Wednesday 23 November 2011

This morning I have breakfast in my room with water and bread from the French bakery purchased the previous evening.

8:30 AM – In class I practice seal carving.

12:00 PM – I have lunch in the dining hall with Miki and Katya:

  • like lima beans but black and tough
  • garlic? stems with dofugan (dried tofu) and goose? liver
  • slivers of potato with carrots
  • rice

1:00 PM – I take a cab to the clothes market with Miki and Katya to buy souvenirs. Since they are my tour guides I offer to pay the taxi fare ($1.90). We wander over several floors of small shops and I buy a black hooded sweatshirt ($23.78) for my son-in-law. I ask for the biggest size they have but they are hesitant to sell it to me as the shop owners are sure it will be too large but, as it turns out when I get home, it is actually a bit too small for him. I also find four women’s t-shirts (most of the shops are for women’s clothes) and a pair of fingerless gloves for my daughter ($19.82). Katya has to go to work so Miki and I take an exhilarating putt-putt ride ($3.17) to the ticket center so I can buy a round-trip fast train ticket to Shanghai ($24.52) for Saturday, then we walk back to the college.

7:00 PM – I go to the ATM to withdraw some money and then take a taxi ($1.74) to the Foreign Language Bookstore where I give in and buy the zhuankedazidian, rationalizing that books like this are the reason I came to China and that they will be unavailable to me after I return home, and two small stone books ($70.46). Then I take another taxi back to school.

8:30 PM – I walk to Carrefour but there’s no deodorant in sight so I walk down the road to the Intime Department Store and buy a few souvenirs in the “City Life” housewares basement department store: two bars of soap, a “Love” cup, and some scissors ($26.27 total). Still no deodorant in sight.

9:30 PM – Around the corner from the department store is a vegetarian restaurant so I stop in for dinner ($13.63). The napkin says, translated into English, May Flower (Wuyuenhua):

  • cold black fungus? over broccoli – a cold dish, very good
  • something coated in a dark sweet sticky sauce, covered in crumbled peanuts – very good but congealed very quickly

I walk home but my usual “shortcut” doesn’t work at 10:00 at night—the street is closed off—so I have to retrace my steps and go the long way around to get back to the dorm.

It is a clear day but with a chilly wind. The leaves have only started to change color but are falling fast. The temperature is 63 degrees F.