Freda boarding the 1st plane, to Kunming
Freda and I had a civilized start this morning with a 9:20 am departure from Simao airport. It didn’t stop her and Edie getting up at a ridiculously early time. At 6:20 a.m. I heard them laughing and giggling in Freda’s bed then the debate started over who would have custody of Fuzz (aka Freda’s Tamagotchi electronic pet) for the next week. Freda won and Fuzz is having a holiday in Beijing. I hope his electronics can survive sub-zero conditions as he joins us in the wintery capital. It snowed heavily last week, apparently a result of some more cloud seeding. Why? Some government officials fancied a few days off work and thought road chaos and powercuts would be the perfect excuse.

As Freda remarked on the plane, "It's a long way to go to see a doctor" - a taxi, two planes, two trains and 20-minute walk brought us to the hotel. Tomorrow we have another 20-minute walk to the clinic where Freda has a date with a paediatrician. I suspect we'll be having a few tests done - I say "we" because I know that anything Freda has to have stuck into her will be a test of my creative parenting. She's already decided that even if she does have a gluten intolerance, she can still eat chocolate. Given that so many of her favourite foods (yoghurt, milk, bread) are currently on her forbidden list, I'm relieved to find something I can offer as a reward.

Our hotel room is very untypical of Chinese standard rooms as we know them - no white tiles or white linen in sight. Infact, as well as floral bedspreads we have two vases of flowers. They're artificial but I think that can be forgiven given the climate. It does help explain why all the Beijingers on the flight were laden with large, gift-wrapped bunches of flowers from the Spring City of Kunming. Time for bed. Given that I went to bed last night feeling thoroughly miserable and anxious about this trip, we're in relatively good form. This is thanks mostly to Freda taking everything in her stride as usual. I've got a splitting headache and still a heavy heart but we've travelled several thousand miles for a long-awaited consultation so that's something to feel pleased about. Fingers (and toes) crossed... 

Our home-from-home in Central Beijing, courtesy of VSO medical insurance.

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