i was meeting james in back bay for lunch today at 11:30 and i decided i'd bicycle into the city. i can't remember ever biking into boston before. in all the years i worked there i had a monthly subway pass so i was just used to taking public transportation to get into the city. and when i wasn't taking the train or riding the bus, i discovered the motorcycle was my next best option. but with my newfound love of bicycling - as an alternative to motorcycling and a good source of exercise - taking the bike into boston would be a big step for me. when john was here visiting back in june with his bicycle, he remarked how easy it was to get into the city from my house. with beacon-hampshire street right near where i live, it's essentially a straight shot into boston. before i left i installed my newly-acquired bicycle bell and my gps mount.

the weather was a little cold - in the 50's - and i wore gloves to keep my hands warm. the good thing about bicycling is it heats you up, and before long i'd already taken off my gloves with my teeth and opened up my hooded sweatshirt for more ventilation.

all was going well until i hit a woman in inman square. she was waiting on the curb, looking in one direction. i wasn't expecting her to cross just yet but she suddenly stepped off the curb right when i was about to pass her. we collided, not hard enough for either of us to fall to the ground, but i probably bruised her leg. for some reason she was apologizing profusely. in hindsight i should've rang my bell (especially since i just installed it) to warn her, but i wasn't expecting her to cross the street without looking either. after she assured me she was okay, i continued riding. so now i can check off "hit pedestrian with my bicycle" from my life list.

from my former kazakh roommate (who biked into boston a few times while he lived here) i knew the longfellow bridge was a real challenge. it was a struggle to get uphill, but once i go to the midway point, it was downhill again. i went down charles street to commonwealth avenue, and arrived in the copley square area via clarendon street. it felt great just being able to find a street sign and park anywhere. i was thirsty from the ride but i brought a water bottle this time and took a drink while locking up the bike. i had some stowaways in my milk crate, a pile of sweet gum leaves that i brought with me from cambridge that i added to the leaves in boston. from my gps i knew the fastest i was driving was 13 mph, but normally i bike less than that. the total distance traveled was 3.78 miles with a moving time of 21:40.

i had about an hour to kill before lunch so i did some browsing at the nearby border bookstore. i spent most of my time in the cooking aisle (checking out korean cookbooks and the culinaria series), before moving to nature. i met up with james at 11:30 and we went to daisy buchanan's on newbury street. the place served bar food but james was quick to let me know they won some local award for best burger. i was expecting it to be more crowded but the place was pretty empty (i guess it doesn't look so good when you're hanging out at a bar during your lunch break). the cheerful bartender was also our waiter. the big news i wanted to ask james was whether or not jaime was pregnant (yes). i read a facebook message from her where she was trying to pick out baby names. we also talked about sports, hackintosh, and clients from hell.

after lunch i made my way to chinatown to get some groceries. i went down stuart street to get to kneeland. along the way i stopped by 330 stuart to take some photos of the entrance of the building with intricate stone and iron statues. i could sense it wasn't going to end well when a young security guard came out and told me i couldn't take photos. he was pretty good humored about the situation, said that a lot of tourists come and try to get photos, but because it's a corporate office, they don't allow photography of the premises. his excuse didn't really make sense, but i wasn't in the mood to start an argument. i could've just as easily taken out my telephoto lens and gotten a few photos from across the street, but i figured it wasn't worth the effort, and continued on my way to chinatown.

i parked by a sign post on lincoln street and headed into c-mart. i didn't get anything for myself, just some almond drinks for my mother and a large daikon radish. i was behind a group of emerson students out exploring the nearby ethnic market. "no bag?" the cashier asked surprisingly, as i took my groceries and dumped them into the back of my bicycle. as i was making my way on kneeland street, i heard marching band music and took a detour up tremont to boylston (down a one way street i might add), where a veterans day parade was happening. i got there just in time to see the republic of china veterans association of boston procession waving the kuomingtang flag of nationalist china (think taiwan and chiang kai-shek, not mao and communist china). some of the chinese-american veterans were looking at me; i don't think any of them could i guess i'm a byproduct of their wartime efforts.

the parade wasn't very long and by the time it ended (and before the police had a chance to allow car traffic back onto the streets) i went down boylston street and cut across the public garden to get to the overpass by the northwestern corner that would take me across to the banks of the charles river along storrow drive. even though this way was longer than the way i came before, there was also no car traffic so it was a much safer ride. i made my way to harvard square to the mt.auburn hospital and finally arriving at my parents' cafe. total distance 5.99 miles, 36:23 moving time. i got some more glass noodle before leaving. the ride home was an additional 1.3 miles taking 7:29 minutes (which comes out to almost 11 mph).

i finally got a chance to try that grisi seaweed soap. it does have an exfoliating quality but thankfully doesn't smell like seaweed. the fragrance reminds me of times spent in taiwan at my cousins' house, using their unique smelling chinese soaps. other than that, it feels like regular soap.

now that the world series is over, my stories have returned. wheelchair-bound artie abrams had a big part in tonight's glee. sue sylvester includes a girl with down syndrome on her beloved cheerleading squad, making glee club director will schuester awfully suspicious about her motives, until the audience learns that sue herself has a sister with down syndrome. but what's missing from tonight's episode? no will-emma story line! looks like next week rachel develops a student crush for mr. schuester.