today marks the start of week 6 of working here in china. i finally figured out which window is my apartment, after strategically put a blue plastic bag in the window as a marker. even then, it's near impossible to pick it out with the naked eye; i had use the 20x zoom on my digital camera. i roused the curiosity of a few passerbys, who thought maybe i was a surveyor. "where are you from?" one of them asked me. without thinking, i blurted out "america," which probably confused them.

everyone at work is counting off the days until the start of the mid-autumn holiday on thursday. my plan is to leaving immediately for chongqing after work on wednesday, hopefully get there no later than 8pm, with enough time to wander the city a little bit before taking an early bus to chishui the next morning. so far it's still fengya and i, although the door is open for additional prospective travel companions. i'm pretty picky about who i travel with, and at a moment's notice i could easily revert back to solo traveling. my itinerary for wednesday evening is to maybe get some dinner in the city, check out the chongqing skyline at night, and visit an underground drag bar (ruyi juiba anyone?). hanging out in chongqing almost seems more fun and less of a hassle than going to chishui! that's always the backup plan in case our trip to guizhou falls apart.

the concept of homosexuality is so foreign to regular chinese that they don't even see it when it's right before their eyes. i'm not looking to out anyone who doesn't want to be outed (and there are many reasons to stay in the closet here in china), so i'll call our mystery candidate mr.x. i've asked a few close office workers in private if they think x is gay, and not one person even suspects. does he have a girlfriend? no, but not everyone has one. he's meticulous about his appearance, but that doesn't mean anything either, maybe he's just stylish. "oh, i know why you think he's gay," lihui told me, "it's because he's effeminate." it's way more than that. today i got some more evidence. apparently he's also very fastidious about skincare, always applying all sorts of lotions and cream to keep his skin nice and white. "he uses more product than me!" one girl remarked. then while we were on the subject of vacation destinations, she revealed that x went to bangkok on his vacation, and told her it costs RMB$100 to touch a transexual sex worker and get your photo taken. that's my kind of fun! i actually want to hang out with x, but i think it'd freak him out if he knew the reason was because i know his not-very-well-kept secret.

after lunch i took a walk with guo (who came back from his week long vacation) and that stalker girl. it was a hot day, only a few were brave enough to face the element. even fengya chose to stay in the office, surfing the web and obsessing over a pricey shirt she saw in the local chongbai department store. i found a pair of dead dragonflies, they looked like meadowhawks, a red male and a yellow female. are there other amateur entomologists in the office or am i the only one?

document control had their bimonthly team building dinner, so all that was left was loren and myself eating dinner in the office. every department has a chinese half and a korean half, with a respective head for each half. in our case, we don't have a boss for our chinese half. this presents a bit of a problem, because usually the department head is in charge of keeping track of timesheets and vacation days. we basically manage ourselves. we can also have our own bimonthly team building dinner with just the 2 of us; the company will only pay RMB$150 per person, but that still comes out to RMB$300 (US$49), good enough for a pricey dinner. loren said he'd place the paperwork once he came back from his own vacation, which begins tomorrow.

after work i went to the ICBC bank and withdrew RMB$2000 (about US$330), which is the maximum you can withdraw per day. i used my new chongqing account, which is where my salary is kept, and where i have more money. i think i only have about RMB$1300 left in my shenyang bank account. i use that card whenever possible, hoping to use it up so i can just switch to the chongqing bank card.

i then went to the chong bai supermarket. i wanted to score some more chinese ham mooncakes but they were down to their leftover stock. i got some more bath towels. the one i have i just leave in the bathroom, so it's always wet. i noticed a few days ago yellow spots which seem to be growing larger and larger, obviously some kind of mold. that was my cue to get new towels. i also learned to cycle the towels, so at least they get a chance to fully dry before being used again. finally, i bought a case of bottled water.

i was going to relax to a quiet evening of television and duck feet. those duck feet on purchased friday night i removed them from the fridge. they felt a little sticky which was a bad sign, but they didn't smell bad. in hindsight i think the hot spices kind of masked the odor. i managed to partially eat one before instinct kicked in and i threw out the rest. i spent the rest of the evening waiting for my digestive system to revolt. thankfully, nothing happened.

after 9:00 i called MGH back in boston, checking up on the status of the prior authorization on my diovan prescription. they received my medical records from mt.auburn hospital last friday, but unfortunately there was still no documentation as to why i switched off losartan and back onto diovan. it's just the nature of the medical insurance beast, that i need to take losartan for at least a little while, see that it doesn't do anything, and then upgrade to diovan. losartan does work, but not as well as diovan. but something is still better than nothing, and i asked at the very least they prescribe a 90 day supply so i wouldn't have to have my drug shipped to me so often. the nurse agreed and later today my parents should be able to go pick it up at the nearby pharmacy.

i also bought some new detergent, white cat brand, which i think is native to china. i will basically buy anything if you put a picture of an animal on it, i'm kind of easy to manipulate that way. currently i've been a leftover bag of tide powder detergent, but i prefer liquid detergents for washing machines. i did a small load of laundry, basically the clothes i wore today. i have to pick my clothes strategically, so i'll be wearing suitable clothes on wednesday when i leave for chongqing.