We've got shiny new visas! We've also got flights booked, a nearly-empty house, and a hotel for when we get to Nanjing... on Sunday. Eek.
We've had problems getting fossils shipped over to China, so some are having to be left with friends and relatives for picking up later on. We've been told there are a queue of people and fossils lining up to see us when we get there, so it sounds as though we won't be short of things to work on. I'm hoping there are a stack of undescribed bits of Chengjiang* sponges that people are suddenly dragging out of their cupboards now that they know there's a use for them...
We'll find out soon enough. And we're not scared at all, honest.
*For those not in the know, the Chengjiang Biota is an extraordinary soft-bodied fauna that has been known for a good 20 years in Yunnan, South China. It is very similar in some ways to the famous Burgess Shale, but is if anything even more diverse, and new fossils are being described all the time. The fauna includes everything from arthropods and worms to the earlist fish, and sea anemones. And some sponges, of course, although as yet nothing too revelatory. This picture is of one of the most common fossils in the biota, the palaeoscolecid worm Maotianshania cylindrica: