i went over to my parents' place this morning where i had some leftover barbecue for breakfast (2 chicken and sausage sandwiches).

i went to check on the rat, which was now completely dead, its body in a state of rigor mortis, green bottleflies hanging around its rear end. i buried it behind the evergreens along the southern fence, a place no one ever goes. i did think about just throwing it away, but we have a big backyard, and maybe a buried decomposed rat can add some nutrients to the soil. how it died is still a mystery. was it poisoned? perhaps injured? but i never saw any blood. when it was still partially alive, flies were already congregating near its lower body.

the backyard eggplants seem to be doing well, on this inaugural season of eggplant growing. i've always thought eggplants as short plants, but the ones we have are growing tall (2-3ft) and thin. they seem healthy though, because the leaves are big and green. they don't seem to be indeterminate like some tomatoes - once they get a particular size and shape they don't make anymore leaves and branches and just focus on eggplant production. fruits are developing on some of them, currently the size of small grapes with characteristic purple skin. young eggplants have a prickly protective husk and the thorns are stiff enough to do some real damage if you're not careful (i found out the hard way by getting stabbed in a finger).

after my father came home from fixing lunch for my grand uncle, i went with my parents to the wrentham village factory outlet mall. there's actually a cracker barrel restaurant there (the only one in new england?) but since we still had a lot of leftover barbecue, we decided not to eat there this time.

has it been a decade since the last time i was at wrentham village? i barely remember it, just knew it took an hour to drive there and that it was outdoors. i remember a bookstore and a hardware store, not much else. it is the place my mother goes when she needs to score name-brand merchandise on the cheap - usually presents for relatives before an overseas trip. in fact, when overseas relatives come visit, they always make a pilgrimage to wrentham village before leaving. the dynamic of the place has really changed since my last visit. the first thing i noticed was how many chinese people were there. in fact, the PA system was broadcasting a welcome message in chinese (later i heard german and cantonese as well, so it wasn't exclusively mandarin). i saw a chinese advertisement for visa credit card. and even though i didn't see this myself, my father told me that the menus in the restaurant have chinese translations.

i remember when the predominant rich overseas consumers of name-brand items were japanese. i'd go to some upscale mall and would be surprised to see japanese translations on signs. you can still see remnants of that in places. i remember when i went to the detroit airport (2013) - which was designed as a transportation hub to asia - many signs had japanese translations even though most of the asians there were chinese. likewise the case at wrentham village: the free fold-out map has japanese translations but not chinese. i'm sure this will all change eventually. the mainland chinese - whether you like it or not - are taking over, and businesses are catering their services in order to earn their money.

my parents noticed it wasn't as crowded compared to the last time they came, which was right around memorial day. the nice summer weather combined with the 4th of july weekend probably meant some people were out enjoying the beaches instead of shopping. when my parents were in taiwan during the spring, my father's friends were selling him on comfort of skechers shoes. so the last time they came to wrentham village my father bought 2 pairs of light ventilated walking shoes. however, my grand uncle wasn't happy with the shoes he was wearing so my father traded his skechers for my grand uncle's shoes. today he wanted to get a replacement pair. unfortunately they didn't have the size he wanted. so he got something similar with the hopes of trading back his old pair with these new pair. they had a buy-one-get-2nd-off-1/2-off (BOG2OHO?) sale so my mother picked up a pair for herself. when they run up the purchase, they actually gave the more expensive pair half off.