris managed to find another little friend on the way home, I wish I still had eyes like him.

After a little bit of exploring around the hotel we decided an early night was called for. I had a little later night as I had to transfer the files from my camera and from the dashcam to my portable HDD.

August 12th First port of call this morning was breakfast of course and I can happily say that we were all pleased with what was on offer. The only thing missing was baked beans and marmalade but that was no big deal in view of the spread.

Once we were sated then it was time for shopping. Our guests’ suitcases were still missing so additional T-shirts and shorts were needed. I decided that the best way to go was RT Supermarket, everything under one roof and cheap enough. We were successful and got everything we needed.

From there we went to the “Five Official’s Temple.

As usual, loads of photos were taken there, here’s one of the ‘five officials’.

A lot more photos can be found in the album by following this link. https://www.tropicalhainan.com/forum/m/photos/browse/album/Five-Officials-Temple/owner/Unclebob

From there it was on to Qi Lou old town, with the SatNav getting us almost there and then us remembering the underground car park. The pedestrian street wasn’t too crowded today, I guess the weather may have been just a little hot!

Some of the locals were out and about though, here’s Chris nursing his hand which he burnt touching the ‘hot woman’s knee’, and then a couple of guys chatting over tea.

Before heading back to the hotel we ate in the food court above the underground car park, quite a nice place, lots of choice and I even managed to get a cupful of ice for my coke. Now we are a long way south in Hainan but the ‘Beijing Bikini’ can still be seen here, and by the looks of this guy, it is not anything new!

In the hotel we chose the ‘Western’ restaurant this evening and it wasn’t too bad at all. I wouldn’t exactly call it ‘Western’ but it did cater to Western tastes and for the four of us it was less than ¥500.00 and an extra ¥60.00 gave us all the beer we could drink! We all ate too much and had more than enough to drink as well! The ladies went and stuck their feet in the “Flesh Eating Fish Pool” after dinner; us boys gave it a miss. I quite like it myself but I prefer the whole body thing and a bit more time, it was almost time to close for the night. Some good news from the airport, Chris and Amber’s suitcases have been located and should be on a plane to Haikou tomorrow. Let’s hope that’s the case.

August 13th Breakfast was even better today, there were baked beans! After that we went off to Movie Town, which is a bit like a theme park I suppose. It’s not complete yet but what was there wasn’t too bad. Here’s the map.

I was just a teeny weeny bit disappointed though, there were too many ‘souvenir shops’ inside the old shop fronts, only a handful had their old interiors. It would also have been nice to see people in period costumes walking around and also to have been able to buy more movie related souvenir stuff. However, don’t let me put you off, it is worth a visit and we all enjoyed it. The other three all had KFC and I partook of an ice cream mixed in with an iced latte, not a bad lunch at all. You can find a lot more photos in the ‘Movie Town’ album, as well as the brochure and details of how to get there. https://www.tropicalhainan.com/forum/m/photos/browse/album/Movie-Town/owner/Unclebob

While we there good news came from afar, well from my telephone anyway. The ‘missing luggage’ had arrived in Haikou which made for two very happy souls! We passed by the airport on the way back to the hotel and collected them with no hassle at all. Good job done by ‘Scoot Airlines’.

After a relaxing afternoon for our guests, but not for us, (Huan doing ironing and me doing photos), we went out ready to hail a cab to take us into Haikou for dinner. We took the waiting opportunity to have our photos taken in the wedding car.

The taxi took us all the way to where we wanted to go without any problems whatsoever which although not surprising for Chris and Amber did surprise Huan and I a little. Our destination was the Chimac bar and restaurant where we met Jake and Rachel, Patrick and Flora and of course Padraig. A nice evening was had by all and yet again I would heartily recommend anyone who is visiting Hainan to pay this place a visit. The food is exceptional!

Another taxi took us back to the hotel, this time by a route that I remembered, and we were safely tucked up in our beds before half past eleven, hopefully, to enjoy a good sleep.

August 14th We were all up reasonably early this morning, well early for a holiday day anyway, so that we could be on the road quickly after breakfast. No baked beans today but I still enjoyed an ‘almost full English’!

