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Hainan, Wuzhishan, April 2019

April 1st April Fool’s Day today and as usual I have done nothing. One of these days I must really try and get one over on Huan. So, it’s also Monday, which means it’s our weekly shopping day. Guess who was still on duty when we drove out? I’m sure you guessed correctly, the ‘old’ maintenance company is still ‘in situ’.

Rain stopped play! No photos of the ladies with their dresses and pigtails I’m afraid.

April 2nd Early morning meeting for Huan, with Jilin woman, in our living room. It would appear that the gas man, God rest his soul, has passed away. He had cancer, which obviously progressed very quickly when he left for his home province. All this time we have been saying things about him, I feel a little ashamed now. His family is coming back, perhaps to sell the property they own here, and also to maybe sell the gas business. One good thing is that we believe they have a map of the pipe layout which means we should be able to get things moving with the government again.

Worrying gossip from the meeting, the bosses of a construction company are trying to find out how many ‘owners’ we have in our complex, and how much land is involved. It looks like they want to try and pull a fast one, get our buildings knocked down and then rebuild and sell for more money. New building is not allowed, but, rebuilding on an existing site can get around the rules! If that did happen, we must by law be either, compensated with cash to the value of existing market rates or, provided with another place at least one and a half times as big. We won’t worry just yet.

We were housebound again this morning due to the rain and Huan was bored. She decided to play with my hair, telling me how my bald patch was getting smaller. To counter my disbelief, she even took photos! According to her, there are hundreds of small hairs where before there were none, and in fact they are slowly growing. Needless to say, my doubts remain. What do you think?

Still housebound in the evening too, no dancing for Huan and no small walkies for me. There is one advantage though, with me sitting down most of the day, yesterday and today, there have been no ‘dribbles’! (Sorry about that, but I’m sure some of you will be interested in how long it takes to go really back to normal after a prostatectomy.)

April 3rd We woke up to a nice day today and after a quick check of the weather decided we ought to get out early. Rain will stop play later! Being early, we walked a little further than we have been doing recently, 10.7 kilometres in fact. We took it fairly slowly but I was still wilting when we got home. It made a very pleasant change though, a little way out of the town, peace and quiet of the countryside with of course, some photos for you!

You can see in the second photo that if someone doesn’t come along and clean up the paths we won’t be walking that way for much longer. Around the same area, although not quite close enough for us to get in and have a good look around, were some more ‘ghost villas’. You’ve seen some before, Hainan has a lot. These may not get much sun in the morning but the afternoons should be fine. Notice that they are all empty as are some of the apartments behind them.

Quite a few ducks, chicken and geese around today but this is the one that took my fancy. He even has his own ‘duckline logo’!

Sometimes I wonder how Huan lived through her childhood! If I wasn’t with her she would be tasting almost every fruit she sees on the trees. Now I don’t know whether these fruits are poisonous or not but unless I am starving, I am not going to try them. They are about the size of a fingertip, soft inside with hundreds of small seeds. I forgot to take an internal photo, sorry!

The last photo on our way back was taken of what I think used to a durian fruit. How it got into this particular tree, I don’t know. What I did see was it had been there a while and that the ants had found it. Here’s a cropped version of the photo. They appear to be trying to get that ‘tree trunk’ into the hole. This would have been a good day to have a macro video camera.

Back to Huan for the final photo though. Something flew in front of her and landed on her hat. She was too busy to really notice so didn’t panic too much. It wasn’t anything dangerous though, just one of the bugs we have reported on previously.

Evening time and the ladies thought they would do their dancing, with their dresses as previously planned. Being the dutiful husband, I accompanied Huan, as far as the ‘guard room’, where we all turned round and went home because – it was raining!

April 4th Out early(ish) this morning to make the most of the weather. The forecast is rain again in the evening. I decided to make it a Fuji day and take a few photos for you. How does 187 sound? I did manage to prune it down to 111 but I guess that is still a few too many for the blog. Let’s see if I can narrow down the field. I quite like this one, converted to black and white with Picasa, of one of the street cleaning trucks disappearing up a side street.

And for the next one, how about rabbits sharing a meal, and chopsticks? Well, I suppose they weren’t really using the chopsticks and of course have no idea that in a few months they will be on the receiving end!

