i woke up at 9am on the sofa bed with the sunshine streaming into the 9th story living room window. i had a restful night of sleep (much better than sleeping on the bus) that was marred briefly by a hungry mosquito. john was walking around the dining room with his coffee press full of steaming hot coffee, about to read the morning newspaper, while deanna was getting ready for work. after she left, we prepared to leave as well. while john was taking a shower, i browsed through his mp3 collection and copied some music. we went to a nearby deli for breakfast, i got a ham egg cheese sandwich on a croissant. instead of taking the subway we just walked across the brooklyn bridge to manhattan. we went to the strand book annex in the financial district and got lost in the stacks of books. i've been to the annex one other time before, i remembered it was a lot cleaner and more organized, but it's been many years and it's starting to resemble the misarray of the strand out by union square. we didn't leave until 1pm, and i left with a bunch of new books:

stokes guide to amphibians and reptiles$ 4.95 ($14.95)
pocket naturalist guide to edible wild plants$ 2.95 ($ 5.95)
the wood duck and the mandarin: the northern wood ducks$ 9.95 ($34.95)
venomous animals of arizona$ 5.00 ($10.00)
empires beyond the great wall: the heritage of genghis khan$15.00 ($29.95)
ten thousand things: module and mass production in chinese art$19.95 ($75.00)

i bought the exact same amphibians book (or as i like to call it, "the frog book") the last time i visited the strand, and have been reading it a lot with my newfound fondness for amphibians and reptiles - that was until the book went missing. i don't know where it is and i've been looking for it for several weeks now, so i figured i'd just buy another copy and save myself from having to look anymore. i purchased the wood duck book because next season wood ducks will be my nature holy grail (just like the efts were this season's obsession, even though i already saw a wood duck last week, but from a distance).

it was raining by the time we left the strand. john, who originally was going to the library to do some job search work, decided to go back home instead (because of the rain), while i grabbed the 6 train up to canal street to take the 2pm chinatown bus back to boston. while in chinatown i bought a few large pomegranates, $2 each, the size of grapefruits. on the bus, i filled the empty seat next to mine with my bags, hopefully nobody would sit next to me, wishing the bus would leave quickly so no more passengers could come onboard. i escaped with the seat free, and went to sleep for lack of anything else better to do. i tried various positions, legs crossed sitting diagonally, armed crossed head against the window, legs apart sitting straight, but every position left me with neck pains. i had my earplugs in, but i could loud chinese people speaking in cantonese somewhere, and from behind me an elderly russian couple were chatting. the ride was long because of the rain combined with rush hour traffic, a neverending series of stops and gos on the highway. i was in a state of painful unconscious delirium, didn't even know where i was, didn't bother using the bathroom when we stopped for a break. at the 5 hour mark approaching 7pm, the quiet tall taiwanese girl with the strapless dress and knee-length boots suddenly lost it and screamed out in mandarin chinese, "driver, when are we going to get there?!" the driver, taken aback, replied, "oh, we're almost there! 10 more minutes! almost!" the girl went back to being quiet.

10 minutes later we arrived inside the south station bus terminal. i made a beeline to the subway, heavy bags and all, and grabbed the train back to cambridge, back home. i used the bathroom before taking a shower to clean off that traveling strink. i noticed a bruise on my left hip from having my computer bag repeatedly bashing into me while i traversed manhattan earlier today. i made ramen for dinner and waited for the first presidential debate to begin at 9pm. kerry really cleaned house, i was surprised how calm and articulate he was, compared to bush who seemed angried and annoyed and fumbling for words. afterwards, undecided voters from swing states - the political equivalent of rock stars - got major love from all the various networks who wanted to talk to them firsthand and get their opinions on the debate.