small guihu lake
(chaoyang gate in background)
i'm trying to pass the time in the city center, waiting for sunset so i can get some good photos, hanging out at this here internet cafe. the way it works here is they give you a card with a username and password, and then when you start up a free machine, it'll ask you for the correct values. it's pretty efficient, and i've only seen it starting in menghai - other places actually turn on the machine i'm sitting.
old school jianshui street
lady resting against chaoyang wall
weapon-grade raw sugar cakes
zhu family mansion doorway
i basically got here around noon (after taking the bus in the wrong direction, which became the scenic route) and have been just walking around, taking photos. i visited a nearby lake (guihu: half lake, half sewer), saw a few wells, and visited the zhu's family mansion (RMB$50, not worth it). i also tried to buy a new pair of shoes but the ones i liked didn't come in my size and was the wrong color (brown), so i passed. i had rice noodles with smelly tofu for lunch (RMB$4, straight back to the hotel to use the bathroom, not sure if the two events were related), then for dinner i had rice noodles again, this time with a plate of "elephant tusk plants" (RMB$10).
elephant tusks tsai
not too many people know this, but i'm having technical difficulties with my canon digital SLR. it still takes photos just fine, but every once in a while (like more than a quarter of the time), the camera will malfunction and throw out an "error 99" message, from which i have to turn off and on the camera in order to get it to work again. it's kind of a pain, and it means for every photo i take, it takes me much longer than usual because the camera keeps on crashing. i did some research online, and it seems to be a problem with the gold contacts on the lens. i bought and eraser and performed the necessary fix, cleaning out the leads, but it still misbehaves. it's only my short lens, not the telephoto, so the problem is definitely with the lens - the short one wasn't that expensive and can be replace (or fixed) but not until i get back to boston. in the meantime i just have to manage with a slightly busted camera. worst case scenario, i still have my trusty nikon coolpix 4500, which has been much neglected since i got the canon.
kites in the air
(not the swallows, you can barely see them)
update: approaching sunset, i climbed chaoyang gate. i saw some old men flying kites from the top of the gate but i couldn't see where their kites were. then i looked all the way in the sky and small some tiny specks. these were handmade kites, along with the rigging system, which resembled large fish reels. a few latecomers were casting their kites; once they got to a certain distance, the wind would basically pull the kite into the sky. i asked one of them how long they thought the line was. "300 meters," one of them said, but it seemed longer than that. it was pretty amazing, all against the backdrop of an exploding jianshui sunset, with swallows circling the air chirping. i think i fell in love with the city all over again.
man flying kite
reeling in kite
(swallow in background)
once it got dark, the men went home with their kites. i grabbed the no.13 bus back to the traffic hotel, then came back out to this internet cafe. i'm going to go home soon, pick up some drinks, spend the rest of the night hydrating, watching television, and take advantage of the AC.
i'm leaving for yuanyang tomorrow morning. i tried to buy a ticket today, but apparently its a shuttle and i just buy it right before i leave.