for a change i'm actually ahead of schedule. what was supposed to be due end of the day tomorrow i already finished today. not that it'll matter too much, since i still have plenty of other work to do. nevertheless, a small victory is still a victory, and i go to bed tonight not feeling overwhelmed like i have the past few weeks. lunch and dinner came in the form of leftover meat buns and hot & sour soup. i paced around the house when i needed to take a break. a shower before lunch, and a shower after i finished work. i didn't set a single foot outside today. but you know what? going outside is over-rated. all the cool kids are becoming hermits and hiding in their homes these days.

remember that dying fish? well it's still alive! though barely. it had been in my bathroom, but i felt sorry for it and decided to return it back to the tank, its final days spent in its home, maybe hoping for some miracle that it might survive after all. well, tonight i found it at the bottom of the tank again, twitching, so i decided to take it out again, so it could have a dignified death in a clear vase.

finally, this past weekend i found out when my court date is, the last day of january. i get to plea my case before a court magistrate, regarding the moving violation citation i received back in october when i almost ran over an old lady crossing the street with my motorcycle. i figured it couldn't hurt to contest it, although i'm not optimistic i'll be able to clear the charges. this means i'll probably have to shave and get a haircut, because right now i look like a mountain man.

here's the dream i had last night:

i sign up with a bunch of other young people for a group trip to costa rica. the british guy from that traveling show is running the program. we're assigned to our rooms and i realize i've been here before. instead of getting a nice room that overlooks not only the hotel pool but also the beach, i just get a room with a balcony view of just the ocean. the elevator ride going down breaks and we end up in an abandoned mining shaft, where we have to climb out.

everyone is at the dining hall waiting for lunch. that's when we all find out that we're signing into a contract, basically we subsidize our stay by working as manual labor for the hotel. i don't like the idea at all but everyone seems to be going along with it so i do too. we're served some sort of thick soup and how many sticks of noodles we get is directly related to how much work we're willing to do. a little orphan boy is squatting besides me, and i look for him for help but he doesn't tell me how much to get. i ask for four noodles, same as everyone else. a friendly pretty blonde sits across from me and she seems to take an interest and we're chatting. after lunch, everyone disappears to take a break, while i'm the only one left in the dining hall. they run a film (for no one in particular), introduction to the hotel, which is basically a girls gone wild segment featuring the girl i was talking to earlier. apparently she's a hotel staple and seems to get friendly with a lot of guests.

imagining the work i'd have to do and not being able to go out and take photos of the various nature that's all around me, i track down our host, who's playing with a talking green parrot and trying to take a nap in the empty hotel office. i tell him that i don't want to work and would be willing to pay more to get out of it, figuring i'd have to shell out $100/night for the room for our week stay. "so how much do we pay now?" i asked him. "$15," he says in his british accent. "$15/night?" i ask, disbelieving how cheap it is. "nah, $15 a week," he says, nodding, like he can't believe it either. i reconsider working. that's when i realized i could be working outside picking crops or something, and that wouldn't be so bad, and i could get some exercise and work on my tan too, so i change my mind and agree to work in order to stay here cheaply.

i go out and walk around the nearly empty hotel compound. there are man-made lakes, with various exotic birds wading in them. i see these cardinal birds that are in various shades of red, grey, and white. a tall american boy that i recognize walks out in his black speedo and asks if i've seen this japanese girl. i say no. outside the hotel, it's a deserted dirt road, with a little convenience store nearby and an ATM that gets a lot of action. soon break is over and everyone is congregating in a large empty courtyard. we find our teams and our team leader goes over some rules. she tells us our safety word and asks us to behave.