Now Huan insisted I put this one in. She seemed to find it amusing that I was stood under the Playboy sign knowing full well that those parts don’t work at the moment!

I saw quite a lot of my four legged friends today, dogs, goats and cows, even some six legged ones, ants, but I’ll only show you one. Here’s the cobbler’s dog, not so sure whether he should eat something from a stranger or not. The sausage was provided by the cobbler but the little pooch was still not so sure.

Last month we showed you how dry the river was, well, they must have opened one of the upstream gates to allow the recent rains to flow. As you can see, the water level is back to ‘high’ and a lot of greenery has been carried down with it.

Another ‘creature of the forest’, this time a snowbird, quite a melodic one in fact.

There were also a lot of photos of flowers taken, but I’ll only use one, and I’ll make this the last one for today.

As for the evening, the weather forecast was spot on and rain stopped dancing!

April 5th Nice weather again, and I had a plan, to take the Fuji out for a walk again. So that’s what we did, starting off a little earlier than yesterday, but planning only on going around the town. I wanted to pop into the Chinese medicine shop. Unfortunately the plan went a little awry. Someone, who shall remain nameless, (but he is the author of this missive), forgot to take a spare battery. Yesterday I experimented with ‘continuous shooting’ which drains the battery a little, and I started off with one like that today, only double speed. Many of you may have read the nightmare stories of Chinese parents, many of you may in these modern times almost keep your own children on a leash. Well this is quite normal here, a nine year old boy and his seven year old sister flagged down a motorbike taxi, on they got and off they went. We do actually know these two and this is not an unusual thing for them to do.

Another regular sight in China is loads of people ‘mainlining’, or on a drip anyway. Quite a lot of the time the people who are on the receiving end seem quite healthy, although I know looks can be deceiving. I never look ill when I feel I am. However, some people do use the drips as a preventative medicine and not a curative one!

I took a few more black and white photos around the town, a video of some mealworm, still alive and wriggling. That one I posted on FB with the comment “Anyone for dinner?” Then I had another bout of continuous shooting of Huan buying the weekend’s lottery tickets, we live in hope…

As you can see her face is well hidden, she is not a big fan of having her photo taken at all. Mind you, I don’t particularly like posing either. When we got to the riverside Huan wanted me to take photos of the ‘hanging roots’ to show you. You have seen them before but Huan thought you might like to see them with this camera. You guessed it; this is when I realised that I should have brought the spare battery! I was kicking myself even more a little later when we spotted a guy with a much bigger one than me, (lens, you bad people), focussing on a bird on a stalk in the river. It was quite possibly a kingfisher but it wasn’t quite near enough for my eyes to make out and the Nokia, despite it’s good cropping capability, couldn’t give me a clear enough picture. Better telephoto lens in my future I foresee!

Rain stopped dancing again, it bucketed down all afternoon, but it eased off enough for Huan to join the ladies for a trip to the market. She wants to practice her WeChat wallet. Yes, she has learned how to buy things only using her phone. I tried, and failed. I think it may be because my phone is Windows, and I have WeChat International.

April 6th Another nice day and another town walk, this time sans Fuji. Here’s a good one for you, a new shopping precinct, you know Gucci, Boss etc, except those shops will never actually be here. Look at the escalator, covered with a blue tarpaulin. In the sales blurb for this precinct there are two escalators shown leading to the RHS of the ‘beige’ balcony. As you can see here, there is now only one, the other one is at the other end of the precinct which, you guessed it, should also have had two!

Nothing else special from the morning. In the evening the rain held off today so the ladies went off dancing. Due to a lack of communication between them they weren’t all in skirts, (or dresses or trousers), and they hadn’t synchronised their hair styles. They promised me that would be tomorrows plan so I skipped taking photos of them today except for the ‘march to the town square’.

On the way home, it was a lot more B&W street shots which I won’t bore you with, one of my local cat friends who I like to have a chat with now and then, and just as I walked into our complex, a sunset. I hope I did better with this one for you. What do you think?

April 7th Another Fujiwalk day and a good one it was too. Loads of photos taken, B&W street views, plants and flowers, guys fishing, people playing music etc. However, I think I’ll just show you the wildlife, I was very lucky today, neither of them moved away from the camera. I only took one of the dragonfly, a lot more of the lizard, but I like this one where he appears to be coming back for another look at me.

