Day 8

4:44 P.M.

Latest entry ever, eh?

Well, I did awake late today, around 9, which puzzles me. I did some exercise last night (ran about 2-3 miles) so I should have gone to sleep and woken up early. I did awaken various times through the night, and I have no idea why. Annoying.

Anywho, that's not important nor interesting. What is is the fact that it rained today, which means all activity died down. Add to that the fact that it is Saturday and that most students are have either been here for a while or are native to China, and that means most people are out of campus, roaming the city. The rain here is rather nice, as it met the canopy and created a bright green celling above me. Hardly any rain fell on me as I walked through the trees, and the great variety of foliage allowed for a great variety of green about me. I ate a large breakfast today, as you all should, my friends. It was rather tasty, and I'll describe it once, so bear with me, you'll not hear this again.

It consisted of an egg broth with some egg whites in it from a hard boiled egg along with some green leaves in it which look similar to seaweed. Alongside it were two small slices of watermelon. The main course consisted of a beef bowl, which is a large bowl with two layers, the first of sticky white rice and the second of chunks of beef with a great quantity of cooked onions. Along side that was a small salad of thinly shredded greens which greatly resembles lettuce, topped with 3 cucumber slices and a pink sauce of some sort, and a small tomato, rice in juice, sliced in two. As for drinks, there was the usual hot green tea, which, to me, has no flavor with it's tastier cousin, lemon tea, which has an actual slice of lemon in it.

Add to that the banana and swig or two of milk that I eat upon waking, and that's my breakfast.

I did some more exploring today, and went into the gym. This is harder and more daunting than you think, for there is no obvious entry to the gym. The entry through the soccer field was shut off, because the soccer field itself was shut off; there was team practice today in the rain. And the front of the building is still under construction. Earlier on in the week, I had glimpsed a person running on a treadmill through the windows on the front of the building, so surely there must be an entrance and a working gymnasium inside. So, I had ventured earlier in the week around the building. I found a beauty salon and a laundry, along with what looked to be an abandoned area for table tennis that was wholly covered in ivy. So, no entry was immediately obvious.

Upon passing the gym, I saw a sign on the fence of the field to the right of the gym which advertised martial arts. Coming to China and not bothering to at least investigate a martial arts class is a crime in itself, so I investigated further.

Ah, it took place within the gym. Good, good, but where? Across from the Karaoke Bar. Interesting. There is indeed a Karaoke Bar next to the gym, but I had never bothered going down there. The entry to it is covered in a semi-transparent roofing, and it tunnels downward in a semi-spiral. It looked rather seedy, so I didn't think of venturing forth.

However, it is daylight, not many people are out and about, and I'd wager that the Bar is empty, so I went into the entrance. As I enter the building proper, the first thing of note is that I don't see a Karaoke Bar. In fact, I don't see much of anything at all, dark as it is. The room is small and has wood flooring, and a great quantity of glass doors which reflect my image tenfold.

This would make for a great villainous trap for a hero.

I quickly find the glass door for the martial arts room, and it lists the days, the hours... and the prices. So it's not a school club nor is it included with the gym membership. In fact, Thai boxing alone is twice as expensive as a gym membership.

Well, that was worth checking out, and I may join in the future regardless should some punk badly require my sharp elbow in his face or my rock hard knee in his groin.


There is this long, creepy, mysterious corridor in which there is almost no visibility that requires my immediate attention and subsequent exploration. As I creep through this tunnel slowly, afraid of being caught and tossed out, I examine what I can. As more images come to light as I near the end of the tunnel, I come to a sudden realization.

I'm dead.

Just kidding. I'm under the gym, because there's a whole lot of inspirational images on the wall. The first room I encounter is a sizable weight-training room. It's hauntingly empty, with a television on loudly blaring into the silence. This accentuates the silence and the emptiness of the room, so I leave and continue to make my way into the basement of the gymnasium.

As I navigate the labyrinthine corridors of the basement, I see that not many rooms are open, but that there are a lot of photos of muscular men and women that regularly attend the gym. Just as I wonder where the upper rooms are, or how to access them, I reach a spiral staircase. It is still entirely silent, the sounds of construction at the entrance of the karaoke bar having faded long ago, I climb as silently as my wet tennis shoes will permit. I pass one floor, which houses... what, I don't remember. Nothing of note, literally. I continue, and reach a set of stairs blocked by plants. Either construction isn't done, or there's a plant overlord sleeping above, and neither appeal to me, so I enter the one room that I can.

It is filled with lockers, although that isn't saying much; the room is small. I stay away from them for fear of being labeled a thief or just plainly as "suspicious boy" and I head towards the left, where there's another opening.

Aha. Here is the gym proper, with a goodly amount of treadmills and dumb bells and all other sorts of machinery designed to train the natural one. The entry desk to to my immediate left, so I dare not go further. I also don't want to attract attention; I don't know enough Chinese to explain what I'm doing here. The gym looks most satisfactory and has a good view of the campus (what I saw looked rather nice, although I was denied a nicer view by my timidity). Satisfied with my adventure, I turned around and left, the trip from much faster than the trip to the gym.

As I stepped outside, I marveled: "Why would they make it so hard to find the entrance?" Imagine you are looking for an eatery, but find no doors to it. You then find out that the only manner to enter is to go into the shoe store next door, go to the back, open a door, and then enter the eatery.

Except it's all very dark and creepy and lonely and full of dark places where monsters reside.

After that, I went, withdrew more funds for the "I like roofs over my head when I sleep" fund, and returned to the dormitory. The landlord asked me, and I understood(!), when I was going to give her the money. After asking her how much it would cost me (and I had guessed the correct amount precisely [yay me]) I told her I could pay her on Monday.

Big words, considering I had no idea how much money I had withdrawn in total. Turns out I have 10,000 yuan. I have today and tomorrow to extract 3500 yuan from the ATM. Singular, because the other ATM I abused at first has now rejected me entirely. While horrified at first, upon learning that the other, less abused machine would happily give me some money, I laughed. Poor thing must have gotten tired of my frequent runs. It does complicate things, though. Hopefully, this ATM will be willing to give me 3500 within the next two days, and will not quit immediately thereafter. While paying the rent is nice, eating is nicer still.

Other than that, not much has occurred this lazy Saturday. I have started to read Sun Tzu, and it is quite a good read. My study method that I have developed is working nicely, and I'll continue it. I don't know what classes I'll be assigned on the 29th, but I cannot possibly over prepare. I must know about 400-600 words at least by then, if not more.

I am now going out to probably eat again, post this, and see how much I can plunder from the ATM today. I already took 600 (500 for rent, 100 for food). Let's hope I am successful.

5:48 P.M.

A few final notes:

Thinking of the rain and the stupor caused by it, I remember this quote: Millions who wish for immortality do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday.

The rain has passed, and campus has resumed its usual activities.

Speedbumps mean nothing to Chinese drivers.

And I succeeded in withdrawing 1800 today, giving myself some leeway for 1700 tomorrow.

Finale: I suspect The NY Times is blocked here...