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Traveling With Just a Briefcase

I took a one night, two day trip to one to the provinces this past weekend. It was all very pleasant, I had a nice time, I got to stop by some local businesses and see how they were making goods to wholesale, and it was nice to be out in the clean and fresh air.

But maybe the most enjoyable part of thing was traveling with just a briefcase.

I'd only done that once before, a few years ago. I forgot about how nice and convenient it is. I wore the same pair of jeans, packed my computer and a couple basics, and bought a new shirt after I arrived. Man, it's nice getting through the airport without any luggage, and the additional mobility from not having any gear to worry about is nice.

Unless I'm under time pressure when I arrive or I already have a place I like to stay in a city that I've been before, I tend to not book anywhere to stay - I just arrive and walk around. Frequently this surprises/amazes people, but I think it works really well.

I walked into a business hotel at around 8PM in the evening after it started getting dark. Their rates were 170 RMB for their cheapest room to 800 RMB for the most expensive. I said, "I want one night. What's the absolutely best price you can do?" The girl at the desk offered me 88 RMB, which I took.

Outake #1 WARNING some erotic content. If you don't like that stuff, don't read. Story continues on Sunday.

On The Case of the Fiery Grillman

Those of you following the story will better understand the characters and their relationships than those popping in for the first time. For newbies, I would suggest you start from the beginning and in your mind insert what follows in the previous post where Hilton says, “Djuna got that boy so hot, always comin’ on then pulling away.” But as Djuna might say, “Do what you feel.”


Djuna sat in the break room reflecting on the word, ‘deft’ – specifically, times when she had been deft in her handling of men - hoping review would aid her in the ploy ahead. Conceived on the fly, it was not a highly plotted gambit, relying heavily on skill, intuition, and improvisation, and timing would be vital in the opening and closing moves. Johnny was off, having attended a wake, and would be waiting out front in 5 minutes. Luckily, he was pathologically on time, a constant. Considering angles and obstacles, she realized that the outcome was important to her. Her mission was exploratory, a heightening of tension, a next step, but relations with Paul had been balanced to a nicety and significant setback was possible. Risk set her adrenaline flowing. She was ready - heels stashed in her bag for stealthy entrance and quick exit.

She was waiting for the sound of the locker room door where Paul would change from chef’s clothes to civvies. It took longer than anticipated before the door creaked open and then closed with a solid thud. She rose and crossed the hall to stand before it, trying to time the speed with which he would remove his chef’s coat, t-shirt, hound’s-tooth pants and possibly underwear; she waited a beat longer, then another, thought she might wait for a third but got impatient and opened the door. A moment too late. He stood shirt off and shoeless in the dim yellow light with his back to the door, and didn’t turn, choosing instead to button his impossibly faded Levi’s. Instinct took over. She stepped quickly behind him and covered his eyes. “Guess who?”

“Djuna,” he guessed immediately and finished buttoning his pants. Skill would have to compensate for the miss in timing. She kept her hands over his eyes and improvised, “Are you a man who can keep promises?”

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