a slow demise

This week has been a slow demise. Slow and painful.

A week ago, somehow, someway, I caught a bug that has tormented me and plotted my destruction. Perhaps it was a perfect storm: lack of sleep, staying up late, and just too much old fashion exercise for a fragile body (still figuring out when I became so fragile). And here I am on the mend (knock on wood) but not after a few licks.

Sunday I was in bed all day with a fever. Monday morning come work time, still had the fever but what the heck, why not head into work? Tuesday still under the weather, Wednesday was a passable day that was spent uncomfortably in the office for the most part that probably should have been spent recuperating in bed at home. Thursday I somehow managed to get through six lessons and a few meetings. Yesterday, Friday saw me into work. I thought I’d celebrate my good feelings of survival with a fast food breakfast. By 8:30am I was feeling dizzy, started class at 9:15am and was really about to topple. I excused myself, asked permission to take the day off and prepared to do so. At 9:30am I was taking a moment just to collect myself before heading home. On my way down the stairs I made it just in time to the men’s restroom to unload my dizziness in two violent and self-contained abdominal upheavals. That cured the dizziness just long enough to take the subway home and crawl into bed. I’ve been sleeping since…

The week before my troubles was filled with full lessons, no preps, staffing stress and oral examinations. Next week is similar, so that ought to be a blast. It’s all about pacing and doing what needs to be done. It’s not for the faint of heart. I’m hoping that I’m at least up to 80% come Monday otherwise I might not make it. This past week was fairly uneventful and I was running on fumes, perhaps an average of 35%. Yeah I can gauge this pretty well as normally I can do flights and flights of stairs without breaking stride. Last week I couldn’t get up two flights without feeling like keeling over.

At some point I wanted to start writing again, and documenting my demise might be a good time to start. Most likely Hopefully it will take a lot longer than a week or two. It would be a terrible pity to start such a good habit so late in life 😉

Now off to catch some afternoon …zzzZZZs and charge up the proverbial battery for next week’s festivities.

Two Thousand and Snake Eyes

Classes are done for the semester, I’ve finally found a few seconds to mull over and organize a thought or two.

So far 2011 is not too shabby.
A couple of dos this year:

  1. Do eat less processed crap. My thinking goes that if it can sit in its container for a long time without going bad, our bodies probably aren’t naturally accustomed to processing it. Doesn’t mean we are unable to process it but why go against the grain. Let’s stick with the basics and no push our bodies when there’s not a convincing reason to do so.
  2. Do forgo ‘Black Crack’. Translation = no coffee. It used to be that I could handle copious amounts, pots of coffee without flinching (or twitching). Ask Mr. B- my college roommate. But these days the ups and downs are too much to handle. Goodbye, beverage I hate to love and love to hate.
  3. Do forgo soda pop, cola, or whatever your locale may call it. I read an article somewhere (it’s veracity I did not thoroughly put to test but my intuition has a hard time disagreeing with) talking about how our bodies basically treat liquid imbibed as a fairly neutral substance. Not queuing the necessary body mechanisms when ingesting, say, a can of cola leads to spikes (sugar in the blood not being handled properly), which then leads to spikes in insulin… yada yada ya. You get a roller coaster of systems in you body which eventually break because of this stress. So. Not good. Think 3rd and long. Better pass before you’re forced to punt.

These dos are health/diet related. Health is important. Use it or lose it. Stay healthy.

A Cloud in the Canal

This true story is amusing to me. I’ll share it at the expense of my dignity.

A few weeks ago I had to visit the emergency room. Before you become alarmed and flood me with email and phone calls, let me assuage your fears by saying the visit was not life threatening by any means.

Long story short: The fluffy cotton part of a ‘Q-tip’ got lodged in my ear canal.

Short story long: One morning or afternoon after my monthly shower, I decided it would be an opportune time to clean the wax that had hither to amassed inside my head. No problem, right? Well my non-branded cotton swabs apparently weren’t up to par and well, the rest was history.

