originally i was supposed to have lunch with james in copley square today, but his train ran late and he ended up working from home. i still had to go into boston to do some food shopping. i cashed all of my checks first before taking the subway into the city. i sat close to an elderly chinese couple who seemed awfully familiar. could they be my (third) great uncle and aunt whom i haven't seen in almost a decade? i wasn't sure and the odds of bumping into them on the T was just too great that i figured it probably wasn't them. but when we all got off at downtown crossing, my curiosity got the best of me and i went up to them and asked, "you wouldn't be yangs, would you?" "yes, we're yangs," they both answered. "it's me, tony yang!" i told them. if i didn't say anything they would've never recognized me. they asked how i was doing, whether i was married, what i was doing for work, and asked about my family. "you used to look good when you were younger," my great uncle told me, probably in reference to my current unkept hair and lengthy goatee. my great aunt, more diplomatic, quickly added, "but you still look good now." i wished them a happy chinese new year as we parted ways.

i rode the orange line one stop to state station before getting out and walking to haymarket. i first went to the halal butcher shop to buy some mutton. a woman was ahead of me in line buying something like $100+ worth of meat. the butcher was cutting everything up for her, using the saw as well as the knife. she gave me a look which i couldn't tell whether or not it was apologetic or contemptuous. i caught a piece of their arabic conversation, i think she telling the butcher how many children she has (i heard the arabic words "boy" and "girl", thank you rosetta stone training!). besides fresh cut meat, they also sell some middle eastern grocery items, as well a deli that offers fresh shawarma. a man buying a sandwich asked the glum deli worker what was wrong and he replied the situation in palestine, while arabic al-jazeera played on a wall-mounted flatscreen tv. i waited more than 15 minutes before deciding to check out the rest of the market before coming back.

i ended up buying: 10 cloves of garlic for $2, 2lbs. of cherry for $4, 2lbs. of grape for $4, a package of cardamon seeds for $2, and 4 boxes of strawberries for $4. 20 minutes later i returned to the butcher shop but that woman was still there, this time getting some meat grounded. i waited a few more minutes before leaving, figuring i'd take my business elsewhere. i went to a different butcher shop and asked for mutton. "$5/lbs," the man told me. "isn't that the same price as the lamb?" i asked, pointing to the cuts of lamb behind the glass counter. realizing i was on to him, he said, "we don't have mutton, just lamb." i then went to a third butcher shop. they had some precut meat already packaged up and there was a great deal on goat, $5 for 2 lbs. i ended up buying 4 lbs. of goat meat instead. i'm not sure if i ever had goat before. goat and sheep are similar, with goat meat tasting like lamb.

with my haymarket shopping finished, i made my way to chinatown to pick up a few more grocery items. i walked down the greenway, which seems very convenient, but is actually the longer way to get to chinatown from the faneuil hall area, about a mile distance. i went to the china supermarket to get some supplies. paying at the cash only line, i realized i didn't have enough money. the girl was kind enough to let me use my credit card anyway.

with my backpack already stuffed with haymarket purchases and carrying three bags of chinatown groceries in my hands, i made one last stop to the taiwan cafe to order some smelly tofu to go. it wasn't very busy by that time (mid-afternoon) so it only took 10 minutes of waiting. i then go on the subway from south station, where there was another 20 minute wait before the train arrived. adding insult to injuries, the train decided to run express to alewife at harvard square so almost everyone had to get off and wait for the next train.

by the time i made it home - back and arms broken from carrying all that weight and a few blistered on my feet - my smelly tofu was already cold. i didn't mind though, it was a well-deserved reward after spending a few hours food shopping in the city.

for dinner i cooked up some more peking raviolis and then ate a whole box of strawberries for dessert.