Today’s destination was Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park, which took us a little longer than necessary because the signs to it disappeared as we got closer. However, we got there, did the walking safari first and the drive through second. It’s well worth a visit.

Unusually for this kind of park there are plenty of places to stop for refreshments and bathroom breaks should you need them. The walking safari had plenty of places where you can feed the animals too without paying extortionate prices. Children will definitely enjoy their visit and I have to say that we all enjoyed it too. You can find the photos here with the brochure and more details: - https://www.tropicalhainan.com/forum/m/photos/browse/album/Tropical-Wildlife-Park/owner/Unclebob

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a roadside eatery where we ate pork, goose, fried rice and sweet potato leaves. It was very tasty and I think we all ate too much. Huan also found the well out the back, here’s me having a go.

Once back at the hotel we visited what they call the ‘petting zoo’, where it appears that no petting is allowed. Still it gave us some more photos, don’t forget to check the hotel album. In our room, I tried to keep Huan away from washing and ironing but I failed. However, she did manage to get forty minutes in the pool outside our room while I was still busy with photos.

For our last night here, having already had Chinese for lunch we went to the western restaurant again. A mistake was made with one of the orders but the staff did offer free food in lieu so no real worries. Today I managed to take some photos of the restaurant; you can find them in the hotel album too.

August 15th Sad day, time to leave the hotel and make our way back to Wuzhishan. Huan and I took some photos of the ‘Tea House’ as we were up early before our first ‘item on the agenda’ which was to make the most of our last buffet breakfast. Needless to say, we all did it justice! After that, we took our last dip in the pool beside our rooms before packing up and moving out. Once back in the evening we took our guests to our normal ‘choose food’ place, I think they enjoyed it.

August 16th All of us slept a little later than usual, one more than everyone else! It was a very busy day for me consolidating all the photos from my camera and phone, Christopher’s camera, phone and GoPro and then editing like mad. A lot of dashcam uploading was required as well, that may be finished in a day or two. We hadn’t planned anything touristy for today so that our guests could rest a little, it’s a good job too as it poured down with rain for half the day. In the evening, it was time for a visit to our local KMC. Yes, you did read that right; it’s our local KFC copy.

KMC went well enough although I do wish they wouldn’t foist soft drinks on you. On the way home, we passed one of the shops where we often talk to the man and his birds. Today he took them out of the cage to feed them.

Not only that, but he let me hold them while they were having their nosh too, I loved it.

August 17th The weather caught us out again today. We decided to go swimming up the mountain at the ‘21’ Hotel’ but the nearer we got the harder it rained. Giving up on our endeavour I decided to visit the bank but on the way passed the museum. That had been closed when our guests were last here so we popped in to check. It was open!

You can see a lot more photos, taken on a previous visit, by following this link:- https://www.tropicalhainan.com/forum/m/photos/albums/my/manage_objects/Hainan-Ethnic-Culture-Museum/owner/Unclebob.

While I then went to the bank, Huan took Chris and Amber to visit the ‘new wet market’. They got back to the car before me because the ‘new’ market tenants all appeared to have moved back to the refurbished ‘old’ market. Topping up the fuel tank was the next job so we drove all through the town even showing Chris our ‘Lady of the Lake’. When we reached the fuel station there was a long line so I retraced our route all the way back to the first one. All plans were then abandoned for the day, except for this evening’s, so it was home for lunch.

Today was Chris and Amber’s wedding anniversary so we treated them to dinner at our only western style (sort of) restaurant, “Coffee Prinz”. The prices have come down and the quality is still good although you do have to be careful what you order. Chris’s sizzling steak was great, Amber’s fried noodles not so good, Huan’s ‘soup noodles’ were fine. “What about yours?” I hear you ask. Well, there was a mix-up with my order which was first blamed on other people booking their tables in advance and hence getting their “Seven Powder Chicken” before me, and secondly blamed on new staff in the back who cooked mine and then sent it to someone else. I ended up cancelling my order, eating some of Chris and Amber’s leftovers and then having a lovely “Banana Boat” dessert.

