before i had a chance to settle into my usual friday routine, i quickly got dressed and went out for my trip into boston. the temperature was hovering around the 40's, cold enough for gloves and a hat, but i tried to make sure i wasn't too warm since i'd probably be sweating.

first stop was haymarket where there was a sizable amount of customers despite a few missing stalls (either not yet set up or gone for the holidays). i was surprised to see a lot of grapes on sale, as well as several variety of berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries), and even cherries ($3/lbs).

my haul: garlic ($1), ginger ($2), cilantro (3 bunches for $1), scallions (5 bunches for $2), bag of potatoes ($1), and a bag of grapes ($3).

next was chinatown, where all i really needed was some chinese chives. since it was my mother's birthday today, i briefly thought about getting a cake, but by the time i got it back riding the bike on the bumpy road the cake would be destroyed, so i decided against it. i did get some pastries for myself (sponge cakes) from one of the bakeries. instead of the supermarket off of lincoln street, i went to one in the center of chinatown to get my chives. a streetside fruit vendor was selling some guavas at $4/lbs. i wanted to get one for my mother and asked him how much for one. he weighed it on his scale but it was turned towards him so i couldn't see the actual number. he told me $3, i hesitated, he added another guava and quoted $6. "too much, i'm not interested," i said as i started to walk away. "wait wait! $5!" i thought about it and decided to get them, even though the man was grumbling under his breath about how i was robbing him. i got the feeling it was the other way around.

i decided to come back via the charles river in case there was some early winter photo opportunities. from the shore i saw a bunch of mallard ducks swimming in the canal. as i stopped my bike to change into a telephoto lens, all the ducks started swimming towards me thinking i might feed them. it wasn't only ducks; suddenly i found myself surrounded by a circle of begging squirrels. i ignored them and once they realized they weren't going to get a handout they all dispersed. what i wanted to photograph was an unusual pale female mallard swimming with the other normal ducks.

i cut through putnam avenue to get back home. after i unloaded my loot, i grab my mother's presents (korean wine, guavas) and took the motorcycle to the cafe (i had enough of bicycling for one day). coming back, i went to star market to pick up some salt. a container of crystal super fine salt is just 75¢, which surprised me by how inexpensive it is. in ancient times salt was more valuable than gold and now we can buy it for mere cents! i also stopped by zoe's (neighborhood chinese restaurant) to make a dinner reservation at 8:30 for 7 people.

since dinner would cut right into my kimchee making operation, i decided to postpone the brining until tomorrow morning when i have more time.

my father came to pick me up sometime after 7:00. my 2nd aunt and uncle were finally returning from their month-long taiwanese vacation and we went to go pick them up from the airport. i went as a navigator, since neither my father or myself have been to the recently moved cell phone parking lot. we were kind of nervous since we had no idea where it was, but we ended up following the signs. once we got a call from my aunt telling us she was already outside, we headed to terminal C to pick them up. my father drove the camry and we barely managed to fit all the suitcases (2 large, 2 small) into the trunk (it would've been easier with the roomier honda element).

instead of taking my aunt and uncle home, we headed directly to the chinese restaurant. we got there exactly at 8:30, the same time my sister got there as well, bringing with her her visiting friend nancy and my mother. there was some disagreement on my part initially because i felt it was wrong for my sister's friend to be eating dinner with us since she wasn't a family member. but it wasn't like my sister could just leave her friend at home so my mother convinced me otherwise.

after dinner, i simply walked home since i live right around the corner.