At this very moment, as I'm typing this, I'm sitting in a restaurant on a maroon couch, that is less comfortable than it looks, facing one of those standing reception desks with three hostesses behind it busily yelling into walkie talkies, putting things into bags, taking payments from customers as they leave.  There is a mirror-like panel on the side of the desk facing me, about 20 feet wide with six giant simplified Chinese characters etched into it.  I think the sign says something like "Old North East Something Noodles."  I guess you could call this a "Live" blog entry.

Every time a customer comes in through the front door I feel a little blast of cold air blow in from the ice covered sidewalk outside and hit the left side of my face.  Even as I'm articulating these things into this blog entry I'm surprised at how many customers are coming into and out of this place!  It's as busy as any restaurant is that doesn't have those little plastic beepers with red lights, like The Olive Garden.  This restaurant is about a 15 second walk from our apartment building and, now that I'm noticing it, I think it accounts for a significant percentage of the traffic on the sidewalk in front of our building.  I'm also wondering how many of the cars parked on the street are parked there for this restaurant...

Someone just left one of the doors open and a server walking by ran over to close it.  It was starting to get cold fast, and they don't mess around about the cold here.  There are, of course, two sets of doors separated by a little vestibule that usually provide a little bit of what I think of as an "air lock" between the freezing air outside and the warm air inside.  I guess some people using the "air lock" can be careless and leave it open.

As I was typing the previous paragraph an important looking guy, about my age, moved me from the couch to a two person glass topped table just around the corner from my couch.  He asked me if I was waiting for someone, and I said that I was waiting for take-out.  Never-the-less he sat me down at this little table and gave me a little cup of the traditional hot water, that they give you everywhere here, and a small bowl of either corn nuts or soy nuts.  I'm not planning to eat the nuts because they were sitting on the arm of the couch next to me earlier, and it looked like someone else had been munching on them.  Although the longer they sit there the more tempting they are...  I am not germaphobic so why not?  I've never been able to find corn-nuts here so maybe I've found a source.  (Edit: I never tried them)

A girl that looked about eight years old wearing a bright red coat with a pointy hood just turned around and gave me a good long stare from the reception area.  I have altered my habits a little bit in the last several months, I don't look for people staring at me as much as I used to.  Actually I just avoid looking at people like I'm really cool or something, as if people staring at me is not even interesting to me at all, of course they're staring at me, I'm so cool.  People coming in, at least when I was sitting on the couch, did usually seem to give me a quick glance at least, but not much more than that.  I guess they don't stare at me any more than I would stare at them if they were waiting for a table at The Olive Garden.

A lot of time has passed since my last blog entry, it was cold when I got here, then it got really hot! We've been to at least two countries, Hong Kong, Taiwan that I haven't blogged about.  But other than things like that I don't feel that too many things have happened that I wanted to blog about.  Even this blog entry might not make it into my actual blog, and even if it does I might not click the "Publish" button.  I usually like to blog about amusing or weird things happening.  I guess I've gotten used to the things I used to think were weird or amusing.  But tonight I figured I might blog a little bit about some of the little things, about the details.

To my right, from my table, there is a large, four foot wide, gold painted idol of that really fat smiling guy with huge ear lobes.  I think he's the god of prosperity or something.  There are a few offerings next to him: a pile of apples and some red burnt up incense sticks poked into a little bowl of sand in front of it.  Idols like these are in a majority of restaurants here but this one is very large, shiny, and occupies a very visible and central place in this particular restaurant.

As I was typing the description of the idol a young woman, in her late twenties, came around the corner apparently to meet with her boyfriend who had sat down in front of me a few minutes earlier at the same table as me.  As I was typing, staring into my laptop screen, I noticed her walk around to take a picture of her boyfriend talking on his cell phone.  She was trying to discretely take a picture of both of us.  How do I know?

This is a common thing that happens here: People will take selfies with foreigners, like us, in the background.  I'm not completely sure if they think we foreigners don't notice, or if they just don't want to bother asking, or if it's just OK to take pictures of strangers without asking.  But I can't imagine many other reasons why a girl would want to take a picture of her boyfriend while he was talking on his cell phone.  Either way she has a picture of her boyfriend talking on his cell phone while sitting at a table across from a foreigner who's frowning into the glowing screen of his laptop that he brought into the restaurant because he knew he'd have to wait a little while for his food.

I imagine that she'll post the photo she took on one of the selfie cluttered social media networks that's popular here like WeChat.  But I can't imagine what the comment would be.  "My boyfriend's cell phone battery lasts all the way until dinner time!"  Or "My boyfriend is having dinner with the actual god of prosperity, look at his huge ear lobes and belly!"

This little incident tonight was just one example of a detail of my life that is just a little different than the details of my life when I lived on the other side of the globe.  This is one of the details, that differ, something that I used to notice but that I've forgotten about since I got here a year ago.

Maybe one of these days I'll do a selfie with someone in the background doing a selfie with me in the background.