at the last minute julie asked if i wanted to get some lunch in inman square, where she was sending her car to get fixed. at the repair shop she mentioned something about how the repair guys might try to talk to me first since i was a guy, so i excused myself and went around the corner, checking the news stories taped to the window of the cultural survival headquarter. i learned that in a certain part of indonesia, 96% of the people drank from the river, with 98% of them using it as a bathroom as well.

with her car business squared away (in the shop for a day or two), we walked to inman square and had lunch at punjabi dhaba. i pass by the place all the time and it always seems crowded, although there wasn't too many people today. touted as the indian roadside cafe, punjabi dhaba offers a wide selection of food, including such relative exotics as mutton and goat. i ordered the goat vindaloo with a mango lassi. we ate upstairs with nobody else around, even cranking up the heat through the unprotected thermostat. the food was good but i was so stuffed that if i even thought about more indian food i'd burst at the seams.

earlier we had visited a spice store, and after we finished eating we looked around a few more shops before walking up to union square. here we visited the korean grocery store with it's wall of kimchee, then a few blocks away to an indian store where i bought some black cardamon seeds for my mother's birthday (tomorrow). an indian mother asked us to watch her baby in the backseat of her illegal parked car while she went into the store to buy some things. we agreed, but started to get antsy when it felt like she was taking her time. walking back home, julie saw the bus coming and ran to catch it, leaving me behind. i was close enough to home that i decided to walk the rest of the way.

for some reason i was really tired and decided to take a nap in my bedroom, setting the alarm for 6pm, the time when manny was coming over to exchange our belated christmas presents. when i woke up manny was a no-show, until he called me later to see if i was home, having passed by my place earlier and seeing all the lights off. when he finally did drop by, he brought two wooden swivel bar stools, furniture that one of his neighbor's threw out that he thought i might want, complete with broken backrests. manny gave me an asian music cd and a bamboo curtain with the mona lisa painted on it. we chatted briefly about my vacation plans, then he left, taking with him one of renata's presents.

sometime after 8pm julie walked to my place, her bag carrying some of the chili she made last night. julie also got to pick a present from renata's xmas stash. eternal sunshine of the spotless mind arrived from netflix today and we watched it, julie having never seen that movie. it's such a great film, about the power of love and memory, and it's hard to decide between eternal sunshine and the incredibles as to which one is the best movie of 2004. eternal sunshine is at times sad, funny, poignant, romantic, thought-provoking, sentimental, inspirational. watching it gives me hope that maybe there's love for us all. with 20 minutes left in the movie we took a break to watch the one-hour tsunami special on ABC. it was just a night of emotions, as we watched footage of people across asia with their lives completely shattered. what upsets me the most is that the US is only donating $35 million, when a private company like pfizer is contributing $35 million as well, and a much poorer country like spain is giving $68 million. it's downright shameful, and it makes me want to root against the US. americans as a whole are a generous lot and perhaps through private contribution a lot of money can be generated, but the administration made no suggestion to its compassionate conservative supporters to donate, instead bush incorporated got all defensive regarding the remark that the US is stingy with relief money.