this morning i was called into active duty to go with my father and suhan to the waltham costco because i am a good liar. they bought a new compaq presario last week but suhan formatted the drive and installed chinese XP before he could burn a recovery disc from the image stored on the hard drive. without that disc they couldn't fix the computer once they realized it was missing a lot of drivers to operate the various devices (like the dvd-burner for one thing). so i was asked to talk with the costco merchandise return folks, let them know that the machine was broken, instead of the truth, which is we broke it. we were able to return it without any problems and got a brand new computer to replace it.

back at home my internet went down for most of the afternoon. i did what anybody would do in that situation, i waited helplessly at home until it went back up. at 2pm jawei returned home, earlier than i expected. he'd called me this morning after he couldn't find his english class building. he told me how they were just testing the students to gauge their english abilities, and he was definitely on the remedial end of the spectrum. he did have some good news though: no more than 72 hours in the country and he's already made friends with a hot korean girl (he showed me her photo) who gave him her phone number and address. not bad!

i got in touch with renata, would said she'd wait for us at her place. jawei and i took the subway and headed to JP. since neither of us had any lunch yet, we ordered a large steak & cheese sub to split. walking to renata's place, she surprised us outside, carrying a duffle bag of wet, clean clothes. jawei and i ate our sub as renata separated her laundry. renata had proposed an alternative outing of the arnold arboretum combined with jamaica pond, but i thought the bog would be cooler so we decided to visit ponkapoag. while she and jawei chatted in broken chinese and english, i went online to confirm the route. we piled into renata's car and drove headfirst into rush hour traffic. wouldn't you know it, as soon as we entered blue hill, i got lost again, and accidently directed renata onto I-93, a stretch of highway that under normal circumstances renata would refuse to drive on. finally we had to stop and ask directions from a fireman. by the time we found the entrance to the ponkapoag trail, the sun was already low on the horizon. nevertheless, i lead the expedition into the bog.

i was surprised to see how dry the bog was. normally flooded landscapes were now muddy plains covered in sphagnum moss. i was afraid there'd be a lot of mosquitoes with dusk approaching, but i escaped with just one mosquito bite, and the only person who had to spray was renata, who asked for some repellent on her bare back. i showed them the secrets of the bog, like hidden pitcher plants and sundews. we ate wild cranberries and i even ate a dried blueberry. occasionally small leopard frogs could be seen hopping out of our way, and overhead out in the clearings were large dragonflies feeding on flying bugs. it was also in these clearings were bog cotton grew in large numbers, white balls floating in front of the colorful sky as the sun slowly set. we headed back out with just enough sunlight to still see our way and drove back to jamaica plain.

renata cooked dinner for us, some corn soup along with a creamy pasta dish. we ate out on the porch illuminated by a single candle light. later we took a stroll around jamaica pond. before jawei and i grabbed the subway back to cambridge.