Monday 20 July Yichang 9.20pm

Another frustrating day. We left my hotel later than expected as Scotty was held up in a traffic jam. Caught the 11am bus to Yichang, arriving at nearly 4pm. Once we were out of the City – which took at least an hour and a half – the landscape barely changed until our approach to Yichang: flat, small farm holdings with the occasional square lake presumably stocked with fish. I didn’t see a single being in the fields, and absolutely no livestock.

We got into Yichang too late to catch the bus to Muyuping, so booked into a Hotel just across a noisy city thoroughfare and a stone’s throw from the bus terminal – much more expensive than my budget can stand now that I’m covering the full cost of my guide, Scotty, but it’s still terribly hot here along the Yangtze and I’m not about to trudge the streets looking for a budget hotel lugging all this gear. Scotty has a toothbrush, change of clothes and that’s about it! I seem to have a well-stock pharmacy and, as usual, something to cover every eventuality – except perhaps snow…

Wuhan reported its highest temperature for six years the other day: 40oC which is 104 oF and that’s without the searing reflection off the paths and roadways. Not great for sitting down trying to paint in full sun!

Technology is still thwarting me – while I’ve been able to access the internet from this hotel, it keeps kicking me out of Tiscali and all I was able to do was to read a couple of e-mails and delete some spam. The one e-mail I thought I’d sent apparently didn’t arrive.

Looking on the bright side, I’m finally getting closer to the Nature Reserves – and my first sighting of Emmenopterys henryi in flower. Someone said rather disparagingly the other day at the Botanical Gardens: “It doesn’t have very beautiful flowers”. At this point, that’s very much a matter of opinion – having brought me half way across the world, I’m sure it will be one of the most exquisite sights I will remember for a very long time.