At the time I did notice when taking the malfunctioning utensil out of my ear that there was in fact part of said utensil missing- I’m one of those people that smells dirty clothes to see if they are indeed dirty, touches scalding hot things to see if they are in fact scalding hot, looks at boogers in Kleenex tissues (and their non-branded equivalents which I probably won’t be using in the future) and examines whether there was enough wax in the inner ear to accommodate a colony swarm of bees- you get the idea.

Because of my carefree nature I didn’t think much of it being missing. I was mildly surprised at its absence. My reaction was to call in the ol’ pinkie to investigate, in hindsight not the most clever idea. The smallest finger okay’d the situation, seconded by the unimpaired auditory system. Reaction two was to casually look around the floor for a lone and out of place miniature carnival treat. Still nothing. “Eh, oh well,” and like an orbiting electron the whole situation ceased to be present.

Come evening readying for bed, the earlier event creep-ed back into my consciousness. I had someone take a peak into the depths of my inner soul. Sure enough a buried treasure was there waiting for the first explorer charting unexplored territory. Unable to fish it out, we hopped in a cab (9元 or about a buck twenty-five, remember this for later) and headed for the emergency room. After very little paperwork and almost no waiting in a chaotic emergency room, the doctor took one look, grabbed a monstrously monster-looking pair of pliers and out came the overly used cotton swab. Total fee for the extraction process: 6 元, or a little less than a dollar American.

In fact. I was not embarrassed at all, more ambivalent of the whole experience with the exception of how quick and inexpensive it is to have a piece of cotton removed in a busy Chinese emergency room.

As of late…

Sometime a Week Ago:

saw a movie called “东风雨”… translation something like East Wind Rain. basically this movie sucked. kinda boring. maybe i didn’t catch the more subtle points 叶问2:宗师传奇because i was watching in chinese with chinese subtitles, but the other [chinese] person i was with said it sucked too.

the plot was similar to another, much better chinese movie released last year called “The Message” or in chinese “风声”. i recommend it, especially if you can get a copy with english subtitles. it’s a well done ww2 spy thriller, a mysterious who-dunnit type of flick. for an english language review of the film, click here.


photo from:

on wednesday my shin was kicked instead of the ball, and my shin had no protection. normally this doesn’t bother me, but i got it pretty bad in the muscle. it bruised and swelled up a bit and fearing the worst, i bought a pair of shin guards. this wasn’t the first time i’ve been knocked around a bit. i usually come out every weekend with some kind of scrape or bruise from either falling down or thanks to someone kicking me. almost got a cleat to the knee which actually made me nervous. if it connected i would have been done for- luckily it just drew a little blood. the offending party recommended i get shin guards… yeah, should have listened to this omen from above. anyway, after a day or two my leg was doing fine… why am i repeating this? no idea. but i bought a pair almost identical to these for 15元 right before i…

saw a really terrible chinese (that was the one above) decent gung fu movie called “叶问2:宗师传奇which is a sequel film. it’s loosely based on the life of ip man, who apparently was a teacher of bruce lee back in the day. all and all it wasn’t bad, except for a little awkwardness during a scene where the main character is beating a british boxers to smithereens. awkward because the audience in the movie theatres were cheering and clapping at this as i reminded myself that i was not british and they hopefully had no ‘beef’ with me. as silly it may have been, i even prepared a response to any animosity directed towards me, ready to share that many americans had apparently died in ww2 protecting chinese (more in another post on my recent visit to an airforce memorial in nanjing dedicated to those chinese, russian and americans that lost their lives).

after the movie, i came home and started grading thesis papers until i came to the conclusion that the students probably should read their papers first and fix silly mistakes that were abundant.

the morning commute was more intense than usual. the beginning of a holiday weekend, people had decidedly taken the extra day off and were fleeing the city. it was actually pretty great- traffic leaving the city was so bad that the cars leaving overtook another lane or two despite painted lines and convention leaving only a single path for buses and cars coming into the city. even though i was late to school i still enjoyed the sight of this mayhem.

