all i had to do this morning was to wake up, eat some lunch, and get ready for my new york city trip. an hour before i left, my mother called to inform me that the chinese graduate student who would be living at my place during the 3 months i'm away will be arriving sunday night. i had to quickly empty out the guest bedroom and clean the bathroom. i basically threw everything into my own bedroom, figuring i'd have time to sort everything out sunday night when i come back. the weather took a turn for the worse by the time i left the house as torrential rain started to drown the city again. the 15 minute walk to the porter square subway station had already left the legs of my jeans and shoes completely soaked. i made my way to south station to catch the 3pm chinatown bus. there are two chinatown bus companies, the fung wah and lucky star. they're virtually the same, both are $15 rides. i grabbed the lucky star and watched as the fung wah bus got the jump and left 15 minutes before us.

i was on the drama bus apparently. the guy sitting behind me put his bicycle on the wrong bus and was trying to convey this information to the bus company representative in new york. i hated him right away when the first thing he said to the person over the cell phone was, "hey, do you speak any english?" later, he was calling his friends, trying to find a place to stay. the guy in front of me was also on the phone with a friend. he was quiet for most of the ride, checking text messages on his phone, but once he started chatting, his vernacular was peppered with profanity. i noticed he was drinking a soda which turned out to be a six pack of beer he had in a paper bag.

at the midway point we stopped for a bathroom break at a highway exit restaurant called china buffet. there was a snicker from the passengers, "are we really going there?" once people saw the amount of cheap food being offered, they quickly changed their mind. even i was tempted, with things like lobsters (for $7 more), but i wanted to save my appetite for when i arrived in chinatown. back on the bus, it smelled like a chinese restaurant with people feasting on their buffet takeout.

normally one can expect to reach new york from boston in about 4 hours. due to the rainy weather and rush hour traffic however, it took 5 hours and 30 minutes. we didn't arrive in new york city until almost 9pm. john was supposed to join me for dinner but had some work to do in the office so he couldn't make it. i wanted to find the excellent pork chop house i ate at the last time i visited new york, but after walking around i couldn't find it. i was pretty hungry at that point (i only had cereal for lunch) so i ended up trying the marco polo restaurant, with a chinese name of "south north noodle restaurant." i ordered the spicy beef noodle soup (lanzhou style hand-drawn noodles). it was pretty good, but the waiter charged me an extra $1 for the $4.25 meal. too tired to complain, i paid the bill uncontested and even left a large tip.

from there i took the subway to brooklyn heights. i got to john's place before he could get home, but fortunately deanna was there to let me in. when john finally came back, we chatted briefly before he fell asleep. deanna dragged him off to bed while i slept on the fold-out coach in the living room after a quick shower.