I don't even have time to write about all of the good, but let me start here: Hammocks=Happiness.
I find this hammock on furniture street first thing during our Saturday shopping day, and now all I want to do is sit on my roof. I don't want to go anywhere except for small trips to the alley for food. Maybe I can even blog up there.
We three castle dwellers have a united vision for our rooftop and are rapidly making it happen; last night we had our first guests over and all of them responded the same way..."We want to live here...we should have waited a bit longer to find something like this..." It's cool up there in the evenings...a breeze is something I never felt in China. Here it's hot, but there are periods of respite.
It's hard to stop thinking and writing about the hammock, but here's more good: our alley grid mornings hold the most magnificent markets. Every day we walk past baskets of fresh fish, vegetables, cuts of meat, noodles, bread...and yesterday we discover that the weekend market is ten times bigger and better. I will not spend the time to list all of the things offered, but I will mention a highlight-- I take a favorite brown Gap dress over to my neighbor the seamstress this morning and, just like she said, we walk down the street and choose some material (a lovey purple cotton) and next Saturday she will have my dress replicated. It will cost me $12 total. (Yesterday I did go with Alice and her mother to their seamstress and she is also making me two dresses this week.)
One woman selling coconut cakes speaks good enough English to ask me, "Are you living in the foreigners' house?" "Yes" I say. "You, your husband and your friend?" I clarify that we are three friends. "What are you doing here?" and so on...but this conversation confirms what we already know: the alley grid is a buzz about the Foreigners' House. People are beginning to wave and invite us to sit with them at the little plastic table and chairs in the evenings. We haven't done this yet.
Our castle space works great. When I am in my top chamber, I don't really even know if the other two are home. We do things together a lot, especially now because we are getting the house ready, but today we just debrief our adventures at the end of the day. I love it.
Part II: The Ant (dedicated to Chris)
Chris and I had a big problem with some medium sized army ants (and some very large beetles) on our Costa Rica trip last May and were forever changed by it. That experienced helps me with what happens in my castle chamber the other night. I notice that a string of miniscule ants are crawling up the wall into the corner before I go to bed Friday night and I think, well, I guess it's something I can deal with in the morning. Which is exactly what happens. I deal with hundreds of these miniscule ants in my bed, crawling all over me. What a way to wake up after a rough week. So what about the Costa Rica ants? I'm just grateful that my bed ants did not have ugly wings like those ones did. So I fight a good battle and I think I have conquered them. I'm telling you, living in a castle is rough! (Chris, maybe you can learn how to post a comment for this one??)
So I haven't seen a rat yet, anywhere, in this city. Friday night I'm walking home and I sense movement around a lovely Buddhist shrine sitting on a lovely balcony. On second take, I see it is a rat's tail, wrapping itself right around Buddha's belly. What a juxtaposition. And here are a few more "uglies" from our walk around Chinatown yesterday: a cart selling "Dogs and Dusters" (your guess is as good as mine) and now just check out these mannequins:
Well, it's Sunday night and I need to plan for tomorrow. Ancient history, Brian, that's where Ozti fits in. You know...how do archeologists put the pieces together... And "Eleven" -- you really want to hear about that? Well, the girl's name is Rachel and she has a problem with a big ugly sweater. My students don't know if Rachel is a boy's name or a girl's name. They don't know what a sweater is. But they are awfully cute. There... how's that? Yeah, so, I have to plan, and all I want to do is to go to my rooftop and swing in the breeze in my hammock...