It’s been a pretty awesome two days off. I spent last night at my friend Rose and Mark’s…We decided to get together one last time since I’m leaving on Sunday, so we ordered out for Thai. Rose used a gift certificate I got her for her birthday and ordered the Pad Thai, at my recommendation. But, amazingly, she did NOT like it! I blame the heaping portion, combined with the fact that the restaurant (unusually) skimped on the sweet sauce a bit, but Rose said she thought it had more veggies and it was just too much pasta. I had to agree in that it wasnt the best Pad Thai I had ever had, but it was too bad they decided to fail when I was introducing a friend to a new dish. While we ate, we watched Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I would actually have been keen on seeing Episode II or III since I havent seen them eight thousand times, but even so, I enjoyed another showing of the classics.
Today here in Puke, I did some shopping about and picked up some gifts for ppl in Buffalo and, happily, got some amazing deals in the process. I went to a curio shop that wasnt overly touristy (meaning un-hiked prices) and although the manager, whom I had talked to the previous day, smelled a sale like sharks do blood, she was willing to wheel and deal a bit. I sensed as much and wanted to initiate the haggle procedure, but I’ve had poor luck with it in the past, and having worked retail, and just being American (I suspect), I tend to take a price for what it is instead of bargaining. At least in my own experience, you really only bargain at garage sales and flea markets. In stores, the price is what it is, and if you dont like it, you can leave…But the canny saleswoman noted my reluctance and offered to bring the price down on a greenstone piece by 25% (I’d come in and out since I’d been there, so I know her merchandise barely moves), which I was pleased about and pretty much chomped down on the hook. I also picked up a greenstone ring to add to my travel necklace, a tiki piece, and a wood carving as well. The tiki pieces and carving were $12, and $18, respectively, and holding both in hand, I said aloud I was unsure, and really was debating on buying one or the other, but the saleswoman offered to throw them both in for $10 if I took the greenstone piece and ring. Score! I threw in a black cord for my rings with a greenstone clasp, and she threw in an extra braided cord for my rings, in case I preferred something sturdier. Maybe its just the materialist in all of us, but the day seems just a bit brighter when you score a good deal of stuff.
I hopped next door to the Thai restaurant, not really wanting anything, but just poking my head in and browsing in the same way one looks in the fridge, knowing theres nothing in there one wants but you have to check anyways. And I recognized the woman behind the counter as an occasional supporter of Vimutti Monastery, and she recognized me as the Caretaker. We chatted a bit, caught up, and they offered me a free lunch as a Dana offering! Score again! So I had pork larb salad with a side of steamed rice, and it was PERFECT. All spicy, lemony, and overall delicious. Still, with so much good going on, I figured it would be good to keep passing on that good kamma, so I stopped over at the Westpac bank and made a donation to the Samoan Tsunami Relief Account. I’d been reading a New Zealand newspaper over lunch, and I was suprised by the devastation, frankly. The previous news I’d heard last week had been right after the tsunami had struck, as opposed to the damage tally a week later, and I figured it might be a good idea to help out in that small way.
Aaaaand right now, I’m researching car rentals but also fooling around on the net for an hour more before I have to return to Vimutti. I have two more days of work there, then Saturday’s the Asian Food Fair. And then on Sunday I fly out for good…But that’s off in the future.
It’s 3:30 p.m. right now and it’s been a good day.