One week in China

Have now been here a week and feeling much more at home. It's a crazy, exciting place to be. There's so much work going on, building everywhere, new roads, cars and cranes. I'm in a city called Ningbo now, much smaller than the last place, only about 3.5 million people here which for Chinese cities is not that many! It's a really nice city with lots more green spaces and parks. Every morning if you're out early enough you can see people practicing Tai-Chi in the parks. There are always little stalls selling fruit, mostly Watermelon, at the side of the road as the hundreds and thousands of electric motorbikes whiz past, barely missing each other and the traffic. They really don't seem to mind taking huge risks, darting out in front of cars and buses. Apparently lots of people get knocked off them in the cities.

The weather here is still really hot. We had 36 degrees the other day and working outdoors in that heat is really not very pleasant. We have had to alternate between indoors and out for the training as you just can't stick the heat for too long, it's not safe. Luckily for the rest of the training we are in a beautiful woodland site, right up in the mountains outside the city. It's so lovely, proper wild China with only a few old tumbledown houses where a village used to be. We've seen some amazing wildlife - butterflies as big as your hand, hornets, lizards, huge caterpillars and 25cm long centipedes.

The food has been amazing. Every day is a new experience. Lots of different meat with stir fried veg, tofu, loads of soupy noodles, rice and spicy broths. Have also been to resaurants where you barbeque your own meat at the table and had local specialities like moon cake and lotus flower. They place such impoortance on food here and every meal is a shared experience with people helping themselves from the big round tables. Am also getting pretty good at using chopsticks now!

Off to sleep now in preparation for day 1 of the Level 3 training tomorrow. Sam