At least we all enjoyed the evening, I wonder if the two bottles of “Great Wall Cabernet” had anything to do with that?

August 18th Today’s plan was a repeat of yesterday’s but one of our guests was feeling a little delicate so we all had a lazy day instead. We did go out in the evening to one of our local Muslim restaurants where the ladies both had “ròu jiā mó”, the men had lamb and beef and we all shared two plates of fried rice. It was ‘lubbly jubbly’ as they say.

Chris and Amber wanted to try ‘stone walking’ again so went down to the town square and obliged their whims. Huan joined them but my ‘soft feet’ had a rest. No photos were taken but a few videos were, here’s a screen shot from one of them.

August 19th We had a fairly successful day today, the plan went well. Chris and Amber wanted to go rafting, after seeing the video by Patrick and Jake on Tropicalhainan.com. I would have liked to have given it a try but there’s an age limit, 60 for men and 55 for women. If I had tried to cheat, my passport would have been checked. Huan was not feeling so good so ended up waiting in the car until our wanderers returned. I took the opportunity to make a little Keymission video for my You Tube channel, you can see it here: - https://youtu.be/Pi1ZkkaVLl0

Chris and Amber really enjoyed their ‘ride’; it took them just over two hours to raft down the river, get showered and changed and then get the bus back to where we were waiting. I of course got soaked while waiting for them to come back!

 

Should you fancy trying it yourself, and I highly recommend it, then check out both my video referred to above and this one https://www.tropicalhainan.com/discover-hainan-episode-6-white-water-rafting-in-wuzhishan/. We are not sure at what time it closes but from our arrival, for the twelve o’clock run, until we left at nearly three o’clock, there was a constant stream of customers arriving and taking off downriver. The place itself is very well organised and there are restaurants should you fancy eating after your ‘wild water experience’.

In the evening Huan went straight to bed, I guess it would have been better if she had stayed there this morning. The rest of us went to the burger restaurant and took a photo just to let Huan know we were missing her. That one’s not for you! We had a walk round the town square where Chris was lucky enough to film four different dancing groups. Finally, as we got home, we found a frog outside our building main door and tried to get as near as we could to take its photo without frightening it into jumping down a three metre drop.

August 20th We had a minor communication breakdown this morning and I thought Huan was fine, when in reality, she should have stayed home in bed. Today we were off to Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone to see the “Guanyin Statue”. This is ‘three figures in one’ statue with the three figures representing peace, wisdom and mercy. This is definitely another place worth visiting; the grounds are beautiful and for the most part well maintained. Unfortunately, you can’t go to the top of the statue but the views from the fourth floor which you can go to, are wonderful. You can see a lot more photos in the album: - https://www.tropicalhainan.com/forum/m/photos/browse/album/Nanshan-Cultural-Park/owner/Unclebob

 

As I say, Huan wasn’t so well and didn’t walk around with us so after we had seen the ‘lady in the sea’, and had a little lunch, we returned to Wuzhishan. There is a hotel on site and plenty of places to eat so I would suggest staying at least one night, two would be even better.

We drove home via Ledong; put Huan to bed, and then Chris and Amber went out for dinner while I made myself a lovely cheese and beetroot sandwich. Hopefully Huan will be a little better in the morning but I think we’ll make it a lazy day anyway.

August 21st Huan still in bed, hot water and dry toast provided. The rest of us were just lazy although I did upload two more albums to Tropicalhainan.com.

Lunch for Huan was rice soup so she had to get up and press the right button for me! If I’m ever cooking a meal that includes rice I just use a saucepan. Sandwiches for the rest of us, I can’t go wrong there!

The children went shopping in the afternoon, in the rain! I did absolutely nothing worthwhile apart from check in on Huan now and then.

Come evening time and Huan was on rice porridge again then straight back to bed. I’ve never known her so knocked out. We went out for dinner. On the way, Chris spotted a caterpillar which we both took photos of, this time his turned out better. He also noticed that this one seems to have a ‘tail’ which may or may not be a ‘stinger’.