photo from: My Little Terrors 🙂

also along the commute, i noticed something else. along the base of the mountain there were several makeshift tents or shelters with rather country-like peasants living in them. also next to these shelters were a number of boxes about a meter or so high. after seeing them first on wednesday and then again today i finally decided that they were bees and their farmers. (see picture for something like  what i saw) i’m not sure if this is a local spring time tradition. perhaps i’ll need to stick around another year to find out. my guess is that it’s some kind of government mandate intended on helping promote the flowering of native flora… but that’s just my wild guess! 🙂

school was actually only half the day. most of my students were eager to see mother and father and about 20% of them did not show up only with receiving official leave of absence. it was okay with me as many of them tend not to see their parents often and the three day holiday (shortened from seven days) would not nearly be enough to get to other parts of the country and back. so classes were quick and painful as i reiterated what we had already gone over and made them read their own writings…

after the short day, i picked up my new trek bike that is an added perk of my new apartment. the retail sticker on this two wheeled contraption is way more than i would feel comfortable splurging on, but since it’s a ‘gimme’ i went ahead and rode it 🙂

so ride it home i did. from a far away district over the mountain to the center of nanjing. i’m in okay shape, but i’ll definitely admit that the bicycle did most of the work. it’s light, speedy and is designed for road travel, that much i know now.
so impressive is this bike that i’d have to say that it has more power than my electric scooter,  almost as much as a gas engine. at least it feels that way. i could start from a standstill and out accelerate these two, and on several occasions did. again, i’m not in that great shape but it happened…
almost spilled one though- was moving faster than the traffic around me, hit the breaks and the back end slid out from behind… apparently the bike is quite light and the brakes work very well. also if you think about it, there is very little touching the ground with these ultra thin road tires.

relaxed because my routine was most gladly interrupted by the holiday and my usually visits were canceled. surprisingly there was a large turnout for football despite the beautiful and thus warm weather.
i’ve grown a bit of a loud mouth on the field, slightly annoying humor and sarcastically insulting or encouraging others i’m playing with. in fact i’ve been not doing much in the way of sport, more enjoying the human interaction. perhaps the hot weather influenced my decision to talk more and do less. did manage to score a goal nicely in the upper corner. good enough work for a weekend i suppose…

that’s today. a complete waste of a day. ran errands, watched bill maher’s latest tv show on hbo and uh… took a nap. the weather maxed out at a nice 32C which for those of you on the imperial units would measure as nearly 90F. what can i say? the first warm afternoon is perfect for snoozing. it’s a holiday don’t forget. was planning on going on an epic bike ride outside the city but that will be postponed until tomorrow afternoon. another canadian bloke and i will set off and explore the outskirts of nanjing. i can’t wait… hope to snap some excellent (or modestly aesthetic) photos of life outside the hustle and bustle as well as get some exercise. on the sad news, another gold fish bit the dust. the two orange fish have died leaving only the black (gold) fish swimming alone. hope he makes it to a real tank at some point…


oh, i’ve been a mango nut as of late. can’t stop eating them. found a fun and exciting way to cut them without making a mess (see picture to the left). it’s funny how when you can’t peel and orange you don’t “like” them, but as soon as it’s peeled you eat them (that’s me in my childhood). some thing with mangos i’m guessing. just didn’t know how to get at them in order to try them so i didn’t really try them. blah blah blah. ok, time to hit the hay. this has been a long and rather mundane post with incorrect and uncorrect english. if anyone were to actually read this… i don’t know what i would do…


Eat Your Peas, OK?

Goldfish in my imagination…

My goldfish are in between homes. I am embarrassed to admit this, but they’re not doing so well, mostly on account of me. And one morning, I feared the worst… floating fish are never a good sign.

Surprisingly when I nudged the container, the up-side-down fish squirmed their way to an appropriate position. But they weren’t able to stay this way long and floated back up to the surface, very much buoy like.

