i was afraid to ask anyone to come with me, everybody seemed to be busy. so for lunch today i went by myself to chinatown. getting lunch wasn't actually my main reason for going downtown; i had to buy bus tickets for my saturday day trip with alex wong to new york city. the infamous chinatown bus! bus fare so cheap, it almost seems like it should be illegal! the last time i went to nyc i took the exact same bus, but somebody else had bought the tickets for me (i was taking a family friend down to nyc for the weekend, my parents had paid and gotten those tickets). this was my first time buying tickets for myself. there are many places to get them, but my mother recommended this one place that sort of looked like an underground (literally) travel agency. there were signs advertising special fare bus trips to nyc, so i knew this was the right place.

i went in and there were three non-asians ahead of me in line purchasing bus tickets already (not that there's anything wrong with that! barbarians' money's good as anybody else's!). when they left, i sat down by the counter and spoke to the woman in mandarin that i wanted two tickets for nyc for this saturday. she filled out my order, then said something to me in cantonese. i stared at her blank-faced, stammering. she then repeated herself, this time in english. "saturday, 7am leave boston, 7pm leave new york?" "yes," i replied. why the sudden language change? when i came in i established myself as a mandarin speaker, and she was able to talk to me in mandarin. it wasn't as if she couldn't speak it, because she spoke perfect mandarin with another woman behind the counter. why then the switch to cantonese? maybe she forgot i didn't come in speaking cantonese. when i blanked, she just figured my chinese was rudimentary and better to converse with me in straight english instead. anyway, the ticket was $22/roundtrip fare, with an additional 5% fee because i used a credit card instead of paying in cash. i got the tickets and went to to chau, my favorite vietnamese restaurant in chinatown.

at to chau i sat at table 13 (ah, table 13, my old friend!) and had the L7, the tom yum guy soup with vermicelli noodles. in a matter of minutes my order came. anyone who knows me knows that my body is not shy when it comes to sweating, like i have some sort of autonomic nervous system disorder. so it goes without saying that i was sweating up a storm eating my hot and spicy lunch. a businessman came in and saw my order and asked the waitress what i was having and he ordered the same thing. another guy sitting behind me order the L7 as well. popular item! other than that time with amanda in harvard square, i haven't had traditional pho in a while now. the tom yum guy soup with vermicelli is definitely my new favorite. something i noticed in the restaurant today, almost all the tables were single occupants like myself. to chau, the hiding place of lonesome epicureans!

after lunch i went to the mei tung supermarket to grab some snacks. i stood at the front door for a few seconds before i realized it wasn't an automatic door but rather a manual style push door. funny, it use to be automatic, i swear! i bought a packet of muscat gummis (it reminded me of klea, whom i did ask if she wanted to come out for lunch, but she was busy), a box of tamarind beans, some flute cookies, a jar of vietnamese hot sauce, a stick of ginger flavored gum, and a bag of peanuts. mmm mmm savory!

my trip back to the office was uneventful. later during the day though, the upstairs office ran out of toilet paper (nothing but a brown cardboard tube on the spool), and i had to go downstairs and make a toilet paper run - my very first time! i was amazed when i came down to see the unequal distribution of toilet paper - there was enough downstairs to last a few months, while we upstairs people had to resort to napkins and boxed tissues! i like to think that in my own way i've helped to deflect a potential toilet paper crisis from happening upstairs. it's bad enough that the walls of the two upstairs bathrooms are paper thin and i can hear people breathing, let alone all those other sounds. i don't want to toot my own horn, but i am also the one bringing in new issues of pc gamer magazine for the bathroom magazine rack every month! enjoy!