in the late morning i brought jawei to the annual rowing event known as the head of the charles. harvard square was a sea of people as we waded to the jfk bridge to watch the rowers passing beneath us. it was cold, it was windy, we stuck it out for as long as we could before walking around the tent city a little bit, where vendors were selling official regatta merchandise, as well as regular event items, like italian sausages and kettle-cooked popcorn.
in downtown crossing we met up with two of jawei's friends from his recent trip to washington/nyc, tiffany (from guangzhou) and eliza (a taida graduate from taipei). we walked to chinatown to have dim sum at chinatown pearl, where tiffany knew the people working there so we got VIP treatment. can't quite remember the last time i was at china pearl, but it seemed like forever. they still have, in my opinion, the best chicken feet and tripe in all of boston. i saw that waiter who nearly kicked manny and i out of the restaurant one time a while back; fortunately he didn't recognize who i was.
later we walked down to boston common to partake in the massive jack-o-lantern spectacle. too bad we weren't there at night, for the lighting ceremony, but i heard it'd be raining anyway. by the time we left, the pumpkin count was at 16,205 (the guiness book of world record amount is 28,952).
after a brief stroll through filene's (where jawei, already more familiar with the place than i am, told me where the secret bathroom was), we grabbed the T back to cambridge.
in the evening i drove out to marblehead (on my parents' borrowed car) for a party. i figured the drive would be difficult but marblehead is actually pretty easy to get to, route 16 east then a straight shot up route 1A north. the only kink was the heavy rain that was now falling on boston, but eventually i got there. andrew and maura were there, along with a few of their friends. once everyone arrived, we carpooled over to salem to visit a few haunted houses. the kinds i was thinking about were the ones with tragic history and possibly real apparitions; the ones we visited were the "entertaining" fake kinds. not cheap either, at $6 a pop (we visited two). the first one wasn't too interesting, but the second one featured 3D effects with special glasses (that one naturally had the longer line). each haunted house lasted just minutes, as people in monster masks came lunging out from the dark. instinctively, i shoved a few "monsters" - i wonder if they get that a lot.
later we returned to the house for refreshments, keeping an eye on mona the dog who occasionally jumped up to the counter to paw at the food. there was a hot tub and just a few guys got in: andrew, bob, yens, and myself (once again, sausage factory). stripped down to my swimming trunks, i was shivering in the freezing rain, but once in the tub, all was right in the world again. with the green underwater light below the bubbling surface of the hot tub, it looked like we were all boiling in a witch's cauldron. later maura joined us but quickly got right back out when the thunder and lightning started. the rest of us got out a while later, after a loud lightning bolt crackled directly overhead. after i changed out of my wet clothes, i drove back home to cambridge, stopping just once to get some gas and to check the map to make sure i was on course.