As I hate to see living things suffer (why did I buy these fish again?), I wanted to somehow ease their pain. With a little internet searching, I discovered that perhaps they had infected swim bladder or while other causes are constipation – which compresses the SB – gulping air whilst feeding at the surface or eating food with too much air inside, such as dry floating foods, Fatty Liver Disease or kidney cysts.” One of the remedies was to feed the fish peas, boiled and peeled of course. This has seemed to work.

So finicky as they may be, I may need to keep up the mashed pea-tatoes [sic] diet until they get a new house, with a new kitchen, and a new diet.

All this was FYI, and FYA

For some reason the black fish (yes, in fact it may be a different species but the most obvious difference is its color) has not floated upside down. Perhaps it is more robust than the others…

Cinnamon Bath

Went to Tangshan (汤山) today, just outside of Nanjing. Located there are some natural hot springs. This is my second trip to hot springs in China. The first trip (Attack of the Fish) was entertaining. This trip was more relaxing

Among the most relaxing were: the heated stone floors, on which I power snoozed; the sauna, no extra fee required, with ample room and a quite functional hot rock heating/humidifying system; and the cinnamon pool.

Can’t exactly say why the cinnamon pool was so nice. It is said to lower an elevated qi… It felt very silky, or like the water was a bit alkaline. Maybe I was just imagining.

For only a 1-hour, 10元 bus ride, it’s not far or expensive to get to. And it probably won’t break your purse coming in under 150元 for a day pass… There are a couple resorts to choose from and I currently am forgetting the name of today’s… Only stayed several hours, but the springs are open from 9:30a-1am if you’re going to milk your money.

Most def. a good weekend/day get-away trip!

Attack of the Fish

This last weekend was filled with new experiences. Instead of attending class, we were offered the ‘escape’ of attending a conference for the weekend. To tell the truth, I was looking forward to seeing my Friday classes as we hadn’t had class the previous Friday due to a sports meeting. To tell the truth, I was also happy to go on this trip which would give me another week to grade papers. This excursion was probably as beneficial to me as it was to the students. Our time was probably better spent away. Having come to a close, here is what the weekend presented to me.

A lack of information led me to dress somewhat more formally than others. I donned a tie, put on an ironed shirt, pulled up some pressed trousers- all to no avail. As it turned out, our conference group was rather intrinsic to our own department. Only a dozen faculty participated in our ‘conference’, two of them giving keynote speeches on cross cultural communication in the teaching environment. The air was, in accordance with the participants, familiar and fitting was the dress.

Again, having no solid idea of what was to happen, I prepared myself with loud techno music in the form of Prodigy and caffeine in the form of a liter or so of French pressed coffee. Just to lift the spirits, you see. The proper mindset is beneficial in these circumstances- of course. In the end, my preparation turned sour as our one hour bus ride dragged on for nearly two, my liter of coffee pushing the limits of my internal body organs.

Despite being distracted by the aching sensations felt at every bump over the country roads, I managed to take in some of the surrounding scenery along the way. To some extent, the countryside reminded me of rural Laos or Vietnam: small, buildings, rather decrepit; trash thrown here or there without future consideration; green fields and farm animals running this way and that. My mind once wandered as to the chronology of the buildings I saw before me: When was this slab of pavement poured? When was this wall of bricks built? That half constructed, seemingly new building over there- is it still being worked on? Or has it been abandoned?

By the time we arrived out our hot springs resort come conference location (somewhere around here <>), it was all I could do to not internally explode. For what seemed like hours, and not to my surprise, we stopped at the concierge desk to pick up the keys to our lodging. Our representative went in to take care of the business while we waited on the bus. Eventually: she came in; we rode the bus a bit longer; she dispensed the keys; I was relieved. It’s amazing at how much one can focus on just one thing when the ¿need? arises.

I paid little heed to whom (to who?) my roommate would be. I need not repeat what I was meditating on. Without much adieu, I bunked with a man different in age, though similar in origins. Several times we have met, also having exchanged communications though something leaves me to believe he instantly forgets. If one word is to describe him well, it would best be the word ‘hippy’. He might also use this would in describing himself, so I fear little in using it…

After we deposited our luggage, we boarded the bus and headed out towards the conference center. Strangely enough this was a good distance away from our lodge. It would have been a good twenty or thirty minute walk. How amazing the inventions of the wheel and combustion engine are!