The restaurant that I chose had no pictures for most of the dishes and my Chinese wasn’t helping too much but we succeeded and had a reasonable meal. We passed by our local supermarket on the way home where Chris took a fancy to chicken feet, that is photographing them and not eating them!

August 22nd Breakfast, (cereal and milk at home), was OK today and that’s about the best part of our day. Our plan was to go to Ri Yue Wan today, check out the Shaka Surf club and maybe have a swim, followed by a trip up the mountain to see the waterfall and have a plunge in the pool.

First off, the rain started on the way there and didn’t stop until we were nearly home in the evening. We went from the Sanya direction and missed the Shaka Surf Club completely, the sign is too small. Once we found it and realised that swimming was not on for today we ordered some drinks while we perused the menu, two piña coladas, one water and one iced coffee. The lady serving us told us that cocktails were off the menu because the person who mixes them was off duty. Replacement drinks were ordered, Chris’s came quickly, a bottle of beer, I poured Huan’s, a cup of hot water. Amber’s gin and tonic followed on shortly. My iced coffee got lost somewhere along the way and I changed my order for a cola.

Then we ordered our food, which took an inordinately long time to arrive and then only one came, Chris’s burger. He had ordered a ‘fried chicken burger’, the staff told him they had no buns and asked if he would be OK with bread. He agreed. His burger arrived and it was beef! Next up came Huan’s salad which, apart from being very late, was pretty good. Third, after another long delay was Amber’s, which was completely wrong. She had ordered a sausage and mushroom pizza which turned up with only chicken sausage, none of the promised salami, and even worse, no tomato base on the pizza. Amber was going to order a new one but at this time, we learnt that the cook had gone to his hometown for a couple of days and whoever was in the kitchen was struggling. They were having to feed the ‘workers’ before they fed us, this I presume would be the workers who had been surfing when we arrived and came into the club after us! Eventually mine arrived, a fry-up breakfast, again chicken sausages and no butter on the toast. From ordering our food to receiving the final dish took nearly two hours!

We had heard such good reports about this place and to say we were disappointed would be a gross understatement. Hopefully it was just a bad day and future visits may not have the same problems.

Ri Yue Wan is certainly a lovely place to visit and there are other places for food and drink so I would say you should still visit. There is a great little hotel, with a swimming pool, just across the road. It’s called Forrest Inn and is not too expensive if you fancy staying the night. As mentioned it was raining today but this panorama still gives you an idea.

Once we left the surf bar, we went off to find the waterfall which is only a few kilometres away. Unfortunately, once we found it, it was not really possible to get to it. A retaining wall had been built for the road making the initial access point lower than it used to be. On a dry day this would be no problem but on a wet, rainy day it looked a bit too treacherous to risk trying to clamber down.

So it was then back to Wuzhishan where we relented and took up our tenant’s suggestion of eating in her restaurant. This meal didn’t go as planned either, but in retrospect, it could have been our fault. We were ordering dishes to share and I think the restaurant does mostly hot pot. Consequently, our food was coming out in stages for the second time today! Had we realised they only did hot pot, we would have ordered accordingly and had a much better experience.

What a day, I think we were all glad to get home.

August 23rd Another lazy day for all although Chris and I did go for a little (6km) walk. We spotted one of the Li Minority frames by the river which had been taken over by vegetation, while still keeping the impression of the figure intact.

It seems like even the weather is not happy that our guests will be leaving tomorrow, Chris took a few pictures of the mountains being sad.

In the evening Chris and Amber treated us to a meal at CoffePrinz again and I’m happy to say that I got my dinner this time! In fact it was a wonderful meal as can be seen by this photo. Just look at that Thai seafood curry!

August 24th All good things must come to an end I suppose and today we took Chris and Amber off to Haikou airport for their return journey to the UK, via Singapore. Let’s hope they have better weather there. If you fancy coming to Hainan you don’t need to worry about the airport at all. For an international one it’s small,

and not too busy.

