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An Englishman in Hainan, Wuzhishan, July 2019

July 1st “There I was on a July morning, Looking for love, With the strength Of a new day dawning, And the beautiful sun.” (Uriah Heap - July Morning). Well, I had to find a song that had nothing to do with either the Canadian or American days of this month!

Restful day for us, shopping, (it’s Monday), completing and uploading last month’s blog, some more Taobao shopping, surfing for stuff I’ll never buy, you know what I mean. Huan is out dancing this evening, I’m enjoying my ‘day off’. Mind you, there could be a few this month, it seems that the monthly weather forecast is cooler, much more rain and even one, or more, typhoons.

July 2nd We were ‘rained off’ today, no walking at all, no dancing for Huan in the evening either. It was just more PC, TV and online shopping. I did get my Endomondo summary for June though, quite impressive. I doubt we’ll get anywhere near that this month, the weather forecast is pretty miserable.

July 3rd “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”, or so they say. This ‘mad’ Englishman went out in the rain today. I walked Huan and her singing partner up to the OAP school and then carried on around the town. I had to; my left foot was quite swollen last night. If we had a bigger house I would consider buying a treadmill even though I think they are incredibly boring! At least the rain wasn’t heavy.

I saw this next photo on the wall where Huan goes. It seems it is a picture showing the photos of all the people who help to uphold the traditions and customs of the ethnic minorities here in Hainan, mostly Li.

Other than that, the only pictures I took today were of clouds, again. Huan did manage to get out dancing but I didn’t join her, I had managed to get my ten kilometres in this morning just going round and round in town.

July 4th In the USA they have ‘storm chasers’, here in Wuzhishan we have ‘rain hiders’. That’s Huan and I trying to gauge when we can get out without getting wet. We succeeded today though and despite not going far from town we got ten and a half kilometres in. Near the beginning of the walk we passed last month’s car with the ‘football picture’. Do you remember that? Well today I took two more photos of the same car. The first one is fairly self explanatory even though the owner has nothing to do with the military.

Now I thought the second photo was also military but Huan tells me it’s something about the camera fitted on his car. The Chinese, 老铁我有98K, 你有八倍镜吗, actually translates as “Old iron, I have 98K, do you have eight times the mirror?” I know, doesn’t make much sense to me either.

On our way round, we sneaked into the back gate of one of the new apartment complexes, this one is very posh, it has its own ‘nostalgia cinema’, ‘old people’s club, restaurant, medical centre etc. It’s very much like a retirement home condominium. Well, as we were prowling around underneath we spotted many blast proof doors, like this one.

Once back outside again we found out that the cellars of this complex are part of Wuzhishan’s ‘Civil Air Defence’. They are quite common in China but this is the first time I’ve seen one being built into a new building. Should we be worried?

Now I know I gave you a snail last month but I feel I have to show you another this month. This one has another little friend in it so we’ll call it ‘Passing Strangers’.

Huan was off singing again this afternoon, so I was duty cook. Today’s fare was a sort of cream of vegetable soup. I fried up just a little pork mince first and then kept that to one side. The pan then got filled with potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, cabbage, squash, mushrooms, tomato, garlic, parsley, with salt, tarragon and thyme. Towards the end I added a little brown sauce and a little ketchup just to sweeten it a little. Most of the juice was then poured off so I could use my ‘whizzer’ and liquidise the soup, still in the pan. Some of the juice was added back in just to make sure it wasn’t too thick like baby food! I did forget one thing though, that was either some cream or some milk, it would have been just that little bit better. To serve, I put the previously fried minced pork in the bottom of two soup plates and then just poured it over. Success! The boss was well pleased and even had seconds!

She’s gone dancing again this evening while I relax and recover from all this hard work! Or, I could just be doing my Chinese lessons again.

July 5th The ‘Rain Hiders’ were in luck today, the weather was fine. Huan chose the route, a little bit of countryside, only on the hard stuff, the soft would have been too soft after the rain, and then a little bit of the river on the way home. Here’s our first pictures where we went to prove we couldn’t go too far off the beaten track. It looks good underfoot here but a little further on we were proved right.

We passed my usual bovine friends where I took a few photos and Huan took a few. This cow would have been happy if I had tickled his ear for another few hours I think!

