my father came in the afternoon to share some information about southwestern china, a place my parents have been to before. we further defined my route based on transportation option, whether riding on tracks via trains or roads via bus. i've sort of blocked out my trip into areas where i'll be spending at least a week exploring (so a minimum of 5 weeks):

1) the area around guilin and yangshuo (guangxi province). i hear it's much like the karst formations i saw in northern vietnam (it makes sense, since guangxi province borders vietnam). most visitors take a ferry ride between guilin and yangshuo: my father suggested i should walk it instead, following the course of the river for 30 miles, with more opportunities to explore.

2) the area around guiyang (guizhou province). not a lot of travelers come to guizhou, it has a reputation for being one of the poorest chinese provinces. that can only mean more authentic sights, free from the usual tourist trappings.

3) xishuangbanna (southern yunnan). the only part of china where there are pristine tropical jungles. wild animals like elephants and tigers still roam the forest. here i plan on indulging in a bit of naturing.

4) the area between dali and lijiang (northwestern yunnan). from the photos i've seen, being in lijiang is like being transported back in time to some ancient chinese village. it's so picturesque, i can spend days just wandering the streets taking photos.

5) chengdu and chongqing (sichuan province). come for the pandas (there's a panda breeding center), stay for the food (spicy cuisine). there's also the sanxingdui museum featuring non-han artifacts and the dazu carvings.

approximately 10,000 miles of traveling! if i can fly directly into guilin however, i can cut off 400 miles from my trip (i wouldn't have to traverse guangdong province which would take a day or two).

(china map "borrowed" from frommers site)

it was tough going but by the end of the day the sun finally came out for a little bit. i'd just gotten back from a run and a stop at the supermarket. i immediately grabbed my camera and went outside looking for a rainbow. it's funny, but as soon as i felt the warm rays, i started wishing it was cold again.

when julie came over i showed her my community garden plot. it's easy to find because it's the one that looks like nobody's worked on it. we went back to my place where julie made some sort of tom yum noodle soup. we watched the red sox beat the orioles once more although this game was a close one.

my usb flash drive arrived today; i can finally stop burning cd's to transfer files to the clients. i know they've been out for a while but i've just been waiting for the price to drop. i paid $35 for this 2gb flash drive. i love using it, feels like a spy gadget.