Once our guests were on their way, SWMBO had asked me to drive to Sanya to collect the rent on our apartment there. That’s another 240km on top of the 170km I’d already driven this morning, plus of course another 130km or so to drive home again. It’s a good job I like driving! After all that, it turned out to be a wasted journey because our tenant was not there, so we still have to go back next week sometime.

Finally, we arrived home, in the pouring rain, to a quiet empty house, where we had a sumptuous meal, comprising of a chicken sandwich and a cup of tea. I did get a pleasant surprise in the evening though, my nephew Kevin gave us a video call with my Aunty Sally, smiles all round.

August 25th Well, we should have slept like logs last night, we were both exhausted and in bed fairly early. However, I was up three times and Huan up once so we were nodding off most of today. Huan did do all the outstanding ironing this morning, despite my protestations. I know, I could have volunteered, but today was not the day. No cooking though, out for a Chinese cheapo buffet instead, and then another early night. The house seems a little empty and quiet at the moment, but we’ll get used to it again in a few days.

August 26th Neither of us is back to 100% yet but we’re getting there albeit still a little sleepy today. No walking yet, we had other plans. Our first stop was the Traffic Police office to do my annual check for fines and get a new emission sticker. Success on both counts! There are no fines on the computer as of today, more than likely because I’m becoming more and more paranoid about the armies of cameras. To get the emission sticker all I had to do was produce my registration, the latest insurance papers and passport. No money required at all today and that’s us good for another two years.

Second stop was shopping; the fridge needed re-stocking and a few other bits and pieces. On the way, we passed by the bank to put some money into Huan’s ‘Taobao’ bank, I’ve agreed to buy her a bicycle for her birthday. She will receive it early so that she can practice before her singing and dancing friend returns, they will then cycle to classes together. I’ve started worrying already! Look out for upcoming cycling, or falling off, photos!

Today’s ‘Chinglish’ comes from the supermarket, it seems what they are trying to do is rent this space for advertising.

Lazy lunch for both of us and then we moved the keyboard back into the living room so that our budding pop star can get back to her daily practicing. Maybe I should order ear plugs? Of course, if I buy a guitar I can go into competition with her!

August 27th Another lovely day in Wuzhishan but unfortunately we could not enjoy it. No ‘walkies’ today, instead we were off to Sanya again, our tenant said she would be available around lunchtime. Heading for the east side of Sanya we always take the mountain roads and not the highway, if it’s not too busy it’s quite an enjoyable drive. At the last village we buy some bottled coffee and then drink it under the highway bridge. I missed that particular spot today and we parked up on a side street, right near the Mercedes dealer. No, I’m not considering buying one. When we opened the doors, were horrified to find that our car was full of ants, they were around all the door frames. Last night we had parked up in a different place, under some trees, so maybe that’s where they came from. Our next port of call was a car wash to try and get rid of as many as possible. The attendant took a picture for us; just as well he did as I didn’t. A quick WeChat connection and then I had the picture too. This shows the rear nearside door but the read offside door was just as bad and there were some around the front doors and tailgate too.

Off then to visit our tenant, a wasted trip as it turned out. She had had three months to think about our proposed rent increase and then laid straight into us about problems with the door and she would only agree to the same rent. Huan suggested we fix the door, but she still argued. Finally Huan said “OK, if you don’t want to pay you have to move out in ten days”. That is not as harsh as it sounds, the tenant knew three months ago that there would be a rent increase and her existing contract has already expired meaning we are out of pocket. She also has a very favourable price when compared to others in the area. We left her saying she would have to ‘talk to her husband’ who always tells us we have to ‘talk to his wife’. Let’s see what happens. With a little luck they will see that we are not big meanies and accept the new rent or Huan and I will be back in the renovation business again!

On our way home we had to pass the express delivery offices to collect two of our latest Taobao orders. Here’s Huan holding up her pants and mine, guess who’s got sofa pants this time? Yes, it’s me!