Next up is possibly a cricket. We both wondered why it wouldn’t move. Huan tried to shift it with her foot and it ended up on her shoe. Now, it may have had a problem with one of its legs but I think the reason it wouldn’t move was that it was watching the other little creature in the top left of the photo. You may need to enlarge to see what I mean.

Once back in town and approaching the riverside I gave Huan the option of going home. We had done seven kilometres by then and after all, her little legs are shorter than mine. She happily accepted and I carried on for another few kilometres. Somewhere along the way I became a murderer! I had just taken a couple of photos and set off again when I heard a ‘crunching’ under my left foot, I had stepped on a poor little snail. I did say sorry! The last photo for today is a cute little puppy dog where I stopped to buy my last bottle of water. Don’t let this picture deceive you; two minutes later, it was all over me but unfortunately, all those photos were out of focus.

The rest of the day was pretty normal, lazing around, surfing FB, watching YT etc. Huan went dancing in the evening but having done over twelve kilometres this morning I gave it a miss. I did my Chinese lesson and dreamt about guitars again.

July 6th Out early today, we both slept fairly well and woke up early. By twenty past seven we were on our way. It’s been quite a while since walked up to the reservoir so that was today’s little bit of exercise. It took us a while, an hour and thirty six minutes to walk up the seven kilometres, but we weren’t absolutely exhausted when we got there. I do still wonder though how I managed to do it in seventy minutes once last year! We spotted our ‘finger’ through the trees and another nice bunch too.

And just to prove we actually went up, here’s a screenshot of the route and an analysis showing the ‘up’ and the ‘down’.

Finally, here’s a photo of Wuzhishan from up above. Bonus points for you if you can spot our apartment! P.S. I can see it.

As we walked so far today, fourteen kilometres for Huan and sixteen for me, I didn’t bother with an evening walk, too lazy. Huan did here usual dancing though and I did my usual studying and surfing.

July 7th Today was another of those ‘will we, won’t we’ days. We were surrounded by clouds, all around, in fact 360º worth. In the end, we decided to go but to take care and not go too far. Of course the clouds never became rain and the sun even showed its face for a while. We had a pleasant enough walk though and took some video on the way round. It’s quite a long one and if you wish to see it you can find it here - https://youtu.be/MYZ0ReZ5MlE. Other than that, there are no photos from today, the Fuji stayed at home because we thought it was going to rain!

I spent half the afternoon trying to find a way to convert my karaoke CDs to mp4s so that we could put them on USB and join some of the snowbirds with their nice new little machine. It was all to no avail because my CD contains ‘dkd’ files which it seems are unique to Asia. Ah well, never mind, at least I won’t have to fight over the microphone.

The rain still hadn’t arrived by the evening so I was able to go out and make up today’s distance while Huan did her usual dancing and little walk on the bridge to nowhere.

July 8th “Lazy days and Mondays never let me down.” (Poetic licence.) Well, it wasn’t a rainy day and they don’t always let me down anyway. Being Monday it was shopping day followed by lazy day. Nothing else to report and no photos.

July 9th Today was a stroll rather than a walk. We’re off to Haikou again tomorrow and initially thought we were going to stay the night so a new rucksack was needed. My old one had finally given up the ghost. Here I am modelling the new one. Yes, I know the sales tag is still on, I found that out when we got home.

Walking back home along the riverside we came across what was left of a tree. There were a few ants on it so perhaps they ate it. There was no sign of any other little creatures.

Although it was only a stroll this morning we still got seven kilometres in which means I can take it easy this evening, not too much ‘making up the distance’ to do.

When we got home our last Taobao delivery arrived, at least for this batch of shopping. It was our new shower curtain and thankfully, it was a material other than plastic. We think it’s pretty, how about you? The advantage of this one is that it can be taken down and stuffed in the washing machine now and then.

Expecting visitors in the evening so out for an early walk, bought some beer, (just in case), came home just before Huan went out dancing. I christened the new shower curtain! The visitors came, Patrick and Jake, but were very boring and refused beer! Next time. PS, I had bought them so I had to have one to make sure they were OK!

July 10th “Early one morning, before the sun was rising, I heard my phone alarm calling now we must go.” Up early, half past three again, to make sure we can get into the hospital car park in Haikou. Our first problem was getting out of our own car park. It’s not quite so clear here but I only had a few centimetres in front of the car as well. It wasn’t easy but with Huan’s assistance we got out without having to wake somebody up. Reginald Molehusband would have been proud of me. (You’ll have to Google that one.)

We had to fill up the car first and luckily for us the petrol station attendant was there just having a little snooze in a chair. Not too many criminals here you know. Rather than go back through the town to pick up the highway we decided to carry on through to Maoyang and pick it up there. Our next surprise was turning a corner in the mountains and meeting a cow. If I’d been alone, and probably driving much faster than I do with Huan in the car, I think I would more than likely have had an accident!

Today Huan was through the ‘cashier’ fairly quickly but then we were kept waiting quite a while for the doctor. Bear in mind that these are repeat prescriptions and a long appointment is not really necessary. Today the consultant had different ideas. I did ‘jump the queue’ to get my prescription signed but then he decided to ‘go over my case’. He thought I should be having a daily pill as well as a monthly injection. I didn’t see why as nothing had changed since my last injection and I’m not due for another PSA test yet. Now, if they had told me that from the beginning, or after the last test, I would probably have accepted their decision with no argument. This time I told him I would consider his ‘recommendation’ when I got the result of the next PSA test in early August. I don’t really fancy having more drugs and seeing ‘all of my pension’ going into medication for the next three years.

After all the usual hopping about from cashier to dispensary afterwards we got down to the nurse who wasn’t busy at all. This was the most painful injection yet for a poor little softie like me. Next month Huan has promised to make a little video of it.

Shopping followed, a slightly disappointing visit to Corner’s Deli. It is smaller now, with no bakery section, no meat section so were limited to the freezers and shelves. Disappointingly there was no marmalade, no beetroot, no parmesan. As usual, we didn’t come away empty handed though. That was followed by a trip to RT Supermarket to make sure we have enough sandwich bread for #1 son’s visit in August. We were also lucky enough to find fillets of fish, most unusual in this part of the world.

In the evening yesterday’s visitors returned so had two or three hours on the balcony with a beer or two to keep us company. I do enjoy visits like that!

July 11th Well we both slept well last night apart from Huan being disturbed by a mosquito. It’s strange how they go for her and not me, but I’m not complaining! We had a nice long walk today, thirteen kilometres. First we went up the scenic walk to the ‘limpid pool’. Only one man was sitting on a rock when we arrived but three others had obviously been in for a dip. It’s not exactly a ‘swimming hole’ so I wonder if they are just doing to balance their ‘yin and yang’ or if they are just too tight to pay to go to a swimming pool.


Once home I found two photos on my WeChat account, shared by Patrick. These have been taken by Patrick and Jake using their drone camera and give you a much better idea of the town we live in. Patrick and Jake do a lot of stuff like this and you can see much more by going to https://www.tropicalhainan.com/category/the-haikou-guide/ or their YouTube site, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_PODgp4WUpjlGywKqcx8nw These two were taken around sunrise and I really like them.

After dinner, fish fillets of course, Huan went off dancing again and asked if I was going walking. I said “Sorry darling, I have some scanning and filing to do. Well it was true!

July 12th A soft shoe shuffle was on the agenda today. I’m not sure why but I didn’t fancy getting my boots on so it was sandals and a walk along the main road and back by the river side. I even made sure I didn’t do ten kilometres to force me to go out again this evening. Nothing jumped out and said ‘photo me’ but Huan found a butterfly when we arrived home. I couldn’t get very near without scaring it off. Here’s a very heavily cropped photo from my phone to give you an idea.

Come evening time and Huan didn’t pester me to go walking! She wasn’t going dancing today because her dancing buddy was helping her husband tile their balcony. I went anyway as that had been my plan this morning. On my way out I saw this next photo and thought to myself, “I should include that in today’s words”. Now, as you know, we live in an apartment, and as a consequence of that, we pay an annual maintenance fee. It’s not unusual I suppose anywhere in the world. Our fee isn’t even very expensive, ¥1662.00 which is about £193.00. However, many of our apartments are empty and I suspect the owners aren’t paying their fees. We’ve no way of knowing of course, there is no transparency in accounting here. Anyway, here is the photo. It is the CCTV pole near the gate. Now the CCTV either doesn’t work very often or isn’t switched on very much. Just to see how our money is spent, look at the lamp shade for the light.

