Feb 18 08

Yay, no smashed up machines on my watch today! It was a good day. An uneventful day, though another kid appeared, in yellow long sleeved polo, jeans and matching yellow converse high tops, enthusiastically telling me he would like to learn violin. We had his first lesson, mostly learning how to hold the bow. The naughty computer smashers have been permanently expelled. The air seems lighter at work somehow.

After work I set out for the tailor across the street to do a repair, then to order a side dish for dinner at the Sichuan restaurant on the corner, and then to buy some yinliao, or soft drinks, to have on hand. I was nearly out of drinks. In a country where you can't just grab a glass of water from the tap, having sealed beverages on hand takes on new meaning. I should just keep some cold water in the fridge. I just dread lugging the 15 gallon jug of purified water back by myself because I can really only manage it if I fill it about 75% full.

The tailor was a little shop with 4 ladies working hard, using decent lighting and electric machines--the first I've seen. I went in to get a small hole repaired in a pair of soft velvet trousers I love. I was happily surprised that they were available to do the job then and there. I think they were 'overcharging the foreigner' by a few kuai, but I'm sure that was still less than half of what would be charged back home, so I didn't try to bargain it. It's the national pastime, anyway, to gouge the foreigners. Over a few kuai, who cares? I mean a kuai is what, worth 14 cents? And they get a giggle and a look at a big nose. It was really funny actually. They were playing with some scraps, making holes in some red material for eyes, and cut a triangle and folded it for the nose. They were laughing about saying how they can make it into a mask and charge the foreigners about $25 for it. I was laughing too. Then, I ordered 'family style tofu' from the place nearby to go with my ginger-beer, jasmine rice and green vegetable I already had at home. Last stop: beverages. Six boxes of coconut drink, 1 can of 'matcha milk tea' from Japan and a couple of cans of orange 'Mirinda' later, I was back on the bike and heading for my flat.

Something about China keeps me really hungry. I can eat lunch, and 3 hours later I am starving again. I have to make sure to eat enough at night for dinner or I sleep fitfully waking up hungry. I try to remember to have a slice or two of cheese before bed. Ah, China.


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