with an eye on the impending rainstorm, we left for boston via bikes at 11am. i was taking GC down to chinatown and treating him to some lobsters. kind of an expensive proposition, but one that i suggested last summer but never came through, so it was overdue. besides, how can anyone visit boston and not try some of our local new england lobsters? it'd be a crime otherwise. according to the forecast, the earliest hint of rain would be around 1pm. if we ate fast, we could be back at home before that happened.

honestly, pretty much every major chinatown restaurant has a twin lobster dish. it should be on a top 10 list of things to do when one visits boston. skip the traditional boiled lobsters which are bland and difficult to eat; get yourself a plate of twin lobsters already divided into edible pieces and stir-fried to your specifications, although the classic is with scallions and ginger.

i took GC to bubor cha cha (45 beach street), i ate there last time with wangyang and her son and it was pretty good. i was a little worried, because google informed me that the busiest times on the weekends was around noontime, because they also serve dim sum. fortunately there were still tables available, and we got the best seat in the house, right next to the window, the same table i had last time. the window seat is great for chinatown people watching, and likewise the people outside take their time gawking at what you're eating. i ordered simple, just the twin lobster (no price in the menu but it was $35) and some pan-fried noodles (GC never had it before).

it took a while for the good to get here, the lobster arriving before the noodles. what we ordered looked so delicious, several restaurant patrons were jealously eyeballing our order. likewise, we were like an advertisement for the restaurant, as pedestrians walking by drooled over our lobster lunch. in fact, i'm sure were were personally responsible for drawing in at least two tables, one an elderly couple who got the table right next to us (and who ordered the lobster as well), the other a quartet of young coeds on an culinary exploration of chinatown.

the lobster was good, big chunks of meat. GC said it reminded him of how his mother prepares crabs back in ningbo. the pan-fried noodles were also good. at first it didn't seem like we'd be able to finish it all but we managed to split the portions, leaving nothing behind.

GC tried to pay but i said i'd treat. in the end he suggested he'd treat me to a korean barbecue lunch on friday, the day before he's scheduled to leave. when the bill came, the waiter told me they already added the tip, at 18%, and told me not to add it again. normally automatic gratuity is added for a large group of people, so it seems a little unusual, but given how chinese (foreign chinese that is) are so not used to tipping (there's no tipping in china), the restaurant probably did it out of self-preservation. the bill total was $55.

we finished eating by 12:30pm, with enough time to do some shopping at an asian supermarket. we went to the lincoln street c-mart, where i bought some longyan and lizhi. when i went to checkout, the cashier pointed to a "cash only" sign. the man paying in front of me unloaded a bag (a sock?) full of coins onto the counter. this annoyed the cashier, who was scolding the man while at the same time helping him put all in coins back in the bag. "there are even [chinese money] here," the cashier exclaimed, exacerbated. the man, a chinese of the thickest skin, paid her no attention.

we rode back to cambridge via the charles river path. earlier i noticed a lot of women walking around town with yoga mats. it wasn't until we got close to the hatchshell that i finally made the connection: there was a yoga event ending (wanderlust 108). we slowly rode back, admiring the scenery, crossing the MIT bridge to get home. if this was GC's last time in boston, it made for a fitting ending.

we made it back home by 1:30pm, the weather seemingly to get better, with no hint of impending showers. i left 10 minutes later, but by then there was something stirring on the horizon, a block of low dark clouds. i made it to belmont unscathed. the sky went grey, with showers later in the afternoon.

the dahlias are finally blooming. the flowers are large, about the diameter of a grapefruit, and kind of resemble peony flowers, just with no fragrance. i've never grown dahlias before, i don't know what the big attractions are besides large late season flowers. these are from my sister's garden anyway, so i see it more as an extension of her flowers. the melons are squashes growing in the recently opened perennial bed are doing well. my father cut back a lot of the dead foliage on the korean melons, revealing several large fruits.

only my father was home (with the dog), my left off to another ikea visit with my sister. he was waiting for the arrival of the surecom 48-T1. unknowingly, it'd already arrived, the package was just in the mailbox, delivered along with the mail. once he got his hands on the cable, he was able to finally connect the QYT radio to the simplex repeater. at first it didn't work, but turns out one of the cables wasn't securely connected. it seemed to work okay, but was operating at only 16W due to the weak power supply. of course the true test won't be until we put the repeater back at the cafe. we also tested the quad-band TYT radio. i uploaded all the CB channels into the radio but we didn't hear any chatter. the QYT can also receive airbands, and we managed to hear some crystal clear air traffic talk as a hainan airline flight was coming in for a landing.

it wasn't raining after dinner and i was able to ride back to cambridge. along the way i saw a group of chinese outside armando's pizza. looking for familiar faces, i spotted my old roommate li. after shouting his name a few times, he finally noticed me and waved back. when i got home my roommate wasn't there because he was at a friend's house. only after he came back later in the evening did i realize he was actually in that group, i just didn't see him.