My Friday Night

My friday night has been quite pleasant so far. I thought I might share with anyone reading the differences we might have had.

I finished work at 5:05pm. I am teaching some extra classes for some advanced kids who eventually will study abroad. They are quite fun to teach. Anywho… after I was done with that… I hopped on my borrowed, one-speed bicycle and headed home. It happened to have rained throughout the day- don’t be fooled, this doesn’t hinder traffic. (Bicycle) traffic in China is actually quite invigorating. You must be alert at all moments because trouble could be lurking just about anywhere… pedestrians, other cyclists, electric bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles, cars, buses, you name it. Navigating the stream of travelers, as well as the stream of water, was quite fun. I’ll probably regret riding a bicycle here someday, but heck… I figure I’m as safe here as anywhere else with actual rules. Ok… so I made it home, breaking many written rules, but no practical rules. I dropped off my things, had a quick chat with a friend, and then hopped back on the bicycle to go eat dinner.
By this time it was nearly 6:40pm. I decided to venture to my local Muslim noodle shop just behind Nanjing Normal University. They guys there are great as well as the atmosphere. It’s no eye candy, but good eats! I roll up on my ride, park my bike under the awning, order my meal and sit down. The little boy that lives there brings me my soup (which is great, even though it’s free!) and I start slurping away. I had a great dinner there… no one bothered me or stared at me or anything. I’m definitely going to be a regular. I got my main dish of noodles and ate it up. I paid the shopkeeper who greeted me with a nice, “Take care” in Chinese. I don’t know why, but I feel really welcomed when people use this phrase. It feels more like old China to me. Most of the time people say “Good-bye” which isn’t bad, but the former phrase seems more genuine. Makes ya smile inside…
So I head up Hankou Lu to my favorite Chinese bakery. It’s a little shop on the corner that sells these great things called hanguo xiao man tou, which, directly translated means ‘korean little bread’. Basically they are scrumptious sweet rolls which I can eat 8 in less time than it takes to walk a city block and not even know it (this is guaranteed!) Lately every time I go by, there is a lengthy line for who-knows why, and I haven’t been able to get my fix. Tonight I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I went to the end of the line (which was literally half-way through the intersection) and waited. And waited.
I waited for a good half and hour or forty-five minutes to find out what the deal was. I must have looked strange, the only foreigner waiting in a line of Chinese people. I didn’t even know what I was buying but stood there. I had nothing else to do…
I get near the front of the line to find out that it is some kind of fluffy bread… or more oh, banana bread texture, and made from brandy.
Finally ordered: I paid my 6 元 for 1 近 (which is about half a kilogram (.6 it looked like)). Good news it fairly tasty, bad news- I’m not sure if it was worth the wait. Worse news- I can’t get my little korean bread 😦
But feeling more like a native every passing minute, I decided to press my like and purchase a couple DVD’s. I picked out Stand by me, X-men 3, and some Korean movie called A museum by the zoo. or something like that. The shopkeeper was a nice elderly woman who informed me that the movie was in Korean and we had better check to see if it had subtitles, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to understand it. Wow, she read my mind… but really, it was quite nice of her. We pop it in and it gets going and she tells me to watch. So I watch. A little english pops up on the bottom. She seems convinced and I ask her if she can read English. She says no. I told her to wait a second or two and I watched a little bit more to make sure its pretty legit and the words seemed to match what I was hearing (I can’t understand korean) and the words where related to what I had read in English on the back. So I said ok.
On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up some 咖啡 and sprite. Witnessed a verbal argument with a crowd but peddled on past. Made it home, rang my little bicycle bell around the corners as I cycled my hutong back to my jia. Probably going to put in a movie and pass out full, content and not intending to wake up too early! Not a bad Friday evening…

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