And as the ladies promised yesterday, they were all wearing dresses today, and all had their hair in pigtails. As you can guess I took hundreds of photos, especially as I used the camera on continuous shooting a lot. Today is San Yue San day and there is a show in the square this evening. One of these days we’ll go to it but it’s usually so crowded we’re giving it a miss again this year. You only need one photo though don’t you? Here are the ladies posing in front of the San Yue San show poster.

April 8th Up very early today, in the middle of the night in fact! I woke up at ten past four for the usual reason but as we had to go to Haikou today I didn’t go back to bed. I decided not to disturb Huan but even so, we were on the way by half past six. Here’s a screen shot from the dashcam.

“Why did we have to go to Haikou?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s been a month since my first ‘female hormone’ injection so I was due the next one today. We had an uneventful journey, which was probably just as well; because when we got there, I was soon getting grumpy again. We went to the usual ‘check in’ where you pay to see the doctor, which I had to do to get the prescription, only to find out that everything has changed. We had to go to a different place, the same cashiers that deal with all the prescriptions. As it was Monday morning, this meant long queues!

Once we had our ‘piece of paper’ we headed off to the doctor’s surgery only to find out we were number 44 and they hadn’t even reached 20! Huan did her bit by going around and pestering various staff and we ended up jumping the queue, because we only needed a prescription. It’s not really the right way is it? I was happy enough but I would imagine a lot of Chinese people were not so happy seeing a foreigner go to the front of the queue. I should point out that ‘jumping the queue’ is not at all unusual here anyway.

Anyway, once we had the prescription it was back to one of the cashier offices again to pay for the ‘needle’. At least that was cheaper than we had been told, ¥1,700.00 instead of ¥2,000.00. Once we had paid we had to wait until someone called out my name so that we could collect said needle. Well we heard my name, but with no window number. There were six windows, so we tried all the ones with a man calling out the names. Success! Here’s what that particular cashier’s office and pharmacy looked like, Huan is in there somewhere waiting for my name to be called.

Having the injection was no real trouble, only the usual cold sweats and panicking from me. I wonder what the nurse thought of me closing my eyes and plugging my ears. Even I’m not sure why I do that bit! She wasn’t as gentle as the ward nurse had been but she was OK.

Once out of the hospital a trip to RT Supermarket was called for, it’s the only place we can buy decent bread. Haikou is full of one way streets and as usual the Sat-Nav led us astray. We don’t visit Haikou enough to know the traffic system so well which means that every time I drive there I’m convinced I’m getting points and traffic fines galore! We’ll find out in August, our next visit to the Traffic Police.

It was a great relief to eventually get back on the road, and after a stop for fuel and lunch, we eventually arrived back in Wuzhishan. The first thing we noticed was how quiet it still was today, maybe everybody decided to take an extra day’s holiday. Here’s another dashcam screen shot of us arriving home. We were two very happy bunnies!

Huan did her usual dama dancing this evening and I got busy with a lot of dashcam work. If we don’t both sleep well tonight there’s something wrong!

April 9th Well, aren’t we the lucky ones? We did both sleep well, me till gone seven, Huan a little less. Today is Tuesday but, as we weren’t here yesterday, we had to go shopping today. You know, you read a lot about unemployment in the world, mostly in the western press but it is not that uncommon in China either. Life’s not always that sweet, even these two poor souls were left on the shelf recently!

I spent the rest of the morning finishing my dashcam work and then had a lovely old people’s nap in the afternoon. I did make up for it though; I went for a ramble around the river this evening, while Huan was doing her ‘Dancing Queen’ impression. I managed a few decent photos with the Fuji but it’s obvious I still have a great deal to learn. I’ll leave you today with a couple of shots of the moon, taken with a 16-50mm zoom lens, not one of the best.

April 10th As it’s four weeks since we came back from the hospital we decided it was time to start venturing away from just the town and the river again. It’s quite a long time since we visited the village of Chang Hao so that was the plan. It will be quite a long time before we venture that way again! Since we last went they have begun work on what we think will be the highway off ramp from Haikou and on ramp for Sanya, along with all the road widening that that incurs. As you can see it’s dusty, and it’s also most of the way to the village.

