i've been using (no.2) the office bathroom more often these days. it's great because there are actually toilets and the stalls are clean because the custodial staff comes around a few times a day. however this is not a development i'm very happy with. why? because over the years, i've trained my body for traveling, so that i go no.2 only in the morning when i wake up, and then don't have to go the rest of the day. if i'm doing my business at odd hours throughout the day, this will make for difficult traveling. i didn't used to think about bathroom usage this way, i just basically when i had to. then my japanese-brazilian college suite mate surprised me one day by revealing the fact that he only goes no.2 in the mornings. i laughed at the idea at first, but it made a simple sense.
after the successive holiday weeks, i don't even remember what week i've been here in china. i believe this is week 9, next week will be the start of week 10. i will be on my personal vacation during week 11, off to western sichuan. this is culmination of my 2 months worth of work, the chance to take a week off and go traveling. somehow i'm not as excited as i should be. it feels more of an obligation, since i was originally going to go at the beginning of october before i realized traveling anywhere during the national holiday week was going to be a nightmare and decided to postpone the trip to week 11.
i am planning on going to 2 places: danba and ganzi. danba at 1893m (6211 ft) is still considered a high altitude staging area, but the place i really want to see is ganzi at 3581m (11748ft) which is considered very high altitude. still, none of those places compare to litang at 4014m (13,000ft), but i've there before and want to see someplace new (i've also been to kangding 2560m (8400ft)). besides the high altitude, temperature is also a problem. here in changshou the temperature still feels summery, with only the occasional touch of autumn in the early morning or late at night. but out there in kham country, the daytime high is only in the low 60's while night time temperatures drop to 40 or below.
after lunch, i got fengya to search up a few sporting goods store in the chongqing metro area. i looked up the address of a yangro paomo restaurant and called to see when they'd be open tomorrow (11am, i'll try going there for a late lunch after i finish all my other errands).
instead of eating the office dinner on a saturday night. invited loren out for some lamb. i asked fengya if she wanted to come, but a friend of hers ("we're actually not that close," she told me) was moving back to shanghai to get married and they were all going out for dinner. this was a fairly large group, and included all my travel companions. i don't know the girl so it wouldn't make sense if i was invited as well, but i did feel a bit left out. at one point a whole bunch of them got off the first bus so they could all sit together in the next one. while we were still in the office, loren pointed with his head at fengya's back and gave me a look like, "did you ask her?" i told him she had other plans.
the lamb place i had in mind i'd seen on a map of changshou the first few days after i arrived. it had an intriguing english name, dingwei dingguo mutton. how could refuse a place like that? everyone got off at my bus stop, which has streets lined with restaurants. only loren and i remained, as well as xiangmin, my QQ friend. for a second i thought about inviting her, but i hesitated for 2 reasons: 1) i recently discovered she has a boyfriend, and 2) i had a feeling loren wanted to gripe about work and he wouldn't be able to talk freely if she was there. so i ended up not inviting her. when we got off at the next stop, loren was all, "why didn't you invite that pretty girl?" i told him my reasons.
we were afraid the restaurant was gone after walking for a bit and not seeing it where it should be. but it was basically the last restaurant on that street, with nothing beyond that point but apartments. once again, the place was empty. people just don't eat lamb when it's hot. as for the place being empty, that wasn't entirely true, one of the private rooms did contain some raucous customers. the place served lamb hot pot. i was hoping it was clear broth but it was spicy (although not typical sichuan spicy numb style). we got a small pot, which was enough for the both of us.
sometimes they offer some pretty weird dipping sauces for hot pots, anything from dried hot pepper powder to sesame oil. this hot pot had a dipping sauce more to my taste, chopped cilantro with a cube of fermented tofu mixed together with some spicy hot pot broth. the lamb was okay, but i could've gone for more. i probably could've also ate a small bowl just by myself (maybe next time!).
as i suspected, loren wanted to gripe about work. i didn't mind, he had an animated way of expressing his displeasure that i found entertaining. what i found surprising was back in the early days when he first started working on the project (he arrived 3 months before i did), he and our boss and yuwei and wangyan would frequently go out to dinner. i would've never guessed that. but he had a falling out with him and that ended things.
we parted ways after dinner (my treat, RMB$156) and i moseyed home, stopped at the local ICBC bank to get some cash for tomorrow. a big day of shopping ahead! i will probably die of exhaustion, but i'll worry about that when it happens. i saw fengya online and wondered what she was doing. was she still having dinner? or maybe taking a walk with mr.guo? if it's the latter case, he said he would casually ask her what she thought of me. i kind of already know the answer, but i just want confirmation.
i keep on seeing that other girl more and more, the one in warehouse that i think is super pretty. i still know nothing about her, other than the department she works in and that she lives somewhere in the area (since we get the bus from the same stop, just not the same bus). she stood behind me in line while we were waiting for lunch today. i smiled politely but said nothing ("um, you like to eat lunch too, huh?" was probably what i would've said, which would've ended in disaster). then we saw each other on the bus leaving work when she was waiting for the aisle to clear so she could grab a seat. i noticed a glob of red clay dirt on her tailored pin-striped shirt. once again, i said nothing ("nice stain!" was on the tip of my mouth, fortunately i kept my mouth shut). i may ride the medium bus all next week just to get a chance to talk to her. with this fengya business probably heading for a dead end, i'm pursuing other avenues of interests.