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Monday, June 21, 2004

Friday: Drenched in a Flood!

Going to teach my Friday morning section, frustration
appeared across my face as none of them had done their
homework. Not having much to discuss with them, they
ended up getting off early as I was a tad bit
disgusted. Coming home, my first task was to give
Melissa and Alex a phone call and wish them a happy
wedding. This was a bit more difficult than I though
that it would be. Managing to get a hold of Alex, he
was with Jill, and they were heading to Tampa. We
talked and caught up. He seemed very tired. I believe
that the wedding stress was getting to him. I then
called Melissa¡¯s mom, Brenda, and Johnny before
finally getting to talk with Melissa. It was so good
to hear her voice. She is one of the most important
people in the world to me. She also seemed to be a
little stress. I just tried to tell her to enjoy the
moment and let love find its place within her heart.
She is a beautiful person, and I know that she and
Alex belong together. Say goodbye, my journey to
Beijing commenced as I arrived at the train station.
The thought of taking the bus was too much, so I
happily bought my train ticket. Sitting in my seat,
the ride was a little unnerving as the drug dealer who
tried to sell me some stuff in Beijing was sitting two
rows behind me. Not wanting to talk with him, I
noticed two British boys. Overhearing his conversation
with them, they had declined his offer for drugs, so I
figured to join them in order to make it look like we
were together. The three of us talked and enjoyed our
conversation. They seemed to be affluent upper middle
class boys that had been traveling for the past
several months around Asia. It seems to be quite
common for British people to do this. They all tell me
to go to India as it is one of the most wonderful
places on Earth. This might be my next destination.
Discussing everything from travel to politics, the
trip seemed so short. Arriving in Beijing, the heaves
opened up the gates of the eternal river and a flood
was let loose upon the Earth. Despite having an
umbrella, my shoes and clothes were drenched by the
time that I arrived at the hostel. Changing into some
warm clothes, I spent the rest of my evening watching
Shrek, Platoon, and the final season of Friends. It
was a good night. Met some really interesting people.
Hostels are amazing places to stay.

Saturday: Shopping Spree!

Waking up early this morning, my primary concern was
packing my bag for my journey to Tianjin. The train
ride to the city took about two hours, but it arrived
in the city by 10:30. Heading out to find a taxi, most
of them wanted to overcharge me which simply pissed me
off, so I simply got out and spit on their cars.
Finding someone who was not going to try and cheat me,
he drove me around to the Antique market which was
nice. Managed to find some spring festival posters and
a couple of other items. Going to a couple of temples
they were not very impressive, but the markets nearby
were fantastic. The items were marvelous, and the
price could not be beat. Spending several hour there,
my stomach began to growl as it was past lunch time.
Seeing some noodle vendors, a bag of spicy cold noodle
hit the spot. Feeling tired and not wanting to shop
any longer, I went back to the train station and
headed towards Beijing. Getting back to the hostel, a
French girl approached and asked if I would like to
join her and his Chinese friend for dinner. Although
not hungry, the German guy next to me was a little
boring, so we had a wonderful meal together. Deciding
to go for a walk afterwards, the girls showed me
around and treated me to a wonderful ice coffee at a
little Caf¨¦. In return, I sang for them ,and we spent
a long time dancing under the street lights and trees.
They were fantastic. The Chinese girl was in Beijing
for a visit, but Claire was in town from Marseilles in
order to buy some antiques for the French market. She
was truly stunning and a wonderful person. Feeling
tired, we headed back to our rooms, and they retired
for the evening. I spent a good portion of the night
talking politics with a fellow American before being
overcome by sleepiness.

Sunday: The Long Ride Home!

How this day has managed to transpire one could only
guess, but it has been quite an amazing and wonderful
experience. Climbing down from my bunk, everyone else
was still asleep from a long night of watching
European Soccer. Going down stairs, there was no sign
of anyone that I recognized. Wanting something to eat,
I headed down to the little market and got their
version of an egg croissant. It was fantastic. Going
back to the room, the two girls were headed out the
door to one of the large outdoor markets. Wanting to
go, they invited me along, and we were on our way. The
place was huge, and they were selling everything
imaginable under the son. Spending several hours
there, Claire bought a ton of costume pieces in order
to sell. Having wore ourselves out, we went back and
prepared for the rest of the day. Hearing that Claire
had been to Beijing twice and had yet to leave the
city, something possessed me to ask her if she would
like to come to Chengde and surprisingly she agreed.
Grabbing her bags, we headed out the door and to the
train station. When we arrived, they had sold out of
all the tickets except for standing room. Something
possessed me to buy them anyways, and when we got to
the train. It was so crowded and hot. We managed to
find some newspapers to spread out along the floor and
sat scrunched up very tight next to one another. It
was quite uncomfortable, but her company made it
bearable. Swells of hot air would blow down the isle
of the train, so both of our bodies were drenched in
sweat. This was relieved as we approached Chengde, and
once again, the flood gates of heaven were unleashed
upon the world. Arriving at the city, we took the bus
and walked back under my umbrella to my apartment.
Felling quite hungry, we went to the restaurant and
ate then spent the rest of the evening lost in each
others company.

Monday: The Cherry Picker.

Waking up to the early morning son, it was hard to go
to my 8:00 class, but somehow I managed to muddle
through it. Rushing back home, Claire had showered and
readied for the long day ahead. Wanting something for
breakfast, we walked down to the grocery and ate some
Mahwah while we rode the bus to a temple. Claire is
one the most stunning and beautiful person that I have
ever met. She reminds me a lot of a French
impressionist paining. Her hair is long, dark, and
curly and her eyes the deepest shade of brown. The
curves and shape of her body well sculpted by years of
work as a fruit picker in the country side and
mountains of southeast France. She looked to be part
Gypsy though vehemently denounced such a thought. She
did admit though to liking and working with gypsies.
When looking at her, my thoughts kept going to a
portrait which my Grandmother had painted of a gypsy
lady dancing around with her veils. She called Salome,
and Claire looks just like the woman in the painting.
It was a little unnerving to notice the similarities
between the two. She long brown hair often swaying and
blowing in the wind. Heading out to the Tantric
Buddhist temple, we walked and talked. She has many
aspirations, but for the moment, she simply wants to
make money in order to travel and live happily. She
works several jobs in a market, a fruit picker, and a
clerk in a butchers shop. She was quite happy and
enjoyed out life. Leaving the temple, we then went to
the mini Potala. The steps were incredible hard to
climb as my legs were very tired. Eventually we came
back and ate super before heading off to my two class.
Both were extremely bores, so I was happy to arrive
home and surprised to find hearts and love notes taped
all over my walls. Seeing her smiling face waiting for
me, we became lost in each other the rest of the


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