the main piece of business today was to meet up with wuweiyu and lihui for dinner, and to finally see WWY's house. in the meantime i had to somehow keep myself busy until then. i've become lazier in my china stay. i rather just stay in the hotel all day instead of going out. like yesterday, i went out to pick up some food i could bring back. i bought 4 slightly-burnt custard (RMB4) that nobody else seemed to want. the owners seemed overjoyed that i prefer the burnt custards while most people choose the light ones. the dongbei bread baker wasn't there for some reason so i tried an egg wrap (RMB5) from the new food kiosk that opened up next to the custard stand. not bad for the price, but i still prefer my dongbei bread.
i finally left the hotel around 1:30pm, destination unknown. i just knew i had to go outside for a little bit, at least give the housekeepers time to clean my room, if nothing else. only when i was actually on the subway heading south did i decide i would go to nanping first. nanping is an easy stop, just 6 stations away from guanyinqiao and doesn't require any transfers. i went there to try and score a fox doll for sunmeng and to get some confections along the way. RMB10 and 12 tries later i came away with nothing again. i didn't press my luck this time, went home with a consolatory bag of chinese ganlan (RMB14).
heading back, i got off at niujiaotuo station because of these purple flowering trees i could see from the tracks. i got a closer look, but can't identify them, not a tree i've ever seen before, but pretty nevertheless. i decided to walk back to 中山四路, to see some of the sites i missed yesterday because they were closed. i went to investigate the large bronze mural along jialingqiao road. turns out it's part of a museum complex so i decided to visit.
turns out it's a museum documenting the history of the various other chinese parties. smaller political parties exist in china, but they're mainly for show since they exist solely based on the discretion of the chinese communist party. but it allows china to call itself a multi-party political system, when it practice that's not true. the museum had 4 floors, dense with paper documents and photographs, dotted with large bronze statues of famous party organizers, but not much else. nearly all the descriptions were in chinese, just a few larger displays in english, it definitely wasn't a place geared for foreigners. from the 2nd floor you could walk out to an outdoor courtyard area where they rebuilt some famous revolutionary dwellings. there was almost nobody there, and despite the signs that said no photography, i took them anyway. at certain points large groups of what seemed to be dignitaries gathered on the first floor. i imagine they're communist party cadres, here in town for meetings, with a scheduled visit of this important museum, although most of them were probably as bored as i am because none of the groups went above the first floor. they also had a tour guide, as well as a photographer that shadowed them and took their photos while they visited.
besides the large bronze busts which are kind of sinister in a james bond villain type of way, the most interesting thing i saw at the museum was a wax depiction of sihcuan-native deng xiaoping eating hot pot and drinking maotai with some fellow communists. it freaked me out initially because i thought they were real at first.
afterwards i went up 中山四路 to visit 桂圆. this was another historical significant place but i had no clue what it was since none of the signs were in english. it was just another old house, made me feel like i was condo hunting, inspecting all the various rooms. upstairs on the balcony, a girl all dressed up was taking professional selfies of herself with a dSLR mounted on a tripod. she ignored me as i walked by, and continued to do so when i passed by again, too busy with her posing. it was all an illusion anyway, as i saw her put on her glasses afterwards to inspect the photos. i wanted to say something but decided not to.
further up the street was an art museum that was closed when i visited yesterday. it was 4 story gallery of mainly woodcuts by what seemed to be a famous chinese illustrator. the place was really nice, with clean bathrooms. it must've been new or recently renovated because the smell of paint was very strong, almost made me a little dizzy, but added to the gallery ambience.
after that i returned to niujiaotuo station and rode the subway 2 stops back to guanyinqiao. it was already 5pm, and i was scheduled to meet everyone at baguocheng at 7:30pm. i wanted to get there early so i could scope out some potential restaurant choices. i took a quick shower, changed out of my sweaty clothes, and headed back out again. i was carrying a bag of cake mix for wuweiyu, along with a jar of pasta sauce and a box of spaghetti. the pasta ingredients were originally for sunmeng, but she doesn't particularly like it, so i figured WWY would appreciate it more. with that the last of my china gifts will have all been distributed finally.
i was a little worried braving rush hour traffic carrying some much stuff, but it wasn't too bad, i think i was still in the midst of early rush hour, before the post 5:30pm crush of people. i got off at the zoo station just as WWY recommended and caught the 478 bus to 巴国城号门. i got there around 6:30pm. 巴国城号门 turned out to be the street that i came on when i first visited this place a while back. the area had changed, now with more businesses, and highrise apartments when there weren't any from before. since i was there an hour early ahead of schedule, i walked around, trying to find a good place to eat. restaurants were sparse, and of the few that were there, they seemed to cater to a more high-class clientele, the sort that drove there instead of taking the bus. i wandered back to the bus stop in anticipation of wuweiyu's arrival. i was surprised to get a text from her telling me they'd already arrived, and was getting money from the bank. i went to meet up with them.