Day 5

1:03 P.M.

Hm, no morning entry. Oh well. I did awake at 5:50, though.

After the usual daily preparations, I went out, and returned, doing my best to hide from my landlord. I don't know what I'll do soon; she'll find me sooner or later, and if she doesn't, my things will be thrown bodily onto the street. Which would give me an excuse to move to a nicer dormitory, I suppose, but I don't want to go through that trouble. I'll get the money soon. I think.

Otherwise, it has been an uneventful morning. I have studied a bit, and finished Ilium. I wish I had read The Iliad so I can understand it fully, but it is a good book nevertheless.

Unfortunately, I've read more than I've studied. Damn it, David, the book is too good. And there's a second, bigger volume awaiting me. I'll have to hold off. Although my knowledge of Chinese script is surely returning, attaining this language, and teaching myself the better part of the second textbook before class starts, is no easy task.

*looks out window*

You know, if I could go out the window, out onto the overhang, and somehow shimmy down, I'd do it to avoid possible contact with the landlord. Shame.

3:15 P.M.

Not much has happened. As a sort of self-confinement, I have been studying in my room. To what effect, I don't know. More words are being recalled, and upon repetition, hope to engrave them in the deepening grooves of my mind. However, being alone, I often find myself drifting off to far off lands. Being in a far off land does nothing to stop you of dreaming of ones further off in time or space.

But I have studied. Yes I have. But I have to wonder why I tire so quickly when studying, or perhaps I wasn't really paying attention in high school after all, thus my higher endurance there.

I'll have to go out eventually, I suppose. There are things that need doing. I'll need to start withdrawing money to pay my dormitory dues when they are asked for; the ATM allows for withdrawals of 2000 RMB (263 USD) to be made, and I'll need to make around 7 of such withdrawals to pay for my dormitory. I hope the machine has enough, although I doubt it, for some reason.

I also need to go out and buy fruit. The milk here reminds me of the milk back in Colombia; thicker, richer, and healthier. It alone is not enough to feed me until 10 A.M., and I do not take hunger well. I'll have to buy some bananas, I suppose, something that won't require utensils.

I'll also have to make my claim to the merchant who sole me the phone card yesterday, It was not cheap (100 RMB -> 13.16 USD [hey, I'm on a budget here]) and it doesn't work with the phone in my dormitory. I'll have to return it, and I deeply regret scratching the silver metallic covering on the back of the card. I'm guessing that it'll work elsewhere, but for some reason I don't think anyone will take kindly to me hijacking their phone for 30 minutes or more.

I tried to figure out how to say "This doesn't work on my dormitory phone" but seeing as how I don't know, and my books don't say, what the word is for "work" in the mechanical sense, I'm stuck. And I stupidly left my dictionary back in my closet.

Don't worry, I know where the merchant lives. Or works, anyways.

I'm thinking that I've had enough writing exercise for the time being (I wrote 1 page of dialogue and I'm exhausted) and I'll probably go out for a walk now. I want to wait until 5:30 to try to talk to the merchant so that, in case he offers to try the card out for me and it works, I won't wake my parents at 3:30 A.M. Until then, I'll try out the ATM, read some more Chinese, wander around the campus some more, talk to the merchant to get the card working, and eat something.

I do wish I could upload photos, or at least take new ones, because the greenery on campus is rather nice. The sky appears to be blue again today, but I can't be sure as my windows are tinted. Bodes well, though.

On a final note for this update; has anyone tried honeyed wine? I'm rather curious now, blasted Greeks. If you are to try it, use red wine. It is preferred among heroic men when drinking their honeyed wine. Perhaps due to its semblance to blood?

P.S. Hope that the landlord isn't hanging out near the entrance.

4:48 P.M.

Not quite done with my walk, but I have finished lunch and have managed to find a nice spot in a garden where I feel it is all right to take out my laptop, if only briefly.

Some other things that I have noticed that might be of interest; whenever there is a reasonable amount of sun, the parasols flower, as if drawn to it's hazy, glowing warmth. I'd heard of this in Asian cultures, where parasols are used against the sun. This used to be popular in Western culture, too, a century back, but that died out. It's in full force here, where White's Alright.* *nice guy pose*

The weather is magnificent again today. The foliage that abounds within the college makes it all possible and tolerable. While it is Miami-warm, the constant shade provided by the multitude of plants makes it bearable, and the occasional, but not rare, breezes further cool the air. I will say that while clouds are visible, they are scant, but whatever.

