on my one day of rest, there's no reason why i can't sleep a little late is there? i woke up around 8:00, relaxed a bit at home, made myself some babao tea and a hard-boiled egg for breakfast. i left the house sometime after 9:00 and managed to catch a 9:30 bus leaving for chongqing. this would be a day of errands, my final weekend before i leave for western sichuan. i had a list of things to get, including thermal underwear and a winter jacket.
first stop was the chongqing bookstore in jiefangbei. i got there sometime after 11:00 and spent more than an hour there. i was looking for a good chinese-english dictionary. i ended up getting the FLTRP-collins english-chinese chinese-english dictionary (RMB$43.90). i wasn't looking for an english-chinese dictionary, but it's helpful if i'm looking for a chinese word that i only know in english. this dictionary is also good in that index of characters are organized by radical and stroke numbers. some other dictionaries were organized by pinyin, which is entirely useless for my purpose. this dictionary also has pinyin for the phrases while others didn't. the only thing lacking is traditional character display, since here in mainland china they use simplified characters. i only saw one dictionary that also had traditional characters, but it was a thick volume.
i browsed the rest of the language section. there were aisles and aisles of english learning books. it felt strange to be surrounded by all these people trying to learn something i take for granted. english was the predominant foreign language; there were a few books for other languages but not a lot.
i then went downstairs to browse the travel books again. i bought 3 different chongqing guide books (RMB$110 total) i want to send to my parents, in case they ever decide to visit chongqing.
from jiefangbei i walked to carrefour. here i was getting some more hair wax (RMB$20.70) and looking to see what they had for thermal underwears. i ended up getting a package of matching hanes thermal underwear in grey for RMB$50. the material is cotton and they're a little thin, but better than nothing. i also bought a small tube of toothpaste. here in china they don't carry travel-sized toiletries, so the smallest toothpaste tube i could find was in the children's department. i guess kids can't handle mint so children toothpaste come in strange flavors like orange or berry. in my case it's cola flavor. it may actually be better than my regular toothpaste! they also don't seem to carry any dental floss. i guess chinese don't believe in flossing.
from carrefour i went in the direction of the wholesale warehouse markets. i wasn't too sure where i was going, but i've wandered these streets here and there, and today was one of those eureka moments where i realized how they're all connected together. i found the place i checked out some pants and shirts last time. pants i'm still looking, but i returned to the shirts place to buy that dress shirt i saw last time. it doesn't have a pocket, but the fabric has some stretch and the tailoring has a little taper on the waist. i ended up paying RMB$78. i then walked around some more and came across a store selling coats. originally i was going to visit one of the xtep sporting clothes store (one near chongqing grand plaza, close to the conference hall) to buy a jacket i saw back in luzhou for RMB$369 (US$60), but if they had some good-looking jackets here, i could get it here instead. all the coats seemed to fit me which is very rare back in the states. there was an adidas-brand (a knockoff naturally) winter coat that fit me perfectly. it was black but with an ugly zigzag of primary colors across the front. inside was very comfortable, lined with some sort of felt/fleece. the price was right too: RMB$220 (US$36). i was all set to buy it when i saw some other coats - trenchcoats, sports jacket, etc. i tried a few and really liked this one suit jacket. the fabric was thicker, almost like a denim, but it fit really nice. the sleeves were half an inch too long though so i wasn't sure, but the store owner convinced me to get it for RMB$160 (US$26). she also asked if i needed dress shirts, and showed me a simple dress shirt for only RMB$50. i bought one of those as well.
overburdened with bags of clothes, i started to head home since it was too much of a hassle to take photos. besides, it was starting to get late (3:30) anyway. originally i was going to go visit the north train station just to see how to get there, but i didn't think i had enough time so i moved on to my next plan, which was to have some yangro paomo for a late lunch. i found the restaurant okay, but turns out it's actually a hotel restaurant, which meant the food wouldn't be that good and pricey too. the restaurant specialized in xi'an food. unfortunately the chef wouldn't arrive until 5:00, so they didn't have any paomo. i was so hungry by that point i just stayed and had a randomly selected bowl of noodles for RMB$16 and a can of wang-lao-ji for RMB$10. while waiting for my food i asked the girl behind the front desk how much for a one night stay. she told me RMB$268 for a room with no windows, RMB$348 for a window room.
after i finished eating, i just walked back to hongqihuogo station (buying some chestnuts along the way) since it was just one stop away. i bought a ticket and returned to changshou, taking one of the two remaining seats on the bus.
after a shower, i went back out again looking for dinner. i was hoping somebody would call me to invite me out to eat, but nobody did. the only person who contacted me was yuwei, and only to ask me to help her translate an article she was writing for the company bimonthly newsletter. i was looking for anything lamb-related. the lamb hot pot place near my apartment looked too busy and i couldn't eat hot pot by myself. i was resigned to visit the KFC-knockoff restaurant and buy a chicken sandwich for dinner, but then i saw a sign for "guizhou lamb rice noodles" which saved me. i found a seat next to a coworker from the contract department who was also eating there. he told me he spent the day at his driver's education class. i ordered the lamb rice noodles (RMB$12), which isn't really the rice noodles i know, more like just fat thin noodles. it had a really great flavor though, a little tanginess with some spiciness. this could possibly be my new favorite place to eat now.
afterwards i went the chongbai supermarket (bumped into mr.lee, whom i'd never seen before out of business clothes) to get a few things: tangyuan, jiuniang, ginger-flavored brown sugar, and some eggs. i may wake up early tomorrow to fix myself a special bowl of jiuniang with tanguan and egg.