The conference room was a short hike up three flights of stairs, and we followed one after the other in an orderly single file fashion. On the third floor, inside the room, was situated a table with half a dozen microphones on top. Surrounding the long rectangular table were just enough seats plus two or three. A fuwuyuan appeared poured water into our tea cups, and organized bananas and oranges in half a dozen baskets. Seated in our pseudo leather chairs, thus we began our conference.

Without going into the intricacies of our rather long, formal, yet somehow seemingly non-formal conference, I’ll briefly highlight what our two speakers said.

The first speaker was a Confucius scholar, having studied Confucianism during his higher educational experience. Right away I was delighted to listen. For fun, and because I’m motivated to self-educate, and because I’m slightly nerdy, I read a *few* textbooks on the history of Confucianism about a year or so ago. It’s actually quite fascinating and while I don’t remember any details specifically, I can say that my soul retained the gist. Should I ever return to a school of higher education, I’d liked to take a class and discuss with fellow students and teachers. Quite humorously though: he spent some time, a year I think, in American teaching at the Confucius Institute. Why ‘humorous’ you ask? Well, the institute actually has almost nothing to do with Confucius or his -ism. Perhaps in some ways he was over qualified being a scholar. Who knows. All this aside, here were some interesting insights either by him or ideas that were sparked in my head by his talk:
  • During his time in the States, he noticed the difference in food habits. Through his Chinese perspective, he attributed the reasons in terms of Yin and Yang. In China, it is almost impossible to get ice water at a restaurant. Here, we always drink hot (well… warm) water or tea with our meals if we drink anything. This is because our diets are different… Americans eating meat, sweat, and fatty foods balanced with cold water and Chinese eating something of an antithesis to this requiring a hot water balance. A lot of this goes back to Traditional Chinese Medicine which incorporates Yin and Yang philosophies.
  • The scholar also spoke of the word 法. In English, this means law, rule or method. Much to my pleasure, he also noted that in American, people for the most part always follow the law. In China, he noted that we almost never see this. The reason he hinted at was that the Chinese 法 (fa) is closer to the definition of method. He offered that there are many methods and that the law was just one method of doing something. While we might have a recommended method or law, we can by no means confine ourselves to this one method as there are many methods or ways to get from point A to point B. I guess it’s more of a mindset and way of thinking and acting towards an idea. It’s a fun mind game to play if you really try. Imagine that there are many versions of the same method or law. The end result is the same but how you get there may be different. Before I make no sense at all and get lost in my own tangled brain, I’d just like to say that I am very grateful that he explained what the meaning of this character and idea was in China. It’s entertaining and serious at the same time. I understand a little better why we can drive on the wrong side of the street sometimes and bend rules here and there to help get us to where we are going, both literally and figuratively.
  • He also talked about the character 中 (zhong) which has several meaning, among them ‘center’, ‘middle’, ‘on target’. My notes were pretty terrible, as terrible or worse than my memory on the subject so I can’t tell you now why I wrote this down. Which makes me typing this pretty worthless. He elaborated on the idea of the middle course, to not stray too far from center. Radicalism is not a part of this culture and zhong helps illustrate this point.
  • We talked about religion a bit and this lead to discussing ethical systems. Chinese culture uses shame as a motivation of moral conduct. This probably has its pros and cons. We didn’t discuss those, but it helps us paint a picture of the cultural differences. I suppose that we would say religion in America plays this role as a large percentage of the population is religious.
  • One other fascinating point he made was the idea of China and it’s relation to agriculture. He noted that traditionally, and even today to some extent, an agriculturally based society is to be found. In order for this type of society to work, there need to be peace and stability within. In order to tend to the crops, one needs to stay put in one place and work the land, invest in it, and discourage unnatural changes. On the other hand, some cultures may have traditionally based on hunting and chasing game, leading to a nomadic lifestyle. Though I may not be relaying his ideas appropriately, it sparked my interest enough to write it down and share with anyone who might read.
  • Last in my notes are some thoughts he shared with about relationships. In an individualistic society, we are born and for the most part we remain an individual. This is due perhaps to our views on religion, about God and how ‘we were created in his own image’. We answer to God and that is our relationship with the world. In contrast, while the Chinese do have religion, there isn’t an overwhelming and omnipotent individual know as God. Again- I’m by no means and expert on the matter- I think he was getting at the idea that when you’re born in China, you’re born into a relationship. For example, you are born as a son to a father, you are born to a sister to brother, you are born a nephew to an aunt. You have some kind of place, hierarchy or position which it is your natural place to fill to your utmost ability. Or at least this is how I interpreted this spiel…


