Day 48 - Hou Hai and The 4 Generations

Saturday, March 26th, 2016
Smog Level: All 3 mountains

No plans today, and Shimou is occupied with teaching a class of middle schoolers in another part of town until noon. I try to sleep in, but can’t make it past 9:30. That’s good, but I wish I could catch up on sleep without having to go to bed earlier. Cry me a river.

I had put forward a creative writing challenge with some friends. You write a “day in the life of” whomever you want, real or otherwise, and give it to the other person. Their job is to change 1 detail of the story - character, scene, event - and play out the ripples from there. I had given a coworker a bleak one about a man who was trapped in a life sentence of sorts, which he returned much improved. He had given me one where he had a few drinks over a night and a day. I decided to up the alcohol content every time he mentioned having one, changing his interactions and perceptions of events. I found it funny. Hopefully he does, too.
A Gate for Decoration
Got caught up on some more work, finally got down to meditating and flossing, and now I’m just waiting for Shimou to arrive.

We’re going back to that restaurant, which translated to “three families under one roof.” You know, the one where the food was OK, but the atmosphere was way outdoing itself? This time we ended up in a private room (bāo jiān [bow jee-ahn]) with Silvia, BeBe and Sean, friends from Shimou's high school. The table has a massive lazy Susan, as usual, but what was novel about this private room was that about 1/4 of it was dedicated to looking like, I guess, an olden-time accountant/banker. Scales, abacuses, “necklaces” of coins, chests, and those shaped figurines that were made of silver(?). All fake, of course.

After dinner, we walked to Sean’s car and took a ride to Hou Hai. Yes, we’re ending up there again because it’s a great place to go, day or night, any day of the week! No, they're not paying me! Stuff always seems to be going on there, and there are so many corners that you’ll be hard pressed to experience them all within the first couple visits.

I really like the look of these old-timey poster boards
We wandered around the lake looking for nothing in particular, and eventually ending up in a bar. It’s owned by another of their high school acquaintances who was in the year above them. Quite busy, real, uh, 'hip,' and a bit too chilly on the roof this time.

They mostly spoke mandarin, which I was able to follow a bit during dinner, but lost most of it afterward due to fatigue and limited non-meal vocabulary. At least my food vocab is getting somewhere.

Shimou and Sylvia
Sean was on the phone a long time, Shimou and Silvia went in search of a washroom, leaving Bebe and me on the rooftop. It was chilly, and we had our first conversation. If you recall, this is my second time meeting her. She said she works out on weekends, is going to take up horseback riding. I can’t really say much, conversation-wise, on those topics, so I asked what she does - outside of work - during the week. She says nothing, because she works it's 7 or 8pm and starts around 8. Understandable. She studied logistics in university, and now works as a travel agent of sorts, from what I could gather. This sort of situation seems more the norm than the exception, by the way.

The group overlooking Houhai
“Edward Snowden, we found you!” this group of Germans called to me from the next table. I was wearing a hood, which might have made me look like him (also, glasses) and made it hard to understand them through their accents.

“I’m not German” I dumbly replied, thinking they asked if I was German... in English. Eventually, our group reconvened, finished their drinks, and fought to flag down a cab for Bebe. It can be a difficult task when you’re in popular areas near closing time. 

Sean then graciously drove the rest of us home.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
Agree - tȯng yì [tong E}
Disagree - bù tóng yì [boo tong E]

Bonus Pic: The entrance to the parking lot elevator: 

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