Ah, I almost forgot. At the restaurant I now frequent, they had the TV on today (seems they turn it on after breakfast) and it was on an action flick. Granted, it didn't have any dialogue, like good action movies should, so it's not going to do me any good. But at least I can understand what's going on. Rugged beard man is beating the crap out of crazy bald dude in junkyard. Crazy bald man feigns loss, grabs junk car and drives towards bearded man. Bearded Man, by the hairs on his chin, grabs hold the car and is sliding backwards in the mud while the crazy dude gives him a wild-eyed stare and shrie-

Suddenly, a pretty boy appears on the screen, brown haired, clean, in a white shirt, opposite a girl in pig tails.

The waitress changed the channel.

Awwww. : (

Well, I can understand some words coming out of their mouths, and the girl appears to be an airhead, so she speaks slowly. Of course, this is really fast. Instead of really, really fast.

I'm starting to hate excitable young men, though, because token youth here appears to be playing Tetris with the captions. How many lines can he clear before I can read them? Careful, if I manage to read a sentence, he loses! The punishment? Spontaneous combustion, hopefully.

There is a bright spot in the show, though. Apparently, he left something in the girls room. I assume they are friends. So, he sneaks up there and searches and searches, and suddenly the girl's phone rings. She yells "Wait" and suddenly the token youth is thrown into a panic. He tries to hide under the sheets, the buffoon, before throwing himself in the closet.

Pigtails (she has pigtails) arrives, talks on the phone, hangs up, and as she's walking out and Token Youth is home-free... Oh dear. It seems that mowing the lawn in nice clothing has made her all sweaty and (stop it, pervs) she has to change her petticoat. Her other petticoats are in the closet.

Token Youth panics, holds the door shut as she tries to wrestle it open. Somehow, she wins the contest of strength (loser) and out he goes, flying into the room with all her clothing on top of him.

He does the one universal male thing when caught in a place he shouldn't be; tries to explain, realizes he's screwed, smiles, laughs, pretends nothing's wrong and offers her a hug.

Nice to see some things stick from culture to culture.

He got a good beating and a resounding slap, by the way.

I found the ATM again (how could I not?) and proceeded to check my funds. My father pulled through (thanks dad, should you ever figure out how to read this) and I now have the funds in the bank account and access to that money.

Now, does the ATM have enough...

I did withdraw 2000 yuan successfully, and tried to withdraw another 2000 right away but, as I thought, I was denied. The error message was "Not a proper denomination" but I suspect the real meaning was "leave some money for the rest of the customers, you bastard." I did try to withdraw 100 yuan immediately, and was rewarded.

Perhaps it just doesn't have enough? Or I can only withdraw so much in a set amount of time? I'll go plundering again tonight. I only need to drain the machine 6 more times before I can breath easy. Meanwhile, I have a fat roll in my pocket.

And I'm taken back to my candy-selling days.

And I'm back to the present. :(

The campus really is impressive, and I do wish I could take photos of it and send them off, before the seasons hit.

I'm not used to the idea of seasons, since trees in Miami change color at random, it feels, with one tree blooming and the one next to it disrobing while the third can't decide between burning red and blinding orange.

Hard to believe that this will all wither and die, assuming an imposed white mourning dress. I wonder if the snow will be white at all.

But let's sweep those thoughts away. The breeze just wafted through the garden I'm in, and the leaves all rustled together, a chorus as if to say "Enjoy us while we're here."

Hmm, 5 already. Well, I have to go study some more (I will, I will, I will it so) and then to accost the merchant, who is but 100 steps from here.

So, how's everything on your end, guys?

*If you get the reference, you're automatically amazing.

5:19 P.M.

Quick update here; it seems the local cafe has free internet... Let us see...Full bars...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Success! Ahahahahahaha!

... Let us hope they don't find out I'm using their internet without actually ever buying something from the cafe. I think I will someday, in the impending cold, but for now...

Eh heheheheh.

And, indeed, I have access to Facebook and Google News. I'm good.


6:13 P.M.

Well, I've wasted the past hour or more, so now that I've finished replying to everyone online, I'll have to go hunting for bananers and what have you, and pump the ATM machine.

*nice guy pose*