We did take a couple of detours though, mostly just to get away from the dust, to places we’ve been before but are always a pleasure to revisit. As you can see, away from the main road, the scenery is great, the air is clear, the sun is shining. What you can’t see is the Belisha beacon that is now my face!

April 11th I was all set by half past eight this morning, unfortunately, Huan had the rice cooker on working as a steamer. That meant we were a little delayed and the route had to be changed. We went off past the construction site that we had been told would be the new market area for Wuzhishan. It seemed like a good idea, a brand new place for the fruit and veg, for the fish and meat, with car parking to boot. They lied! We passed the hoardings today and saw this photo. It answers a lot of our questions about just what was going on around the back of the ‘market’. There is no plan to move the market, instead it’s another five tall apartment buildings, just what we need, I don’t think.

Today’s walk was a countryside one, not off the tarmac but around some of the villages. Lots of black and white photos of those taken, they bring back memories for me of when I first started taking pictures, a ‘few short years ago’.

Huan also had me taking pictures of jackfruit, now that we know the difference between that and durian. You, of course, have seen all those pictures before so they’re not going here! Instead I’ll give you another of nature’s marvels, just look how the fruit is protected. A Google image search didn’t come up with any answers for this one, maybe you can try?

Another fruit for you, this time a pineapple. I’ve seen a lot of pineapples in my time, whole fields of them in the Philippines for example. However, I never knew they could be this colour. These were growing wild at the side of the road.

And the last one for you today, a little early for Christmas, is a turkey. He was strutting away and doing things I’d never seen a turkey do before. I guess it was some kind of mating ritual, although he couldn’t get to the female, she was in the coop!

That’s it for today. No dancing for Huan tonight, the teacher fell over a baby last night and can’t dance today. I can just imagine my PTIs in the army giving us the day off if they were injured!! No chance, we’d have still been given the full works no matter how broken he was.

April 12th Out earlier today and we did twelve kilometres. Lucky for us the weather was not too hot! We saw two more of the same type of lizards that we had seen on the 7th and again were able to get very close, although I couldn’t quite get to touch them. Coming back through the hillside villages we spotted quite a bit of fauna. Here’s a very protective mother pig with her brood.

Another couple of turkeys were spotted, nowhere near as chubby or as showy as yesterday’s though. Puppies were in the mix too so I got a little cuddle and made the baby of the shop chuckle. His mum was pleased and I have to say I was too. The same shop had three birds in cages, at least one of them was talking, and we heard “ni hao” more than once. I managed to get a couple of decent shots of two of them, even though I had to shoot through the cages.

Your last photo for today is yet another bird, this time a chick, a lovely white one. It seemd to have fallen down from the bank, we could see what was probably its mother strutting around up there. Unfortunately I couldn’t get near enough to give it a helping hand back up. Chicks move almost as fast as chickens. I think it’s only since we’ve been here in Hainan that I’ve understood where the use of ‘chicken’ meaning coward, comes from!

As usual, far too many photographs were taken, eighty-nine in fact, flowers, people, animals and black and whites of village scenery etc. I managed to whittle it down to forty five to keep, still far too many for you, even though I love you all!

Lazy evening for me, Huan off dancing again, let’s hope the teacher doesn’t lose her footing again today.

April 13th Success! My first night of sleeping with no pants on, I thought it was time to try. No leaks! I must say it felt much better being ‘au naturel’ again, especially as the night temperatures are now never less than 22ºC!

The weather was a bit ‘iffy’ today so we stayed in and around the town. I also purposely left the Fuji at home so as not to bombard you with too many photos. We didn’t see much, the farmer’s market was back and the only unusual thing there was what we think was either a ferret’s, stoat’s or weasel’s head. They had obviously already sold the rest of it. I didn’t think you’d want to see that! On the way home we spotted a big spider hanging from a tree and another of those hairy caterpillars. Those I did take photos of, thinking you may enjoy them. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my glasses with me this morning so you don’t get to see them either.

Now this evening’s plan was to go out for a walk when Huan went dancing. I’ve found out why they dance later now, they are worried about the evening sun on their skin! Anyway, my plan went awry, again. This time I can blame a niece who shall be nameless, I doubt she will read this anyway, she’s far too busy. She shared a musical YouTube link and that was it, I was lost for a couple of hours, clicking on all kinds of stuff. YouTube for a music fan must be like computer games for today’s youngsters, definitely addictive for me. Lots of memories brought back, and of course checking my music library to be sure I already had what I was stumbling across.