The second speaker presented ideas that wouldn’t be considered alien to Western listeners. She presented some theories on patterns of culture. While interesting, I won’t go into detail here…

After our two speakers did their thing, the floor was opened up for discussion. There only being a baker’s dozen, we all had to add our two cents. As most of the participants were older than me, I wasn’t so confident about throwing out my own, original thoughts. As most of the participants were unknown to me, I wasn’t so confident about coming across in a neutral manner. Even though the group was relatively small, I wasn’t comfortable expressing me so I tried to stay quite. A couple of us were more than happy to speak, which is always amusing to listen to. This blog aside, because for some strange reason it doesn’t count, perhaps for the reason that no one is forced to read this assemblage of words, I can’t fathom putting other people through the torture of listening to me talk about something I have absolutely no idea. I’m not one to volunteer b.s. when I don’t know what I’m talking about- I just don’t talk. 
Wow… so back to the account/story, huh? After what, in my opinion, dragged on longer than was necessary or productive, we finally finished sometime late in the evening. Descended the stairs, boarded the bus, went to a restaurant to eat a late dinner.
I instantly liked our restaurant. Reason one: hungry. Reason two: it was small, in the middle of nowhere, and we were the only customers. It looked cold, drafty. It was unadorned with decorations and exquisitely unattractive. Yes, I loved it.
The food was great. Ok, it was good. Well, it wasn’t bad… that’s for sure.
Went back to our room, chatted with my newly-found hippy friend, we ended up playing Uno with my floor-mates (can I coin this new word?) and eventually slept. Tragically I didn’t win a single game and am bitter about the whole ordeal. Ok, not really- I’m just being dramatic.
The second day was all pleasure. We woke up, took the bus (again) back to the conference room place where we had our continental breakfast. After breakfast we discovered that our chicken chasing and potato digging events for the day were cancelled because of the recent rain and therefore muddy ground. All to our chagrin. The hot springs were still on though, so the day wasn’t a complete loss.
Two hours later, after marinating in our rooms, we boarded the bus, again, and made our way to the hot springs.
My hometown is Jack London’s favorite hotspot (not the Wi-fi kind), or so a sign at the entrance of my hometown said before it was recently torn down. Talk about a childhood memory. We also had an ‘Eat, Play, Golf’ sign (the last one might have said ‘Live’). Anyway, enough traumatic relapse. My point is that I have never been to a hot spring before, despite having lived in an area renown for its hot springs. Therefore, I cannot my recent experience to much, except to say that it will NOT be like any other I’ll have in the future. Oh wait! I take that back. Come to think of it, at the base of Macchu Picchu rests a quaint little village called Aguas Calientes (minus the necessary accents I believe) where I did indeed partake in hot springs. Anywho…
These hot springs near Nanjing seemed anything but natural. The landscape was sculpted in a very- shall we say… commercial way. The experience was great though. The hottest hot spring was inside a large building, and was tepid at best. The cool thing about these springs though were that they were flavored. Each ‘pool’ had a different flavor so to speak. A large floating teabag filled with bark-of-this, or flower-of-that made sure that we were brewed in true gourmet fashion.
The most epic part of the trip was the flesh eating fish. These fish are said to be therapeutic. It was actually a really cool sensation, much like getting the chills in your spine but lasted for as long as you we in the water accessible to the fish. Our breed of fish came from Turkey, or so the sign indicated. And we had two sizes- a hot springs pool with big fish and one with smaller fish. I preferred the smaller fish though their feces floating in the pool was a bit of a turn off. The big fish pond was cleaner but the sensation from the bigger fish was different. If you want to read more about this medical treatment/cheap thrill, take a look at these websites here, here and here. I swore that I would take pictures but was so caught up in the moment that I didn’t. So I’m going to *borrow* the picture from the first link and post it on here- this way you get a visual idea. Again, this is NOT me in the picture. 😉

