james got in touch with me about getting together for some lunch in chinatown today. the last time we had lunch was back in october. it was a perfect day to be outside, with temperature in the mid-60's. i got there early so i could walk around the neighborhood a bit, looking for interesting photo ops, before waiting for james at the chinatown gate. chinese men huddled around stone blocks playing chinese chess on the engraved boards.
we decided to go vietnamese and went to pho hoa; i was surprised to hear james had never been here before (i take everyone i know here). i noticed the prices on a lot of their dishes had gone up, although basic pho remained at a reasonable $5 meal. the place wasn't crowded when we arrived, but by the time we left, it was packed, and the waitresses seemed to be in a hurry to get us to leave, removing our plates as soon as we finished eating, and taking the check before we even had a chance to pay. with the NH primary happening "next door," here and there i overheard political conversations.
after james left i walked to downtown crossing to take photos of building details. i have an almost child-like fascination with anything that's weird and enjoy searching for gargoyles and other strange flourishes adorning some of the older buildings in boston.
later i went to the granary burial ground on tremont street. it was sort of surreal because i'd just passed by two gypsy women on the street asking me if i wanted to come into their shop for a palm reading. i politely refused.
i can't remember ever having gone into the granary burial ground, and even though i've lived in boston for most of my life, i've never visited the graves of distinguished bostonians like paul revere or john hancock until today. with so many old graveyards dotting the local landscape, new england must be heaven for goth kids. and it makes me wonder if that's actually true demographically, because i can't imagine any kid would want to go goth if they lived in someplace nice and sunny like southern california.
swinging back though the heart of downtown crossing, i paid a visit to the borders bookstore. i first checked out the travel section, surprised to find a couple of new china books exclusively covering the southern/southwestern region, the place where i was when i went to china. i thought i'd gone to some pretty remote places, but apparently not remote enough for the likes of lonely planet. next i went upstairs to the home improvement section and looked up some solar power books for my father.
from downtown crossing i returned to chinatown, where i got some pastries and visited a supermarket. i went to the post office behind south station to return my defective memory chip and to mail off manny's belated christmas present (in the middle of the afternoon, the post office was empty). i then took the train back to cambridge. when i got home i went online and ordered some of the books i saw at borders: a solar power book and the updated lonely planet guide to southwest china (not that i'm planning another trip, but i'm curious to see how my own route compared to their recommendations).
in the early evening i started preparing some chicken stock, left it on a slow simmer while i went to go watch the NH primary coverage on tv. i lost my battle with the couch and promptly fell asleep, thinking that by the time i woke up i'd see a obama victory in the granite state. what i didn't expect to see was the race too close to be called. by that point my whole house smelled like chicken soup and i went into the kitchen (where my broth had been simmering for 2+ hours) and made some rice noodle soup. by evening's end, it seemed more and more likely that the race would eventually go to hilary clinton. i make no secret of my dislike for her; she represents the old guard while obama is the choice of a new generation. it seemed inconceivable that she'd win, especially since all the polls for the past few days were saying that barack had a commanding lead.
now it's off to michigan, where the next primary will be in a week. how will michigan go? and can my feeble mind comprehend a world where obama isn't our next president?