This week has been the annual tomb sweeping day, a national holiday when people return to their home towns and families to tend the graves of their forebears, place offerings and burn Hell Money.  It is apparently unlucky and offensive to gift Hell Money to a living person, so that sorts out Chinese souvenirs for my enemies.  I chose to mark the day by remembering the time my Grandma nearly came to blows with father over the ownership of a Welsh tapestry glasses case (in which he keeps his mobile phone) in the Pancake Place.
Whilst meeting some art students I was presented in each studio with a roll of tissue.  This was neither a culturally specific ritual, nor a current trend amongst the youth, but rather as a result of my streaming nose and generally sickly appearance.  The new campus, purpose built a few years ago, is enormous, and still expanding.  It is packed with fully grown trees, all of which were transplanted, at great cost.  As a result many of them need support, and there are entire copses with each tree encased in an intricate bamboo scaffold, creating two forests in the same space.
In keeping with my habit of visiting areas of the world during times of political crisis, natural disaster and violent outbreaks, North Korea have stepped up, but there seems little concern here, and I gather the missiles are pointing in the other direction anyway.  Also, I don't think there have been any cases of the new style of bird flu in Chongqing, though people have been eyeing me a bit suspiciously when I sneeze.
In lighter news, while attempting to get a sim card that works over here, my antique phone was mercilessly mocked by the girls working in the shop.  I have identified the source of my recurrent dreams of marching bands (other than the regular one where I'm Ella Fitzgerald); the street cleaner who operates on the road outside my window has a wooden cart which makes the noise of a snare drum roll as it is pulled up and down throughout the night.  Providing it doesn't lead to an embarrassing sleep walking incident, I shall not worry about it excessively.