So I carried on with my evening walk and did another seven kilometres giving me a total of just over fifteen today. Some people think we walk too far, (mostly Chinese people), some people scoff at our walks, (mostly Facebook people), but how far should we walk every day? Well, here’s an interesting quote from an article I read today: - “Because our evolution tells us that we can walk for almost 30km (19 miles) per day.” It rather puts our efforts to shame. If you want to know more follow this link, it is a very interesting article: - http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190610-how-modern-life-is-transforming-the-human-skeleton.

Oh, I almost forgot, I met another foreigner tonight. How could I forget such a momentous incident? He was Cuban, tall and fit, so I asked if he was staying at the “Sports Hotel”. He seemed surprised to hear about such a hotel and told me that he wasn’t staying there, he had a bar in Wuzhishan. Unfortunately my brain wasn’t thinking along the right lines or I would have exchanged phone numbers or WeChat with him. He could tell me the English name of the bar, AA, but the Chinese name wasn’t clear for me and I’m not so sure it was clear for him! It sounded like APAC. He also couldn’t tell me the exact location, just that it was about twenty five minutes from where we were. That would put it in the centre of town somewhere. Basically, I failed miserably! It doesn’t open until ten in the evening but Huan and I will have to do a daytime search and see if we can find it before #1 visits.

July 13th Boots on this morning but not such a long walk, we weren’t up early enough. I did decide to do a ‘dog leg’ to make sure we got up to eight kilometres and I’m glad I did. It looks like Huan found the bar referred to above. Note the ‘A8’, I heard the English name as AA, perhaps I was wrong. In Chinese A8 is ‘A , (A Bā), perhaps I heard that wrong too. All I have to do now is get Huan in there one night to check it out. Wish me luck!

Our reason for keeping the walk a little shorter is that today is another weekend day which means a fry-up and it’s good to rest before. I have to say that Huan is doing far more of the cooking than me, I really miss the gas hob. I think we may end up doing what we really don’t want to and drilling holes in the wall to put a gas cylinder on the balcony.

I had to have a nap in the afternoon, that’s two days on the trot. Am I getting old? Please don’t answer that!

Dancing as usual for Huan in the evening and she ‘ordered me’ to stick to two kilometres for my top-up walk, so, I did. Well, only slightly over anyway. Just as well, I needed to be home early enough to update the Blog and to do my daily Chinese lesson.

July 14th Something strange happened last night and we were both awake early. I told Huan to set off after me, in another direction, to meet me at the other side of the landfill mountain. That way I could get a bit of speed up and she wouldn’t be bothered by the dust of the construction trucks. Construction, of the new highway, is in fact quite slow but I did see the ‘bridge making machine’ through the trees today.

Nearing the ‘water shop’ on the other side I spotted this happy face coming to meet me.

And what did I look like? Well I had done almost seven kilometres and it is quite a steep walk, at least for the first five. Here I am.

And here I am again being prevented from leaving said water shop by this little pooch. Every time I moved, he stuck his paw on my foot to stop me. The children were very amused.

We had a small detour on the way home and went part way up the scenic route to see what was going on up there today. You may remember the last photo from there was the whip cracking snowbird. Well today there are two more photos. The first is a couple of gentlemen playing Chinese chess, (象棋xiàngqí). We have a set in the house, one of these days we really must try and learn how to play it!

I’m not quite sure how to describe the second one, “Chinese Morris Dancing” maybe? The man in the photo was certainly having fun and his watching wife was not in the least embarrassed by him. In fact she seemed very proud!

I think that’s probably enough photos for one day! So, how far did we actually walk this morning? For me it was 14.70 kilometres and for Huan it was probably five less. We still managed to be home in time for coffee, iced of course, and a nice long rest before Sunday’s ‘Full English”.

