one of my favorite part of my china work experience is the walk from my apartment to the shuttle bus. the rest of it, not so much. it's that feeling of a fresh start, i've got on my clean clothes, nicely groomed, walking out the door. people see me and they know i'm going to work, with my id badge hanging from a lanyard around my neck. the weather is nice in he morning too, kind of on the cool side. i see ladies getting their hair done in the beauty salon. street sweepers cleaning the streets with large brooms made from straw bundles. some folks are walking their dogs, others are doing their morning exercises. i also see other people going to work. once we're on the bus, people on the streets stare at us, because it's actually kind of fancy to have a bus take you to work while most other people simply take public transportation.

the only thing i don't like about the morning experience is that awkward moment when ms.yu gets on the bus. i try to make eye contact to say hello, but she totally blows me off every single time. what a mistake that was, i totally regret meeting her. it would've been so much better if we were strangers that met naturally. this is social engineering gone awry.

today i went to work with my new ugly haircut. i worked on it all morning with my can of hair wax, got it to the point where i didn't feel like covering up my head with my bag. nobody seemed to notice that i got a terrible haircut. maybe they're too polite, or maybe they simply don't care, or maybe it's not that terrible. but my hair was my last piece of personal identity, after having to shave off my goatee and wear pants (gasp!) and a shirt (double gasp!) everyday for work.

and wouldn't you know it, as soon as i get an ugly haircut, it's also the day they're taking photos of the new employees for the viewing wall. i was actually in a pretty good mood, somehow finding it humorously ironic. a filipino photographer was shooting about half a dozen newbies with a nikon dSLR. i had a big toothy smile for my first photo, but suddenly i became self-conscious and could only muster a toothless smile for the remaining 2 photos. i hope they use my toothy smile photo.

i went out on another smoke break with the IT guy. he was telling me that cigarette smoking is actually healthy if you only smoke a few a day, but even he admitted that's pretty much impossible to do with his a pack every 2 days habit. he told me a pack of cigarettes can range anywhere from RMB$5 to RMB$100.

i discovered i'm embroiled in a secret war of resources between the korean and chinese parts of the conglomeration. since i work in the claims and changes department, one of my job is to distribute man hours for these additional change orders. the head of the department is a korean manager, and unbeknownst to me, he's been leaning the scale towards the korean side, so that their people get more work and therefore more money. little things like giving me a list of contacts but with mostly korean managers, and none of the chinese ones.

i finally figured out with my secret QQ friend. even after chatting with her online after lunch (she just graduated from college), i still didn't know what she looked like, until the IT guy pointed her out to me. she actually sits very close to ms.pan, so there'll probably be some future awkwardness at some point.

ms.yuwei my dongbei neighbor gave me a bag of salt. i told her the whole reason why i wanted to get salt from her directly is because i only need a small amount, not a big bag, which i won't be able to finish and if i did i'll probably die from a heart attack. she originally thought i wanted baking soda for cleaning.

the last of my receipts arrived today in the mail, one from the online airfare company that i purchased my shanghai-chongqing plane ticket. that combined with my 2 nights stay in the green tree inn (zhangjiang, pudong) and the money i paid to get my health exam certificate, i'm looking to get back about US$280, a good chunk of change. they'll put the money in the new bank account i created on sunday, and i can withdraw that cash from any chongqing ATM free of charge (unlike the bank card i got in shenyang).

during dinner ms.pan sat at the table next to mine. she laughed when she saw i was using a spoon to eat my rice. i noticed she ate every from her plate, while i left a big mess. i covered up my plate with some napkins to avoid further shaming.

originally the housing guy was going to take me out tonight and show me around. he seems to be a real lady's man so it looked like it might be interesting. unfortunately he was stuck in the old town and called me around 8:00, asking if we could postpone our appointment. i think he originally wanted to show me the nearby yangtze river. i'm not sure how that could be done, given the limited hours we have after work.

on the bus, the IT guy told me has a dSLR camera. he was explaining it to me like i didn't know what it was, "it's a camera that you can change the lenses." when i asked him what type of lens, he told me it was a removable lens, not realizing i was actually asking him the focal length, but also revealing that he's kind of new at this (just got it a few months ago). i told him i have a dSLR as well, and i occasionally take some photos with it. he's taking me to chongqing on sunday, maybe i can show him a thing or two.

so after coming home, i went back out again to the big supermarket to get some dry noodles and some spicy flavor packets so i could make my own noodles at home. when i tell people i eat ramen for dinner on sundays, the look they gave me is a combination of pity + disgust. i can do better! but only slightly. what i really want to do on sundays is to eat hot pot, but it's hard to do alone. i'll figure something out. i also have to learn to go to the supermarket immediately after work, otherwise the place gets crazy crowded later in the evening.

i finished the night by doing a load of laundry. i was hoping to be asleep by 10:00 but it looks like it's going to be 11:00 or later again.