"why aren't you getting on the bus?" a girl asked me as she hurriedly climb onboard using her bag to shield herself from changshou's neverending rain. i was busy shaking the water out of my umbrella, which involves collapsing the whole thing and swinging it downwards a few times.
the best seat on any vehicle is the shotgun seat AKA front passenger seat, at least from an american viewpoint. this morning i was back on the medium bus, with an empty front seat beckoning me to go sit in it. the only reason not to would be because in case of a crash (a high probability in anything-goes-roadshow china) i'd be jettisoned out of the bus. that's a pretty big reason, but heck, it's friday, and friday is all about taking unnecessary risks (or is that saturday? i get my risk days confused).
so i jumped out of my seat and clambered to the front. this simple procedure turned out to be more complicated than it should and for some reason i twisted my back. this is an old man problem. i flexed my arms a few times hoping to set my back muscles into their proper alignment but the damage was already done. the driver muttered something, i assumed he wanted me to put on my seatbelt, i fished around for it, but when i saw he wasn't wearing one, i figured i didn't need one either. if you can't not wear seatbelts in china, where can you not wear seltbelts, amiright?
anyway, the view from the front seat was better, but harrowing, as we narrowly missed getting side-swiped a few times and almost hit a few bicyclists (a bicyclist was making a right turn from a left lane without looking). i swore under my breath on a few occasion, english curses, i don't think anyone understood. all this happened to a rocking beyonce soundtrack as our bus driver is apparently a big fan of ms.put-a-ring-on-it. (just as a sidenote: why can't there be karoake on the shuttle bus? it's great for work solidarity and i know all the 80's american songs).
i forgot that today is friday. of course friday has no meaning here, since the weekend doesn't start until after saturday. i can get used to a lot of things but i can't get used to not having a 2-day weekend. i'm going to chongqing this sunday. i heard it's going to be raining (80% change), but i don't mind. rain adds drama. i just feel bad for my shoes. i texted emily from amherst last night, she hasn't responded yet. i'm planning on a day of people watching through the rain, and maybe try to find a jacket. what i really want is a hoodie, not sure if they have those here. a hoodie and then a light outer jacket. my parents are shipping me my HBP medication once it's ready hopefully the end of this week (that's now, right?), but maybe they can ship my jacket as well in the care package. a jacket doesn't weigh all that much. my jacket, my gloves, my hat. something to think about if i can't find what i like in chongqing.
i finally sent that dispute grievance letter to the 2 project managers. they both loved it for its harsh language but thought i should tone it down, which i agree. mr.lee was particularly impressed, said i was the company enforcer with my ability to write scathing dispute letters.
i asked yuwei if she could help me use the ATM to get some cash after work, since i only had about RMB$200 in cash (US$33). she said her friend wangyan could teach me, since she usually takes care of the non-chinese-speaking korean and filipino workers. wangyan came by my desk in the afternoon. "do you know there's an english option on the ATM?" she asked. i was afraid of not being able to decipher the chinese, i never even bothered to check out an actual ATM to see if they were bilingual. while she was there, i impressed with her with my various forms of passports and photo id. i also showed her various denominations of american cash.
after work i went to the 24/7 ICBC ATM kiosk around the corner from my apartment. unlike american kiosk stands, this one actually had a guard, who seemed to be particularly bored and was slouching in his seat. sure enough, there was an english option for the ATM. once i switched to english, everything was just like any ATM back in the states.
i originally deposited RMB$3100 during my last few days in shanghai. now there was RMB$2457 left. so for the past month, i managed to spend RMB$643, which about US$105. that's not including the RMB$1000 in cash i was carrying around. anyway, i ended up withdrawing RMB$1000. there was a service fee of RMB$5 because i was using a non-chongqing bank card, even though they're the same bank. once i get my first paycheck in my chongqing bank card (around the 15th of the month), i can withdraw money with zero fees.
i had a long chat with fengya over QQ audio chat. originally we were just texting, but i can only read english and her english typing is slow, so she suggested voice chatting. it's different than just simply talking over the phone because you can someone a message and they can reply whenever they want. it's similar to wechat, which is just QQ chat but with a different exterior and geared more towards cellphones than computers.