Once again, our afternoon was spent shopping online, on Taobao, this time looking for window cleaning tools and granola breakfast cereals for next month’s visitors. Oh, and we also ordered some more of those little orange peelers as some dummy threw ours out with the peel last week sometime. I bet you can’t guess who? I also convinced Huan to buy a metronome to help her with her keyboard learning. She is woman of perseverance and I’m convinced she will teach herself to play.

Today I didn’t have to go out for an evening walk, the boss suggested I stay in so I did. In fact I stayed in the bath for a couple of hours! I did have to do a little work though, unblock the toilet bowl! Of course. my day wouldn’t be complete without Yoyo Chinese, especially this month. I haven’t ‘broken the streak’ yet!

July 15th Monday, shopping, Huan dancing, otherwise NTR.

July 16th Countryside strolling again today, supposedly staying on the ‘hardtop’ roads. Our first photo is one of our little four legged friends again. He hasn’t learned to bark and stay away from strangers yet. His little brother on the other hand was a little too nervous and his father wouldn’t come anywhere near me and wouldn’t stop barking.

It was a beautiful day out there today, a little on the warm side and this route doesn’t really have enough tree cover to cool us down but the scenery makes it worth it.

Later on we came to a building which you will have seen in previous posts but today we were able to prowl around inside. It’s falling too pieces and we were struggling to work out what it used to be. There were nine hotel style bedrooms on the top floor, a few larger rooms, like meeting rooms on the second floor, and all kinds of strange rooms on the ground floor. Today, for the first time ever, there were signs of life and a woman turned up to speak to us. It seems that this place was built as a small airport for Wuzhishan, catering for small aeroplanes and although she didn’t say it, possibly helicopters. All the odd rooms suddenly made sense. The lady, who lives there temporarily now, told us it went out of business. I doubt whether business ever began here in the first place. It was supposedly a private airport and I’m sure the required authorisations would have been either too difficult or too expensive. The lady’s uncle has now done a deal with the local government and the place will be demolished and eighteen storey apartment blocks built in its place. Just what we don’t need any more of! Even crazier is that Huan recently told me that the local government wants to open a new ‘small’ airport to serve Wuzhishan! Anyway, here’s the building in question. I always wondered what the glass walled room at the top was for and now I know, the control tower.

We carried on walking behind the ‘airport’ and to a village we know on the way home. Turning on to a hard surfaced road we hadn’t been on before we eventually ended up on tracks through the woods again. More nice views though.

The added bonus of forest tracks is shade from the trees so that made us both happy. With our detour and our various stops on the way we ended up out for three and a half hours and walked 12.8 kilometres, not a bad morning at all.

Now I had every intention of walking again this evening when Huan went out dancing but unfortunately, the rain came. Oh, I’m so sad! Ah well, more Taobao shopping, we need a rubber hammer to replace the ceiling tiles in the kitchen. They were removed when we had all the leakage problems from upstairs. I just hope that no tenants move in before August and create problems while our visitors are here.

July 17th The Irish have a lot to answer for! Murphy ’s Law struck again this morning. We both thought the weather was not going to hold out and so I left the Fuji at home. I wish I hadn’t. We went on the mountain scenic walk again but took a detour through another housing complex being built. It’s not too bad this one, a nice mix of villas and apartments, but as usual the apartments are a bit on the small side. Even in the villas the kitchen is tiny and most westerners would probably want to ‘rearrange’ some of the interior walls. We made a Keymission video in there which you can find on https://youtu.be/fpVDm9Fdkr4. Here’s a screenshot view as we were leaving, remember the fairy castle?

Next up was a beautiful looking insect and this is when I really started regretting leaving the Fuji at home. This is an extreme crop from my phone and it really does the insect no justice at all. The gold colouring really caught our eyes but getting close was not easy.

Just to rub in the fact that we didn’t have the ‘good’ camera, our little four legged friend was back after weeks of absence. She seemed a little more subdued than usual, she couldn’t even be bothered to jump off the bench. I wondered if she had maybe been on ‘maternity leave’.

Then, right in front of us, on the steps were some goslings. I thought I was going to be able to pick one up but they skipped off to the side fairly quickly.