April 14th A gorgeous day today, probably a bit hot for Huan, up to 31ºC, but then again she does have her Japanese hat to protect her. It was another Fuji day but I took great care no to go overboard with the photo snapping today. At the rate I’m going my hard disk will soon need updating, again! We strayed away from the town today and went on one of favourite walks but took a detour down to the river. We have walked up this road in the past, but never down it. Here’s a panorama I took at the bottom of the road.

We had to head back up the road, yes; we had to go back as there was no way forward, not without some rubber shoes anyway. On the way we were both wondering where the cows were in a stall and why we couldn’t see them. However, when we got a little closer…

They look very curious but when I went around to the gate only one would come and have a sniff at me and let me touch it, and that was the youngest one! Too young to know that humans are bad news I suppose. Nothing else to report today.

April 15th You know the routine by now, Monday is shopping day. However, there was a slight change today. Remember the saga of the gas? Well, Huan was leading a delegation of the residents, well five people, down to the government offices to try and get it sorted out. As usual she came back with no good news. It seems we have a pipe that has to be repaired and that after that we may be able to connect to the town gas, which I don’t think is operational yet. It still means we have a damaged pipe and nobody knows where it is under the ground in order to be able to repair it! PS The gasman’s family have not yet returned.

Evening time and Huan went off to her dancing so I decided a walk was in order. Not just a walk, but a faster one than usual was the plan. I succeeded in doing ten kilometres in one hour and fifty three minutes. Now that may not seem fast for you sprogs out there but I think it’s pretty good for someone who’s sixty nine years old and only recently out of hospital. (Am I tugging on your heartstrings yet?) I did learn that it’s not a good idea to walk so fast just an hour after dinner, rambling would probably be better. I also learnt that going faster makes it much harder to control those pesky leaks!

April 16th The time has come the walrus said, to put on your boots once more! OK, maybe the walrus didn’t say that but we thought it was time to try the hills once again so boots it was. Here I am doing my best Benny Hill impression!

We walked up the hill to the bridge and then went a little further to what we learned today has now become a ‘free’ swimming spot. Our neighbours were there, in fact there were rather a lot of people sitting around. Nobody was actually swimming when we got there but if they had all been in it would have been a little crowded!

Huan left me at the seven kilometre mark, just when we reached the streets again so she walked nine kilometres; I carried on for another three making twelve. If you do a lot of walking in the UK, especially in an average town, you’ll probably see the occasional advert on a wall or a hoarding. Here, every space on a wall seems to be rapidly filled up, but not with adverts, it’s all government stuff. Here they are covering up yet another one.

Once home I met the express delivery man who gave me a couple of packages, they all recognise me now. Upstairs I discovered Huan had already received another three. So we now have breakfast for me, breakfast for Huan, deodorant for me, (another year’s worth), German bread for me and a new holder for my nearly five year old phone. They also gave me a new screen protector so after fitting it I felt I had to do a selfie test. This was just to check the camera lens you understand, nothing to do with vanity at all!!

Rain stopped play in the evening so no dancing for the boss and no walking for me. Secretly, I was a little pleased, for me anyway.

April 17th A brave day today, we decided to go up the ‘big hill’, about seven kilometres to the reservoir. It may not seem far but it needs quite a few hairpin bends to get there. Hairpin bends are fun in a car, not so much when you are walking up them! Just in case you’re wondering, these photos are not the same bend!

We did make it to the top of course, nowhere near as fast as I have done it before. My fastest time has been an hour and twelve minutes, today it took us nearly two. Well, it has been a long time and it was a very warm day today. Here we are! There should be a city behind us, I got it wrong, probably because I didn’t put my glasses on to see the phone.

Anyway the proof is here, a panorama of the reservoir. Without my glasses, even this took me four attempts to get right.

No wildlife showed itself today, not even any dead stuff, but we did find a couple of flowers that you may think are beautiful, as we did.

After that nice long walk I decided that I deserved a rest this evening whether Huan goes dancing or not.

April 18th Today we decided to have a walk down the other side of the river. We were quite surprised at the amount of work that’s been done since we last went that way. Next time we will walk on this side of the river where it looks like we will be able to go much further. The trucks have even had a ford made so that they can cross in the process of their work.

