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.
First, a random girl sitting nearby suddenly turned to me, shouted "陈刚同学, 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.