By the time we got home we had only done ten kilometres but we had been gone three and a half hours. Most of that time was up and down the mountain but we also had window shopping for a new water cooler and supermarket shopping for dumpling ingredients. It looks like we may end up buying a new water cooler from Taobao yet again. None of the shops here seem to have a cooler that actually chills the water. I don’t know if you are aware, but Chinese people mostly don’t drink cold water, they prefer room temperature or even hot. Some water ‘coolers’ will have a hot switch but no cold one!

July 18th No ‘Murphy’s Law’ today, instead it was ‘Bob’s Law’. Because our window cleaning tool arrived yesterday and because we are starting the ‘cleaning timetable’ today, we went out with just the phone and the Keymission. We weren’t out more than a few minutes before the director was wanting photos again. We, or rather Huan, decided we should stop and have our blood pressure taken. Chinese clinics do this a lot probably hoping to make loadsa money off you! They failed with us, Huan’s BP was 126/78 and mine was 121/80, both reasonably healthy don’t you think?

Of course not having the Fuji meant we were bound to see something. Here’s yet another little lizard. I don’t know if we have crested lizards here but he seems to be growing one.

As mentioned the afternoon was taken up with ‘spring cleaning’. We made reasonable progress and can now cross off the list the bedroom lace curtains, bedroom windows and our bathroom windows. We both went out this evening, Huan to dance and me to make up the daily ten kilometres. As I was home first I took down the lace curtains in the living and dining rooms. Aren’t I a good boy, can I have a chocolate now?

Oh, I’ve also been wasting a lot of time on this website - https://apolloinrealtime.org/11/ You can follow the Apolo 11 moon landing in real time, with all sorts of extras. Of course it took them four days to get there so that will be a lot of internet watching!

July 19th Just an eight kilometre stroll around the river today, lots of work to do in the house and no plans to take any photos. Of course Huan decided differently and had to take a photo of a little lady who needs a lot of love at the moment. She always comes out when we pass, tail wagging, and as you can see she is just a little bit pregnant. She does seem to like a bit more love when she’s having babies, this is not the first time we’ve seen her like this.

There’s also a chicken in the shop but I don’t think you need another one of those just yet.

After lunch it was time to do the living room and dining room windows. The lace curtains were taken down and washed last night so it was up to me and my trusty sponge. It’s not an easy job doing outside windows of a seventh floor apartment especially when the temperature is 33º outside. By the time I was finished I was wetter than when we’ve had a long walk! Still, once the curtains were back up that was one more item crossed off the long list of chores.

July 20th I was sent out alone this morning, Huan wanted to do a little window cleaning. After giving her over emphasised and implicit warnings such as “Do not stand on the security screens in the office, I don’t trust the bolts holding them in the walls” I set off. It was probably better that I didn’t see exactly what she was doing, she frightens me. That is why I did the more dangerous windows this time. I did have a job to do while I was out though, buy some newspapers. Huan never buys any, she thinks they’re a waste of money; I never buy any because I can’t read them. We wanted these to clean windows with!

By the end of today all the windows, including their fly screens, had been completed, I finished off the last two when I got home. The kitchen ceiling was crossed off the list too and so were the A/C filters. I wonder what we can get up to tomorrow?

July 21st Out early this morning so asked Huan if she wanted to try the ‘landfill walk’. As she hadn’t been that way for a while she agreed. It took us a little longer than when I went alone last time but not so bad. We were home by mid-morning where we treated ourselves to a well deserved iced coffee.

The afternoon was taken up with ‘housework’ again, tightening the kitchen tap, removing the ‘fairly liquid’ dispenser, taking the bathroom mirror down and then Taobao shopping yet again! Well, we needed paint for the mirror, a ‘blanking plug’ for the kitchen sink and a new fly screen for one of the windows. The new water cooler arrived so that was unpacked and installed and the old one removed. You may wonder why we didn’t just repair the old one. Well, after the last repair, we decided that paying ¥239.00 for a new one was probably the wiser option. The things we do for visitors…

July 22nd Monday, shopping and then for me, sheer laziness!

July 23rd Rain stopped play, NTR.

