Happy Fourth of July! We celebrated with pork ribs and Coke (with ice!) at China's first Texas barbecue joint.

It made up for the long day I had today. The weather was well into the 90s, as usual, with a heat index of about 107. My office's single, extremely ineffective air conditioner doesn't cool the corner where I sit, so I was feeling a bit warm and drowsy even before I took a walk outside for a lunch meeting. The walk to and from the meeting was stifling, but the hour long, unairconditioned taxi ride I took after that was even more so.

I arrived at last in Pudong (the far-flung Brooklyn to our cozy Manhattan) at the Super Brand mall, an eight-story collection of stores and restaurants. I had a meeting at a new cafe that hasn't yet opened, but I was told it was in Super Brand Mall and next door to Hooters (yes, Hooters). I wandered through the mall, upstairs and down, and didn't see Hooters anywhere. Finally I was reduced to asking perhaps the most mortifying question I have ever asked: "Can you tell me how to find the Hooters?"

I asked several people about the Hooters in both Chinese and English, and kept getting answers like, "Go straight and then turn left." "Is it on this level?" "It's on this level, yes." After ten minutes, a thought dawned. I went back to the first concierge.

"Where is the Hooters?"

"Straight ahead, then left."

"When you say go left, do you mean go outside the mall and walk left down the street?"

"Yes, go outside, to the left."

No one ever told me that. Not once.

Pudong has wide, shadeless suburban-style streets, so I wandered, sun-dazed, down to the Hooters and then the cafe next door. The meeting was wonderful, but the taxi ride back as oppressive as the one that took me there.

All sweltering day long, I looked forward to resting in my air-conditioned apartment. When I opened the door, I found the dogs lying panting on the living room floor and the windows wet and steamy. The power was out.

(Now I feel terrible complaining about our broken air conditioning considered thousands and thousands of people here in China don't have electricity at all, but nonetheless, I felt pretty sick.)

Heat-addled, I made the dubious decision to fall asleep, figuring Dev would take care of the power when he returned from work. An hour later, I woke with a jolt and a gasp to the sound of Dev opening the front door. I was dazed, breathless, covered in sweat, completely disoriented.

The electrical box was locked, so Dev and I took the dogs downstairs on a walk to the property management office. Dev went inside to inquire about the power while I stook outside with the dogs. Several minutes later, I was weak and weaving, and had to lie down on the lawn with the dogs, made blessedly docile by the heat.

Finally, an electrician came to the apartment and uncovered our dangerously inadequate wiring with several small smoking explosions in the switchbox. He hastily taped together a makeshift solution, and promised to return tomorrow with a safer one.

Which, in sum, is why I was so happy to have Coke with ice.

Also - we have some great photos from Mina and James' recent visit, to be posted soon.