And of course I managed to fit in twenty minutes of sauna time. I *heart* sauna. I don’t know why, but it’s my favorite. Just sit in a box and sweat until your heart’s content. I would sauna every week if I could. Yes, definitely. This is why a gym membership would be nice. Ah…

Last but not least, as we left, we received a parting gift: a box containing fifty-five free-range chicken eggs. I think that they’re free range. In Chinese they happen to be called 曹鸡蛋 (cao jidan) which directly translated means ‘grass chicken eggs’.

Ah… so that was last weekend. A whole week and another weekend has already flown by, with their own stories to tell. Hopefully they can be put up here soon.

sundried t… you thought i was going to say tomatoes didn’t you…?

No, today was sundried towels, t-shirts and other cloth related articles one might wear that begin with the letter ‘t’. there was a backlog in the dorm’s drier queue- too many foreigners trying to do too many loads of laundry with two (also too few) machines. oddly enough one of the driers is broken or the outlet in which it is plugged in is broken and it basically just sits there. not one body, including myself seems to do anything about it…

All that aside, i didn’t care to wait for my wet clothes to become musty and aged like cheese as they waited for who-knows-who to finish their leisurely laundry-mat extravaganza. To the top floor, onto the roof i went with my basket of wet cloth.

Domestic duties must be my joie de vivre. It was quite therapeutic hanging my underwear on the roof as the polluted wind trounced them about on the line. To my amazement, in less than forty minutes a basket full of sopping out-of-fashion attire was drier than- well…. sundried tomatoes. And to think of those suckers impatiently waiting to use the one good electric drier that takes about three hours to get clothes eighty percent dry.

Amazed as I was, I shared my findings with the Chinese auntie who lives on our floor to keep a watchful eye on us. She was gleeful as I was at my discovery which I related in pidgin Chinese. As a kind of reward, she returned her equally unhappy discovery of another habitant on my floor who through no intelligence of his/her own has advertently (or not) destroyed some school appliances and furniture though the fault of his/her own. And this is after s/he has been asked by several people not to continue in the actions that cause the havoc. Apparently the fire brigade and several others have been called in and wanted to investigate…

None of my business, but it makes the ol’ laowai look bad when one of us acts like a complete jackass despite knowing full well how to behave. Aren’t there some kind of ethical standards one has to attain before graduating from university…? I mean please…

On another note. I decided that my new drink of choice will be green tea pretty much forever. Despite knowing full well how healthy it is, a relative whose footsteps  in which I do not wish to follow (regarding health) is having issues with the kidney. Diabetes is sure to have played a part. The next step it seems to be is dialysis… So on that unhappy note, I will reaffirm to myself the importance of taking care of my body and saying healthy with exercise and food. Live and learn- or learn from others and not live through it yourself.

Ugh. It appears thunderstorms are due at 8pm. Good thing my laundry was laundered during the hot sun as opposed to the wet rain. I’m off to treat myself to a foot massage. I’ve only had one- it hurt but afterward my feet felt appreciative after the umpteen years I’ve put them through hell. And supposedly they (not the proverbial they this time… actually I’m referring to the foot massages in China) can tell all about the health of your body through the soul [sic] of your foot. I’m not sure if I buy that, but I’ll sure as heck buy the massage…