July 24th Huan was supposed to be going to a swimming pool this morning for a recce with her dancing friend. I said I wouldn’t go with them until they came back with more info. Instead, I went out for a solo walk, fully intending to go up to the reservoir and back down again. Two kilometres away from home the rain started! I carried on and to be honest, I quite enjoyed it. Although I was wet, I wasn’t cold and obviously I wasn’t sweating. No water stops were required and I continued for another six kilometres. When I arrived home the pool trip had been cancelled, they will try again tomorrow. Maybe I can try the reservoir again?

In the evening the rain had eased off so the ladies went dancing and I went walking and shopping, new cheap belts required. On the way, I took this photo of the new pedestrian bridge anchorage. I’ve just spent ages on Google trying to work out how the four ‘pipes’ are utilised but I’m afraid I failed. You will have to do some research of your own. I do know that the bridge will have two cable stays, at least it will if it’s like the existing one in front of the Fodelai Hotel. I guess each pair of ‘pipes’ must relate to one of the cables.

July 25th The ladies were off to check out a swimming pool this morning so I took advantage of the weather and, as promised, did the reservoir walk today. I passed this little chap on the way up and tried to take a video of him. However, he froze and didn’t seem like he was going to move again until I was well away.

At the top, the seven kilometre (from the house) mark, I took a few ‘blind selfies’. “What’s one of those?” I hear you ask. Well it’s a selfie taken with the camera instead of the phone and the camera does not have a rotating LCD screen. The benefit of course is that the photo is not a mirror image; it is ‘as you would see me’.

Next up, on the way back down the hill, is another creature, this time it’s unfortunately a dead one. I still didn’t fancy touching it, look at the size of it!

Not long after that, I got a message from the ladies asking me to go and meet them. I thought it would be to see a swimming pool but it turned out they wanted me to see their new dance practice hall. It’s on another residential compound and I must say it looks good, wooden floors, mirrored walls, fans on the ceiling, no ‘ballet barre’ though. We all had a good nose around and then walked home. It rained! If I hadn’t met them I would have been home before it started. Ah well, thanks to them I got some extra kilometres in, today’s total 16.7km.

For a change in the evening, we ate out. Jake’s family are visiting Hainan from the UK and they were having a couple of days here. It was most enjoyable, great food, great company and a few too many beers! Thank you Jake, Chris, Carol and Cadance.

July 26th The ladies were out again, to take advantage of their new dance space. I didn’t really feel like going anywhere but my body needed to ‘sweat out some of that alcohol’ so I went walkies anyway. However, I stuck to the river and the town, still managing to get my ten for the day but not finding anything worth photographing.

In the afternoon the ladies were out again, this time to the swimming pool that I never saw yesterday. I stayed in to carry on with the ‘repairs’. Here’s the blank plug newly installed on the kitchen sink.

That was followed by painting the first coat on the bathroom mirror frame. I’ll take a photo of that when it’s all finished and back on the wall because it looks terrible now!

No dancing for Huan this evening so we just had a little walk to buy a better paintbrush. Second coat done when I got home, another one, or more, will be needed tomorrow.

July 27th No dancing today, the teacher has a day off. She is seventy years old herself and has a bed bound husband so she spends most of her time with him. I guess giving dancing lessons gives her a couple of hours break in the mornings. Huan says she is an exceptionally good teacher and she gives the lessons free. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more like her in this old world of ours?

So it was walkies for Huan and I but as we were up a little late, eight o’clock for me, and as I did another coat on the mirror frame, we couldn’t go so far, only eight kilometres around the river and town. We went on the other side of the river from our house so we could check out how the new park is coming along on that side. It will certainly have a nice big gate.

In the afternoon swimming was still on for the ladies so I was back on the balcony giving the mirror frame a fourth coat. At least it wasn’t too warm today, only 34ºC, but cloudy with it. I’m not very impressed with the painting results though. The colour is fine but it dries with brush marks. I thought we had ordered a gloss paint but Huan tells me “It’s not a shiny paint”. Ah well, it’s only our bathroom. I’ll do a final coat this evening, that will be the end of the paint, and we’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.

July 28th No walking for me today. The girls were out dancing but I decided I’d better keep going with the ‘home maintenance’ so we’re not panicking the day before #1 arrives. First off today was putting the mirror back into its frame which wasn’t as easy as it looked. Lots of fiddling about required plus an application from the glue gun. I managed to destroy a small piece of the backing but it’s not too noticeable. More importantly the Queen Bee was most impressed with the final result! PS Sorry about the ugly mug in the picture.

