i went to bed at 3:30, woke up well past 10:30, probably the latest i've gone to bed and woken up in a long time. this despite the fact that my upstairs neighbor was doing construction work at 8:00 in the morning, what sounded like jackhammering followed by pipe clanging. i was able to sleep through all the noises, i was just too tired to care.

it took me just a few minutes to get ready though, i didn't feel like showering and my digestive system seemed to be off duty this morning. i was out the door around 11:30, heading to old changshou to buy some salty flat bread. when i arrived the baker told me they were just baking a batch and it'd be ready after 12:00. so i wandered old changshou center a little bit, checking out the mall, discovering a taiwanese dessert cafe.

after buying the bread, i bought some baby bokchoi (RMB$0.50 for 3 clumps) and some banana (RMB$6), before catching the 104 bus back into new changshou. the 104 only takes me to the other side of the mall, so i still had to cut through the mall to get back home.

i tested out my solar-powered prayer wheels. i was afraid they might be broken, because the one i was testing didn't seem to do anything. but once i relocated to a spot in the kitchen that had more light (even filtered sunlight on an overcast day was fine), it immediately began spinning. i took out the 2 other prayer wheels as well, and they all worked.

in the late afternoon a bit before 5:00, i walked down to the string of outdoor plant stores i've seen on our bus ride to work occasionally. i've always meant to visit but normally i'm not in changshou on sundays. today was the perfect chance, and i could get a plant for myself and one for fy as a housewarming present for her recent move. all the owners there were really nice, and i had a long chat with a couple at the very end. they were selling miniature orange trees, and osmanthus bushes, and common gardenia (黄果兰 or cape jasmine). i ended up getting a club moss plant for myself (RMB$10), and a flowering cyclamen for fy (RMB$15).

i've decided to go into work tomorrow with my vacation beard, at least for one day. right now it has a downy softness i enjoy touching, like petting a dog that is my face. i've also decided to go in an hour early (7:00), just because i want to avoid all the chitchat (or lack thereof) about my vacation. this will also allow me to secretly bring the potted flower plant for fy without being detected. unfortunately that means i need to wake up an hour earlier than usual (5:30), to catch the 6:30 shuttle which i've never done before so i don't even know what it looks like or where it stops, but i'll just wing it.

when i talk with people here, there are 3 things about me not typical for a normal chinese person: 1) that i was born in taiwan, 2) that i'm an american citizen, and 3) that i'm 39 years old but still not married with children. when presented with these 3 facts, it's interesting to see how people respond. sometimes people fixate on one particular aspect, maybe asking me a bunch of taiwanese questions, or curious about life in the US, or how i'm still single. how they respond reveals just as much about themselves as when they're asking me these questions. only a good listener will ask me questions about all 3 unusual personal aspects.

i spent the rest of the day first watching the heat then sorting through my western sichuan photos to pick up the best 1000 and load them onto my tablet pc for show-and-tell possibilities. i didn't eat dinner until well after 9:00, some ramen mixed with my baby bokchoi.