A little bit further on we came across just a few goats. For some reason one of them was being bullied by another three. There’s no photo of that although we did make a video of it. Here are the goats just in front of us.

Carrying on we came to the small hydroelectric place and thought we would try and walk around it on the wall. I must be getting old; I was a little bit worried when the wall was on the thin side. As it happened, we couldn’t get back to the river bank because we couldn’t cross the run-off so we had to retrace our steps.

We found our way back to the country side that we know, although we did take a detour through the woods and ended up at a disused water tower. Once back on our route, we took a video of the cows from the 14th before heading back through the little villages. Now here’s a photo for you. Have you ever seen a tree with toes before?

Once back in town we found some more wildlife for you, a chicken in a basket. Well it wasn’t alone in the basket but I managed to get my lens close enough to capture only one.

Next, we were harassed by a black Labrador. It seemed to know me and then tried to follow us home. It took some doing but we lost him. In retrospect, we wondered if it was the one that ran away from one of our neighbour. Evening time was dancing for Huan, walking for me, around by the riverside where I took another couple of videos. For some reason it was very busy there today, lots of people dancing and lots just looking at the river or walking, like me. All in all a busy and happy day.

April 19th Today was chauffeur duties for the landlord, or should I say landlady. We had to go to Ledong and renew the internet for another year. That took us to three different shops as only one is allowed to do the renewals now. Ah, the pleasures of owning and renting out property. We spent a couple of hours with our tenants which left me yet again wondering why I haven’t knuckled down and tried harder to learn Chinese. We took them some vegetables from Wuzhishan; the wife there thinks they are better than Ledong vegetables. Of course, we couldn’t come back empty handed; we ended up with four boxes of ‘special’ rice, presented to their daughter and her husband by the bank they work for in Harbin.

The afternoon was dashcam work again for me, combining all the little three minute videos into ‘journey’ videos, thus taking up less space on the PC.

I really didn’t fancy walking when Huan went dancing this evening but decided I had to. My left foot sometimes swells up if I don’t walk enough and tonight both had swollen. “What a drag it is getting old” eh, but at least neither of us is reaching for “mother’s little helper”! It worked, my feet were far more normal when I got home. I also managed to take a half decent photo of the moon tonight although I really have no idea how I did it.

April 20th Weekends are like being back in the army, a nice long route march followed by a fry-up. Of course the company is better, the scenery is mostly better, the weather is infinitely better but the fry-up doesn’t quite meet British Standards!

So the first thing to report today is having this little beastie stuck in my hand by one of our old neighbours. No doubt it belongs to her daughter who is not yet up to cleaning out the cage.

And then we were off again, up the main street and then taking a turn off. We had been up here before but not quite the same way and we ended up fighting our way through small paths designed for goats and midgets I think.

Eventually, after finding one of the local recycling dumps, we found ourselves on a country road that we knew and followed it to the end where we knew we would have to turn round and go back down to the main road. I also knew we could get some lovely iced water there, gagging I was! We sat and had a little chat with the old guys trying to get me to have some binglang, (betel nut), and me telling them they should stick to water. Now maybe if they had offered me beer…

Evening was the usual, dancing for Huan and a walk to buy the lottery tickets for me. I tried to get the sun reflected in the river, not sure I succeeded so well.

April 21st Out fairly early this morning to take the third turn off on the main road and walk up to another reservoir cum fish farm. On the way we found a track so followed that instead. It took us on a nice walk through some woods.

Carrying on we eventually came out on the fourth road which leads up to an old, but possibly still in use, military camp. As I was carrying the Fuji we decided to go down the hill and not up! We passed some cows, a bull with an enormous pair of wotsits, (I didn’t think you needed to see them), chickens of course and the ubiquitous dogs. Walking back down the main road there is quite a nice path running at the side which Huan insisted I photograph, so here it is for you.

And for today’s last two photos, I thought I would show you two fruits that didn’t quite manage to fall far enough from their trees to propagate, but made good macro photos.