Next up was fitting the new fly screen for the spare bedroom. That job has to be done outside the front door so it’s a warm one. However, job done and once again the boss is happy. The new screen, just like the other new ones we put in last year is metal so it should last longer. It’s still very easy to see through.

The afternoon and evening was spent trying to get rid a line around the toilet bowl in the second bathroom. YouTube has lots of people suggesting soaking it with vinegar. Well by bed time it didn’t seem to be having much effect at all so we’ll have to leave it soaking overnight and see if there’s any improvement in the morning.

July 29th Huan and her partner went off dancing and I got stuck into the toilet bowl again. Soaking overnight didn’t seem to have a great deal of an effect. I tried with an abrasive sponge and Jif and could hardly touch it. I decided to try with the Chinese equivalent of a brillo pad but without the soap and much looser. This was the result.

Let’s just hope we can keep it like that now. If you’re interested, this is the ‘wire wool’. It was quite a hard scrub but it worked, I can recommend it.

I spent the rest of the day finishing off that bathroom. The rains came so walks were out of the question today. Even Huan’s evening dance and walk was cancelled. On top of that we had to sit on the balcony for a while because, surprise surprise, the electricity went off!

July 30th A walk was most definitely needed today after two days off! Huan was solo dancing today. Her partner, and her partner’s husband, who are both still ‘snowbirds’ albeit, they stay much longer than most, have gone back up north. They have to do some legal work for their house and that needs a personal presence. Huan shouldn’t miss them too much, they’ll be back in five or six weeks. So I decided to take the scenic mountain walk, along with the Fuji. The first photo op was by the gate where my four legged friend has a new small friend of his own. (PS I tried to get Huan to agree to take him home in the evening but without success.)

The weather was pretty good today, I only had one water stop and that was after I’d been to the bank. I wonder if decreasing your bank account makes you thirsty? After the mountain I took a stroll around the river just to be sure I got my ten in today.

Once home I made a start on our bathroom. I learned that bleach cleans much better than anything else I’d been trying. That’s thanks to my sister who told me all about it on Skype last night. Thank you Sandra. I couldn’t finish though as I decided some things needed to be replaced rather than cleaned.

Huan was out swimming again this afternoon so I walked her there and bought the items I needed on the way. The pool she goes to is quite nice, just a little too small for my liking though. No doubt I will get dragged there one of these days.

There’s an ornamental fountain on the way out of that complex. The fountain doesn’t seem to ever work, but there some fish in the water. If I wiggled my fingers they came to see me but didn’t stay long once they realised I had no food.

Once home it was back to the grindstone for me. I replaced both the flush controls on both cisterns, put in a new flexible hose and showerhead in our bathroom and replaced the drain in the second bathroom sink. Now, instead of a typical Chinese plug, we have a ‘push to close or open’ which should be easier to keep clean.

Finally, after dinner, I stripped off, as you do, and gave our bath a good old scrub before doing exactly the same to myself. I wonder if I’ll sleep well tonight…

July 31st Much the same as yesterday except that I avoided the mountain walk because of the overcast sky. I did manage to avoid the rain until I took a little ‘dog leg’ to make sure I got eight kilometres in. I didn’t feel up to ten this morning. The rain got me about one kilometre away from home. Still, it was worse for Huan, she came home after me. What did I see today then? Well, first off, another snail. I wonder why they like to climb walls, there’s not much for them to eat up there. This one was over two metres above the ground. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with a body like this before either.

Next up is an eagle, not a real one, that would be something worth photographing. No, this was a stone one and in a place that we have walked many times but never seen it before. Looking at where it is I suspect it may have been moved to make way for a security guard’s post. If this is its original location then they should have put it on a raised plinth.

Unfortunately, that was it for today, the rain didn’t go away, no swimming for Huan, no evening walks for either of us. I was also too lazy to do any more home maintenance today!

And of course, that’s also it for this month. I hope you enjoyed keeping up with us and that you will join us again next month. Till then, bieeeeeeee!

Unclebob 31.07.2019 0 193
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