My guide, Lucy, has taken to mothering me (necessary, I have to admit) including taking me out in the evening to search for dinner. In theory I have enough Mandarin to cope with menus, ordering, paying etc, but in practice finding the right restaurant is the biggest difficulty. Plus, no-one, my guide included, seems to understand a word I say in mandarin – the subtleties of correct tonal pronunciation elude me. So – forgive me Laoshi T for being pathetic – Lucy took me to her favourite restaurants where she ordered local specialties. Last night we were in a charming restaurant, popular with locals, and had peanut soup with wild mountain vegetables, along with fried rice. Absolutely delicious and a bargain at £1.50 for the whole meal including tea. The locals’ table manners were interesting to observe. A family at the table opposite left behind a lot of detritus on the floor – packaging from the chopsticks, used tissues and the like – which the staff dutifully swept up before the table was reoccupied. Then a woman at a table in the corner started spitting food onto the floor. Lucy told me she was spitting out the bones from her meal. I explained that we would use a plate for that and this too is usual in China, but not for everyone, apparently. Before we left Jianshui we visited a couple of ancient wells, still very much in use. The quality of the water is regarded as a key ingredient in the making of the local tofu, but people also use it for watering their vegetables, washing clothes and so on. Clothes washing is done by foot as well as hand. Just out of town we visited Twin Dragon bridge, which looked impressive in the morning sun. We continued to Tuanshan village, one of only a few traditional walled villages left in Yunnan and now being hastily conserved for tourist consumption. It’s moment in history was at the turn of the 19/20th century the Zhang family made a fortune from mining and had the Yunnan-Vietnam railway built to allow for export. The family were communist sympathisers and so the village and its Buddhist shrine were not torn down in the Cultural Revolution of the 60s and 70s. Now we’re heading up to the mountains to see the rice terraces at Yuanyang. Can’t wait!