another boring day at work, made worse by the fact that i went to bed last night at 1:00 and woke up at 6:00 so i was fighting the urge to sleep for 10 hours. the hours are long, the food is terrible, and i have nothing to do. plus i've been drinking so much tea trying to stay awake that i end up running to the bathroom nearly every hour.

i thought i saw a young korean coworker waiting for the bus this morning at 7:00 so i greeted him in english. turns out he's chinese. instead of riding the big bus, he told me we could hop onboard one of the smaller buses, which also takes us to the factory. these minibuses were bringing home night shift factory workers. this guy was a contract safety engineer. he told me these hours are way too long and after his contract expires he's leaving. he said contract workers (like us) don't get paid overtime. he had that weary bitterness of someone who's just about had enough. i asked him what he does on his days off. "play mahjong and basketball," he told me.

i may think twice about riding in one of those minibuses next time because our driver was crazy. half of the time he was driving on the other side of the road against traffic, honking at the other cars to get out of his way. we made it to the factory before everyone else, but i nearly peed my pants because i was so afraid for my life. tomorrow: big bus!

loren gave me a recent change alert notice and a change proposal to look at. much of it was pretty technical, but i could still follow it from my engineering background. i spent the day pouring over those pages that i practically had them memorized. it was only later when we were about to leave that loren told me my job was to turn the charge alert notice into a change proposal. why didn't he say so sooner! i could've had that done. but better to save something to do tomorrow, so i'm not bored out of my mind again.

i stayed away from the noodles for lunch, but it was wontons, and wontons don't count, but i was already in the rice line, so i went with rice. i got separated from my group and i ended up sitting by myself, surrounded by these office ladies who couldn't help but notice that i don't know how to hold my chopsticks. i had more rice for dinner, the side dishes only made more memorable by adding some hot sauce.

after work i met up with li the IT guy. since he smokes, i gave him 2 packs of that liaoning cigarettes my cousin gave me. turns out they're yunnan cigarettes. i also gave 2 packs to the housing guy (who also smokes), but he wasn't there so i left him a note saying if he fixed my internet he could have these smokes.

the IT guy said he'd show me around, not that there was much to show. i got a little gay vibe from him, so naturally i invited him upstairs to see my apartment on chinese valentine day no less. when i saw him playing with the button of his shirt, i was ready to shout "no!" and roll to the ground (oh wait, that's fire safety). turns out he was just hot. i really wanted him up here so he could maybe look at my internet modem and see if he could fix it. the problem seems to be on the switchboard end.

we got to talking about salaries and i actually discovered he makes half as much as i do, even though he's the only chinese IT guy in the company (the korean division have their own IT guys). he said the reason was because his english isn't very good. every night he listens to english language tapes to improve his vocabulary. that why he seems so keen to be my friend, so he could practice his english with someone who can also speak chinese for those times where he can't find the right english word.

he told me that the price for housing here in the chongqing area is RMB$10,000/square meter. i did that math, and that comes out to be around US$150/square feet. that's not that expensive! my place in cambridge is around US$380/square feet. but here's the thing: there's a new law that says any house purchased must be placed back on the market after 70 years. not sure why there's this rule, i'll have to ask around to verify if this is true or not. so even if you buy a house, you can't keep it forever.

we finally went out, went to the large supermarket, which was the most crowded i'd ever seen it. this makes it the 5th consecutive day that i've visited that supermarket. it really is a place that i go every day!

afterwards i went home and called the internet company. once again i got nowhere. will it really be a week before i can get internet access in my place? i did however figure out the username and password for the router (telecomadmin/admintelecom), after looking up the model (huawei HG8245A) online while i was at work.

anyway, it's already 10:30, i'm trying to go to bed before 11:00 if i want a good night's sleep and not be sleepy again tomorrow morning.