April 22nd The usual shopping today but with a photo for you. I spotted this ‘orange’ and asked Huan what it was. She said it was an ugly orange but she didn’t use the Chinese I have written here. I found this on a Google image search. “丑八怪 (Chǒubāguài – ugly), Sichuan’s favourite fruit is called “Ugly Person Fruit” Similar to the traditional orange, this fruit is a hybrid citrus. Originally from Japan, the “Ugly Person Fruit” looks like a tangerine on the outside with many wrinkles. The flavour is more sweet and intense than an orange.” It is quite large as you can see by the cups behind it, it is seedless and it is very tasty.

In the evening when Huan went dancing, I had to go walking; my left foot was swollen yet again. Maybe I need to mention this to Dr. Tim when I see him for my PSA test this week. On the way home I spotted another of those big green insects that I showed you last month. Three Chinese ladies were trying to take photos of it from too far away and with their phones in ‘Portrait’ mode. I showed them how to do it properly, (at least I think it is), and they were suitably impressed by how much bigger you could make it in ‘landscape’ mode. Almost back to the town square to meet Huan, and I thought the sky looked very pretty and most definitely worth a snapshot so here’s the last one for today.

April 23rd Two very lazy bunnies today, neither of us really wanted to go out, especially me after waking up at four o’clock and only dozing off for short periods thereafter. However, we decided that needs must and so off we went but kept to our more modest riverside walk. We still managed nine kilometres. For me I became a botanist and took lots of photos of flowers and strange trees. I thought that this one flower was definitely worth showing you, it’s absolutely beautiful. Isn’t it amazing how different flowers have different ways of attracting the insects that help them propagate?

Huan had a visitor in the afternoon so I had to do a little work. The dancing teacher will shortly be returning up north but wanted to give Huan a copy of the music so that she and the other lady who are staying can still practice over the summer. I was the USB technician! After such a hard job I zonked out for two hours!

Dancing and walking as usual in the evening, no pics, on purpose. This month’s missive is growing a little too big so I need to be a little more frugal with my photography!

April 24th The first thing I did this morning was search Google for “Sanitary Pad Rash”! I should not be doing that, I’m not a woman, I’m a sixty nine year old man! I guess it’s another bit of understanding what you ladies have to put up with. As you can guess, today’s walks, morning and evening, were a lot more sedate.

April 25th No piccies today, just a couple of mundane stories. The first concerns Huan and her yet to exist driving licence. Way back in time, around 2010, I gave her ¥3,000.00 towards the required lessons and tests. Huan, in her own inimitable way, decided to wait a little longer. Earlier this year, Chinese New Year, I did the same again and gave her another ¥3,000.00.She once again decided to wait. Today I managed to get her into the driving training office. Guess what; the price has now gone up to ¥6,500.00! Trying to find out what she actually gets for this is a major communication breakdown. In the UK it used to be that the cost was per lesson and you took a number of lessons then applied for your test. Repeat as necessary. Here, the price is fixed; she will get free software to download to her phone where she can then take the written test until she eventually passes it. I think in China you have to score more than 90% to pass. When I asked how many actual lessons, I got the answer “four”. That I think it where the translation failed! Hopefully she will go ahead this time.

Second mundane story. When Huan went dancing tonight, she vainly tried to get me out walking. I declined having decided I would finish off our bubble bath and soak for a while. It’s been a while but it is nice to sit and soak and read a book now and then. I spent an hour in there, reading “Frederick Forsyth’s Day Of The Jackal”. It was most enjoyable. I do have a question though. Why, when your body is immersed in water, do you leak more?

April 26th Up before the larks today, I had an appointment with Dr Tim for my scheduled PSA test and we wanted to be early to get it all done in one day and then do our shopping tomorrow morning. The plan started out well, we were on the road by quarter to five. Here’s a screenshot of our dashcam just before six-thirty.

By ten o’clock I was having a needle stuck in my arm, quite a painful one I might add. The nurse, who I have seen more than once before, chose a vein that has never seen the point of a needle, ever! Maybe I should have kept my eyes open and told her where to stick it! Our plan then went completely askew. My results will not be ready until Sunday afternoon. I suspect they are working Sunday because they will have a holiday for May 1st. That meant we didn’t need to stay in a hotel tonight so could do our 批发 shopping today. (Pīfā = wholesale). At least that was successful, stocked up on bacon, some new sausages we haven’t tried before, boneless chicken legs and some very small ‘Munich’ sausages. (Our other shopping will be done on Monday morning at Corners Deli, a foreign food store.) By eleven o’clock the coolbox was full and we were on our way home via the highway.

