i am visiting you at your office, which is located in a large gothic mansion by the rocky seashore that requires a drive through some picturesque fields. part of the mansion is periodically submerged whenever the tides come in. you share an office with some people, but instead of desks, everyone has beds. i spend the whole day with you lying in bed, occasionally looking outside through the window, or watching tv. the bathroom is weird, like a brady bathroom, connected to two rooms, and the doors don't seem to close. it's close to the end of the day and we're taking a break, watching tv. a fellow coworker, a man of middle eastern descent, is sitting nearby on a towel, and suddenly we both notice he has his penis out. "dude, put that away!" i say to him, arms raised to shield myself from the exposure. you tell him it's inappropriate behavior in your serious voice. he doesn't seem to be listening, just watching tv, holding his penis. eventually he loses interest and puts the thing away. i look out the window again and the day is gorgeous. large rocky shoreline with pockets of beachy sand, and pools of deep blue water below a clear blue sky. i can't resist and i take some photos, pressing the camera against the glass to reduce the glare. there are people outside in bathing suits enjoying the weather. i think it's kind of strange since it's still winter, but i figured maybe it's jut warmer here. everyone is bronzed, a leathery old lady in a yellow bikini walks by. these people are either people on vacation or fellow coworkers taking a break. another coworker of yours, a kind old lady with white hair, peers out the window with me. i noticed that your office is moving, drifting away from the shoreline, where indeed parts of an elaborate gaudi-esque mansion is currently being submerged by the water. "are we...?" i ask her. "yes, this office is on a boat," she explains to me. you're sitting by the foot of the bed now, opposite our arab friend, listening to our conversation, nodding and smiling when i look to you for confirmation about your floating work place. "it's so beautiful outside," i say to no one in particular.


more days!

the quiet american, i was watching that this morning when i got out of bed. a great movie about vietnam on the eve of its transition from a french colonial state to an american cold war pawn. later, my mother and sister came by to pick me and go to the salvation army in saugus, where i wanted to find some white shirts for traveling. i'm only going to be packing one other pair of pants and another shirt - i'll be wearing the same thing everyday (white shirt and a pair of khakis) until it gets dirty, then i'll change. that'll be my southeast asia uniform. salvation army had what i was looking for because a lot of used uniforms get donated to them, and white shirts are dime a dozen (well, a few bucks for a shirt at least). my mother also found a foldable black banana republic hooded windbreaker for $4, that was her bargain finding victory of the day. we paid and left, but not before taking a detour to the krispy kreme donut shop. my mother had never been to one of these before, and didn't seem too impressed even though she thought their coffee was pretty good. once the fresh donuts started to roll out of the conveyer belt however, and hot free donut samples were given out, my mother went crazy. "it tastes like cotton!" she said, and then made my sister and i go up and get free donuts for her, before she went again herself. "it's so delicious!" she exclaimed. my sister and i sat there horrified.

we went back to belmont for dinner. later, my mother showed me some of the things she got for my trip: tube of neosporin, moist wipes, benadryl, bonine, bandaids, hand sanitizers, i felt like i was bringing the entire content of a medicine cabinet with me. my father drew out a map of where to get off the bus/subway in hsingdien (taiwan) and how to find my cousin's place. my mother was worried that i wasn't preparing enough, that it seemed like i'm putting everything off to the last minute. the way i see it, i have 5 more days, and whatever necessity i forget, i can buy in taipei, or probably elsewhere along my trip.

i packed up my stuff and drove one of the cars back to cambridge. my compact travel charger for my nikon batteries arrived. i spoke with paula briefly online, who had a small supply of malarone she wanted to give me if i wasn't able to get my supply. everybody loves the anti-malaria drug.