Monday, November 22, 2010

An Atypical Sunday Evening

In the last few weeks, I've been frequenting this one cafe. Owned by a friend, it is probably the one place in all of Changsha I find most relaxing. It is never a bad idea to go there, no matter the time of the day (or night). Even if it is a ridiculous trip. All the way on the other side of the river, it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 by bus, depending on the traffic. By taxi, for about 25¥, the time is decreased to 40 minutes, give or take 10.

But somehow, I still find myself there two or three times a week, for hours at a time. Some of my more memorable conversations in China took place there. All of my favorite drinks were concocted there.

An out-of-focus picture of Chris taking a picture at Haozi's.

Anyway, after a bizarre dinner with the director of the Yali Alumni Association and a student's parents, I decided to make the hour-long trek across the river to Haozi's. I naively hoped to finish lesson-planning for the rest of the week there. The duration of time I was actually in the cafe was just what I expected--familiar faces, a delicious chocolate strawberry drink Haozi created on the spot, good music. Of course, no significant progress was made on lesson planning. It wasn't until when I was about to leave when some strange/grotesque/intense things occurred.

First, a random girl sitting nearby suddenly turned to me, shouted "ι™ˆεˆšεŒε­¦, Bye! Bye!" and dashed out the door. No idea who she was. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've never met her in my life. How did she know my name? Truly inexplicable.

Then, as we were walking from Haozi's to the noodle shop, I noticed a sizable frog in front of me, heading towards the street. It was already past midnight; few cars were out. So, I didn't think the frog would have any trouble crossing the street. Unfortunately (as you probably already guessed, why else would I bring it up?) the frog met an unfortunate end. Midway through the road, a taxi came by, and... squish. Actually, it was more of a pop, like the sound of a balloon pumped with too much air.

This is actually the second time I witnessed something of this sort. About a month ago, I saw a dog get hit by a car that was going down the wrong way of a one-way street. The poor dog limped to the sidewalk and died, right in front of me. People say these things come in threes. I'm terrified to see what will be the third...

The end to my night was spicy. Literally. Xiaohong, this friend who works at Haozi's, brought Chris and me along to a noodle restaurant for her midnight snack. She warned us that the item she usually gets is extremely spicy, but being foolhardy young men, we refused to go for a milder choice. Bad decision. It was the single spiciest dish I have ever had. Ever. A spice that numbed not only the areas around my mouth, but my entire face. Brain-numbing spice. My stomach did somersaults, my legs wobbled. Chris and I emptied the water cooler. More than a few tears were shed.


Terrence said...

ive been wondering recently about the power of certain numbers. jeff tai was telling me that the number three was significant across cultures because of the way our brains work - spice addled or not - we can't hold more than three disparate thoughts in our head. or something. now im getting it all muddled up. ill ask him again :).

Gang said...

hmmm.. thats interesting.

what other numbers have you found to have...seemingly-random significances?