In Kaili at last
It is more than forty hours since I started my travels from home. Everything has - eventually - gone according to plan. The first two flights were fine (China Southern had much better inflight entertainment screens and I hope to watch the end of a rather good samurai movie on the way back).
Things got very confusing once we got to Beijing. Leaving the plane, China Southern staff were telling everyone to collect their bags and recheck them in for onward domestic flights. They were supposed to be checked right through. When I finally got to the check in desk, it turns out that my flight had been cancelled due to thunder storms. Everyone was reallocated a slightly later flight. Things like logging into the free wifi without a mobile phone was a bit tricky, but the staff at the help desk were great. First I was supposed to board from gate 23, then we were sent back to gate 48 - almost all the way back to the security. When I did manage to board, I'd been given an upgrade - how nice of them! And I would much rather avoid a thunderstorm than get caught up in one. All in all, the flights were very smooth and I napped a lot.
It took us just under 3 hours to drive to Kaili. I haven't seen urban regeneration on the scale that is going on here ever before. Huge new road networks, blocks of flats, shops, hotels. Many take architectural detailing from traditional houses and I hope to be able to capture lots of interesting wooden grille styles. I'll post some photos tomorrow - time to turn in now, as it is 10.35p.m. here.