i rented several movies through netflix that are related to southeast asia, as part of my ongoing travel research. the only one i watched completely was the vietnam war documentary hearts & minds, and that was after watching another documentary about hiroshima on the history channel, so most of my day was spent realizing how much american foreign policy has destroyed parts of asia.

renata and her parents were coming into boston from providence to stay overnight at a hotel so they could get to logan airport bright and early tomorrow morning. i wanted to meet renata once more before she left so i called to see what was up. she told me they'd be coming into boston in the evening and she'd give me a call at that time. at 7:30 she called me saying they were leaving. at 8:30 she called me again to say they were leaving. "where are you guys, like in a restaurant?" i assumed they were already in town and were returning to their hotel room. "no, we're still in rhode island," renata told me. after about an hour i got dressed and headed into boston. it was 10:00 by the time i arrived in the sheraton hotel. i called them and renata's mother told me to meet them at the legal seafood restaurant inside the prudential mall. when i got there i found everyone, but unfortunately the restaurant was closed (like, either forever, or for renovations). it was revealed to me that the whole reason why they picked the sheraton was so they could get some legal seafood chowder. luckily there's another legal seafood in the adjoining copley square mall.

i was surprised to see that the malls were still opened despite the fact that most of the businesses were already closed. after a long walk, we finally made it to the alternate legal seafood. i had just a cup of clam chowder and renata shared her seafood salad with me. "you don't like seafood, do you?" renata whispered. "no no, i like seafood," i replied, even though sometimes i don't. we also ordered a crab meat dip served with crispy fried chips that was really good. "did you guys already have dinner before you left providence?" i asked them. "no, we haven't eaten yet," they responded. when her father heard that i was going to the guggenheim next week to see the aztec exhibit, he let me borrow his membership card. he returned to the hotel room early because he felt tired. her mother was going to leave too when she realized she hadn't paid yet.

the three of us walked back to the hotel. i went upstairs with them; while her mother returned to their room, renata and i spent some time talking outside sitting on the carpeted hallway. i felt sad in a way that i couldn't verbalize, wishing that somehow time could stop so we could hang out some more. as it was getting late and they had an early morning the next day, i said good bye and told renata i'd see her at the airport tomorrow.

back in porter square, i stopped by the cvs to get some toothpaste. i bought the crest multi-flavored 4-pak sampler because i couldn't decide on a flavor and i wanted to try them all. i couldn't wait to go home and brush my teeth. i brushed with orange and immediately had second thoughts. when toothpaste tastes too much like real food it gets weird, you don't know whether to spit or swallow.

pedro jose sanchez martinez - "moon river"
(from "bad education" soundtrack)

oh burma, you and your restrictive control over who can come into your country! i can't get in without an entry visa (which takes several days to process), and i'm not sure i can get one in chiang mai, so i have to leave for burma from bangkok (besides, i think the chiang mai to mandalay flight leaves only once a week). there's some backtracking but it'll be on a plane so it won't matter (i won't be penalized for mileage). i'm also going to be doing more flying overall (versus slower land travel), just to save time. i don't think it'll reduce the authenticity of the experience if i don't travel completely via land routes. red dotted lines mean mandatory flights, yellow dotted lines mean optional flights. in vietnam, i can take the night train from danang into ho chi minh city, or i can just fly in. from luang prabang in laos i could take a boat into thailand that would take 2-3 days to get to chiang mai, or i can take a plane and be there in a few hours. since i'm now flying from siem reap (cambodia) into vientiane (laos), the only land border crossing will be between vietnam and cambodia.