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August 27, 2006 - Guyuan, China

Hidden Wufan

Beautiful sunrise this AM.

My bedroom windows face East, making qi chuang or the waking up process a bit less harried. I can’t think of a better way to wake then the gradual yet insistent rising of the sun. Something quite inevitable about it, but not so jarring as an alarm. It makes every day feel like Sunday. Add in a coffee, the NY Times and a toasted bagel with olive-pimento creamcheese and we’re in business. Slightly missing that last bit - coffee takes form as crystals here and bagels? …

Today was my cleaning day - round 2.

Get myself unpacked, clean the kitchen, mop some floors and settle in. It started well and I moved through my duffel bag pretty easily. I was contemplating moving on to a housewide mopping - Guyuan seems to deposit a thin layer of dust everywhere - but decided instead to procrastinate and read a bit. That morning sun was calling.

Calling. But it wasn’t the sun.

Wang Laoshi and I chatted for a bit, the morning was a busy one for her as the school was reviewing student cases for academic eligibility and the afternoon was shaping up the same. Busy as bees. A lunch was in order however, can’t forgo the important things in life… We met at her office, a 5-minute walk from my apartment.

On the walk to lunch I learned I would be meeting more of the faculty.

After the lunch trap was sprung yesterday I swore I wouldn’t be caught unawares so easily. Silly me.

As soon as I shake hands and give a round of ni haos the compliments begin - my guyuan hua is ever so good! Flattering as usual, but quite false. The compliments continue when I refuse a fork and profess my love for chopsticks. That usually wins a small round of applause and hearty laughter. Same whenever I try a new dish, polish off a second bowl of soup or spit out a ragged sentance fragment in Mandarin. The faculty that I have met so far are a great group - some with good English, some using Wang Laoshi to translate - but all very warm.

Lunch was very good - I’m loving all of the new dishes here - the tesecai today was a noodle-on-noodle dish. A Muslim favorite of mutton in a heavy sauce with thick potato noodles that you mix into another bowl of square rice noodles. Can’t say I’ve ever done that. As the afternoon was so busy lunch was a short affair. An hour and a half at most…

Later went to the store for cleaning supplies and a few small shops to look around. Going out on such mundane tasks is interesting - imagine an entire towns population as non-camera wielding paparazzi. Maybe that’s why I like going out.

Much at odds with my life of B-list stardom I spent a very humble afternoon in the rain scrubbing pots and cleaning the dusty kitchen.

A quick aside: It’s hard to not love a town where the garbage trucks play “Auld Lang Syne” as they roll down the street.

Tomorrow is a big one. Get Me a Visa Day!

Tumbleweeds... and no comments. How 'bout livening things up?

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