so i finally managed to wake up early again, like 6:30am early (30 minutes earlier than my first time!), with the sun just rising. i took a few photos and wandered the empty streets a little bit, along with a few other people, similarly armed with cameras. by 8am i got something to eat, my usual breakfast nook, everyone there greeting me with recognition smiles.
the only thing i had planned today was to watch an evening musical dance performance with minority costumes in the new town. i met those two backpacking boys for lunch (in the new town, where things are much cheaper and not touristy) and was embarassed when they ended up paying for me unexpectedly. no-income college kids paying for a working guy; if they ever make it to boston i'll return the favor.
after lunch i made it back to sifang square and sat down underneath a shady tree along with some naxi people, looking for photo ops. i chatted with a german couple (naturally, they've seen to have been everywhere in the world, but i was surprised they never made it to taiwan, which i highly recommended to them, biased of course) then later a 52 year old out-of-work car mechanic who didn't look a day over 30. he had a wicked sense of humor but sometimes i couldn't understand what he was saying through his accent and just nodded and smiled.
in the evening i made it to the ethnic minority amphitheatre right across from mao square. i had a great (though expensive) seat, third row front and center. it was actually a bit too close, i could've easily sat in the balcony and still got great photos with the telephoto lens. the audience was typically chinese: talking, cellphone ringing, flash photography, baby crying, showing up late - basically every single theatre faux paus you can think of, it happened. the show was surprisingly entertaining though sometimes a bit cheesy, but when you're a single guy out on the road, you tend to appreciate pretty ladies in colorful costumes a little bit more. the choreography was okay, but sometimes (especially the male dancers) they'd become unsynchronized. trying to be more international, the hostess translated her speech into english, but in that weird chinese english that doesn't make any sense to anyone who can actually speak english.
coming back, i stopped off at a xinjiang barbecue kiosk and bought 10 sticks of barbecued mutton. i told the young man i've been to xinjiang and be became instant best friends. a small dog (with sad eyes) followed me back for several blocks, and i nearly broke down and gave him a piece but he disappeared once i crossed a busy crosswalk.
i ate in my guesthouse room and rested for the evening. it got really noisy when some of the other guests returned as well, especially the ones with children. at one point i threw open the door, shoot them a dirty look, and violently slammed the door. in my mind i fantasized about chasing the rowdy kids with my belt, a la litang style. there was a murmur and a few minutes later i heard crying - the heavy hand of parental justice.