We often stop on the highway so I can have a coffee and a fag and we can relax for the rest of the way home. Today we tried the new restaurant that has opened there, very nice indeed. It was the usual Chinese fare of course, but tasty enough, reasonably priced and far more than enough for the two of us. In fact Huan had to ask for ‘doggy bags’! Now as you know, Hainan is a semi tropical island paradise, however, today it felt more like we were back in the UAE. Just look at that temperature when we got back in the car. It’s a good job the coolbox is an electric one!

April 27th Haikou again tomorrow so we decided a trip up the hill was called for today. On our way, we saw a class going somewhere for extra curricular activities. Do you know, I don’t really remember any of these when I was a child, do you?

We also took a slight detour so we could show you some more deserted villas. What goes on here is shameful at times. People have bought all these properties, or so we believe, but have still not received their house books, (title deeds). As a result, they sit empty as you can see. We have been around the right hand one and would not mind living there at all!

Evening time was the ‘last dance’ for the damas; they will start again in the autumn. What will Huan do with her evenings? She’ll have to walk with me I suppose… I did five kilometres tonight making a total of fourteen today. One day I will succeed in shrinking this bulge around my middle!

April 28th On our way to Haikou, as my results would not be available before the afternoon, we decided to stop at a tourist spot. This spot was called “Dream Fragrant Hill Park”. I sometimes wonder where they dig up these English names from. Anyway, it was worth the stop, even though it was a bit warm so Huan was using her umbrella for the duration. Here’s a panorama taken from the ‘faux’ castle. To see all the other pictures, check out the album on the forum, http://www.tropicalhainan.com/forum/m/photos/browse/album/Dream-Fragrant-Hill-Park/owner/Unclebob.

Once we had the results, being gluttons for punishment, we had another walk around Haidian Dao. I fancied a drop of German pilsener so dragged Huan to where I knew the pub was. It seems that they don’t open until half past six in the evening and as we hadn’t eaten, we had to give it a miss yet again. One day I’ll see whether the beer is as good as it should be. Here’s a pic for you guys in Haikou, it’s on Haidian Lu 1.

April 29th Corner’s Deli for our foreign shopping this morning. We did all right for cheese, cream, sandwich meat, grapefruit juice, HP Sauce and quite a lot of other stuff. Unfortunately, they had no beetroot and even worse, no marmalade! We bought something foreign made with lemons, we’ll find out what it’s like when we’ve finished our previous marmalade. We stopped for lunch on the highway again, the temperature when we got back in the car was even higher today, 43ºC!

Speaking of highway, our ‘tyre alarm’ was going crazy all the way there and back. This morning we had a low pressure on one of the tyres so we got the local fix-it place to sort it out for us. There are no self service air pumps here. Despite my protestations, they used the high figure for the tyre pressures so on the highway the tyre alarm was forever telling us that the tyres were hot and over pressurised!

Who understands car computers? Leaving our lunch stop ‘left to travel’ on fuel was 170km. As we got nearer to Wuzhishan it suddenly dropped to 89km, then 39km then, as is usual towards the end, it went blank. We decided to play safe and turn off at Maoyang to fill up. Instead of returning to the highway we took the scenic route home through the mountains. What a difference the highway has made. We only saw a couple of other cars, no trucks, no buses, no crawling behind anyone looking for a place to pass. It was quite pleasurable.

Once home it was work on the computer again for me, sorting out all the photos from yesterday and as usual after a road trip, doing all the dashcam work. Huan got a pleasant surprise; she was ‘called’ to go dancing again this evening. Obviously, the previous ‘last night’ was postponed. I had an excuse not to go walkies!

April 30th Another shopping day, this time a local one. ‘Hyacinth’ needed a new hat.

We finished off our day, and our month, with another walk around the town. Do you think it was dinner time?

Oh, I didn’t mention the PSA test results. I think they are fine but I will await confirmation from Dr Tim. He will tell me when I have to return for another test, not too soon I hope! So that’s it from the old folks for this month. The old man is slowly getting back to normal so hopefully we’ll get out and about a bit more in the coming months. Bye for now!

Unclebob 01.05.2019 0 84
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