Another cheapo Chinese buffet, a place we haven’t been for a long time, and as before, all was tasty and filling. We sat in the town square for a few minutes for me to have a ‘coffee and a fag’. That was also long enough for a couple of labourers to come and grill me with the usual questions. It didn’t take them long to get onto money, they thought that I, just like all foreigners, was earning at least ¥50,000.00 a month! Chance would be a fine thing. It took Huan a while to get them to understand so they then asked me ‘if I got money from my son when he visited’. It seems that is what they do when family visits. We enjoyed the chat and I learned something from it but I doubt he went away believing us.

August 28th This morning we took advantage of the nice weather and went out for our first walk since Chris & Amber left. We didn’t even manage five kilometres! Slowly we are feeling less washed out though so I guess we’ll eventually get back to normal. I took Huan past the ‘rabbit shop’ as we call it. It’s really a shop for farmers but they have a couple of rabbits there and there had been five little babies. When I visited with Chris I misunderstood the lady there and told Huan they had all died. It seems they had been given away to friends. Next stop was to check up on my little four legged friend’s puppies. She was very pleased to see me, it’s been a while and one of the puppies took a fancy to Huan’s shoes. She had nine pups, eight of which survived; this is the one who was tormenting Huan.

While we were there, ‘Daddy’ came back and two of the dogs and the chicken went straight for him. I guess they knew he had brought ‘goodies’. Here they are being fed some kind of sweet bread I believe.

After dinner we were both very lethargic but decided another walk was in order. I don’t think either of us really wanted to go but we knew that if either of us said no that the other one wouldn’t go alone. A stroll around the river still gave us slightly over six kilometres which put us back into the routine of at least ten a day. Coming home, we both thought the sky looked lovely, hopefully you’ll all think so too.

August 29th Typhoon PODUL was poodling around off Sanya today so we had rain here all day. I guess we’re on the fringes of the storm. No walkies ergo no photos.

August 30th So typhoon PODUL had poodled across to Vietnam when we got up this morning but it seems it was still wagging its tail over Wuzhishan. The rain didn’t stop until nearly nine in the evening. This was the view we woke up to which at times through the day was even worse but the flow does appear to be slowing now.

August 31st Much better weather today and we got out for a nice eight kilometre walk. It would have been longer but we had a call from one of the delivery companies to say that Huan’s bike had arrived. On our way back we passed her vegetable garden, which, after nearly a month of neglect, is looking just a little overgrown. These are her sweet potatoes.

Once we had the bike we sat down to our first ‘full English’ at home for over a month. It was absolutely lovely! Work started then, I had to assemble the bicycle, from a set of instructions in Chinese that didn’t always make sense when Huan or Google translated them. Anyway, all was going well, Huan even took a photo of me hard at work. You’re not seeing that because it is a side profile of me bending over with quite a large belly reaching for the floor! Things started to go awry when we got to putting the front wheel on. The front forks were not aligned at all, and there was no way I could get them to where they should have been.

A long chat with the supplier on Taobao resulted in us visiting a local bike repair man. I wasn’t sure what he was going to do but at least the view was good.

What he did in fact was use a pipe and put it over one of the forks and then bend it into the shape required. He’s obviously done this kind of thing before. He then continued to assemble the rest of the bike, good news for me eh? Here’s her Ladyship sitting on the finished result.

The rain had come back while we getting the bike repaired so we were stuck in a quandary. Huan didn’t feel brave enough to ride home, on a main road, in the rain, I couldn’t ride it because I had the car to drive. Huan has no driving licence (yet) or she could have taken the car. We solved the problem by stuffing the bike behind the front seats with both our seats as far forward as they would go. Huan didn’t mind too much but my knees were touching the dashboard. It’s a good job the car is automatic!

The supplier had told Huan he would pay for any repair work but in the end only offered to pay half. It wasn’t expensive, only ¥40.00 but that’s not the point, there was a sad lack of quality control before the bike left the factory in my eyes. Eventually Huan agreed to take a pump and a bicycle lock in lieu of any money so we’ll wait and see how that goes.

And so we come to the end of what for us was a lovely month. It already seems like weeks since Chris, Amber left, and it’s only a week. Life goes on, and so must we. We’ll be back of course, next month, so don’t forget to check in then. Bye for now!

Unclebob 31.08.2019 0 69
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