Blood and Beer (Naughty or Nice?)

Trip Start Oct 08, 2007
1
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Trip End Dec 16, 2008


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Flag of China  ,
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Today is totally different than any other day at the monastery. To begin with, it is raining, so no one goes to the river for a rock. Instead, I do some sun salutations with Han under the shelter at the entrance of the monastery. The monks think it is cool. We trade some stretching tips.
 
The morals after breakfast are low and the practice session in lax. No one is in a mood to work out too hard. The sheltered space is smaller and it limits the number of jump kicks you can do in a row. Instead, the guys are busy to show off and jump as high as they could. The really impressive jumps are rewarded with "Whaa Seee!", delivered with the same tone of voice as the "What'z Uuuuup" greeting in the Heineken commercial. We joke that the mushrooms, that the kids picked in the forest around the monastery yesterday, that we ate for breakfast were really a party mushrooms. Yes, there are 3 little boys, 8 and 10 years old, who live and train with the monks.
 
Even Mimbo is slacking a bit. Mimbo is Japanese. Quiet and by far works the hardest of everyone. He is at the practice space at 6 am and stays there till after dawn. I see him at lunch, but I don't think he takes a rest after like all of the other students. He practices, and practices, and practices. The results are impressive. Every newcomer's reaction is the same when they see Mimbo flip forward in the air and then jump land into a split - Whooa!  He looks the part too - always wearing black slacks and a T-shirt, tight around his waste with a wide red belt. Beyond his incredible fitness, he has a posture, a presence. He seems to be in a world of his own, where every move is perfect and every punch is powerful. It is actually very pleasing to watch.
 
In the afternoon someone bring out a biceps spring. You know, a stick of steel that you grab by the ends and slowly bend and unbend it. Everybody gives it a go. Shimmi wants to know how many times I can bend it. I bend it twice, while he is edging away from me, ready to jump. I laugh at him but he shows me a bruise on his chest where the spring hit when he accidentally let go one of the ends. There is a bigger spring, but I don't even try for that on. We go back to practice.
 
Some time later, there is a commotion. Something is happening. I look in the direction that everyone is looking at and my eyes fall on Mimbo. He is pacing slowly the monastery courtyard, expressionless, soundless. His left eye is gone. Instead, there is a bright red blob that matches the color of his belt. It's like a scene from those kung-fu movies. He doesn't say a word, he is just pacing. He hit himself with the spring, someone says loudly, he hit himself with the spring.
 
I don't want to believe it. A feeling of loss overwhelms me for something beautiful is broken. I look away in denial. It is not happening. I look again. It is happening indeed. Then, I remember that I'm supposed to have first aid training and run for the first aid kit. Running back into the courtyard I yell - Where is he, Where is he?...
 
Mimbo is by a large mirror leaning against the wall in the little corridor that leads to the kitchen, staring at his face, blood streaming down his chick and neck. Shimmi is helping him to mop the blood with toilet paper. I yell at them to not worry about this now. "Shimmi, I say, call a taxi, we are going to the hospital. Call a taxi NOW! Mimbo, sit down."
 
Mimbo looks around not knowing where exactly to sit. I point to the ground - sit down. Someone brings a small stool and Mimbo sits on it leaning against the wall. He is calm. I look at his eye and a sense of relieve pours down on me. His eye seems intact, not even bloody. He's split his eyelid and the blood is streaming from there. It is a severe wound. There is a large blob filled with yellow liquid. But his eye is intact. I open my first aid kit and frantically look for something to patch him with, yelling at Shimmi to stop mopping that blood and call a taxi.
 
"Mimbo, you want to go to a hospital, right?", I ask.
"Yes, I think so", he says softly.
"Here, hold this"
 
I hold a sterile patch to his eye with the tips of my left hand, while trying to get the sticky tape out of the first aid kid. I flash back to my First Aid instructor telling us that the last thing you want to be doing in an emergency is looking for the sticky tape's lose edge, so better have it folded. Note to self - fold the bloody edge for the next time. What else did he say? - reassure the victim, make a physical contact if necessary. I'm holding my fingers against Mimbo's forehead. Is that reassuring enough physical contact? I really want to give him a hug and tell him that he's gonna be alright but I think that will be awkward and less reassuring to him than to me. My hands are shaking and I wonder if he can feel that.
 
The taxi comes and a crowd of people heads for the hospital - Shimmi, couple of the local students, Dan, myself and Mimbo of course. I'm surprised that no one protests me going. They let me sit at the front. As we head down to Dali, I turn around to check on Mimbo and see one of the local guys handing out cigarettes.
 
"What are you doing?!", I raise my voice in outrage. He doesn't understand, so I show with hands that:
a)      This is not allowed, and
b)      I'll smack him.
 
Mimbo says that he'd like to have one, but I say that he can not. Then I ask him what exactly he thinks will happen when he smokes a cigarette after he hasn't had one for a while.
 
"You'll get sick", I end my tirade.
"But I smoke some times", he tries to reason.
"Oh yha? When was your last cigarette?"
"A-hu, yesterday... I smoke 4-5 a day"
"What?! You smoke 4-5 a day?!" I give him a look, poisonous enough to alleviate the nicotine craving for a while. "Well, you can not smoke now", I say firmly, following my first aid instructions.
 
At the hospital, we all sit outside the doctor's office. The nurse calls the doctor on his mobile. He will be arriving shortly. We wait. And wait. And wait.
 
The door of the room across from us is open. There is a scale right next to the door. Mimbo gets up and gets on the scale, than sits back on the bench with a big exhale.
"What?", I say jokingly, "need to go on a diet?"
"Yes", he replies, "3 more kilos"

Now that really makes me smile. I know 3 kilos make a difference when you run. They probably make even bigger deferens when you are flipping forward and jump kicking, but please. This guy is a solid muscle.
"Mimbo, you'll have to loose off your muscle weight", I say smiling.
"Ah, no, I still have some fat" he says modestly, but I can see a little embraced smile. "I really want a cigarette"- now he is whining like a little kid that has finished all on his plate and wants to get to the desert already.
 
The local guy shows him he'll be smacked if he does that and everybody looks kind of expectantly at me. I think I'm pushing my luck here. It is in a way very comical. On a physical level, these guys can squash me as a little annoying bug, yet they are asking for my permission to smoke - a birth right in this country. I give them the disappointed mother look and say: "You are grown ups. Suit yourself." They settle for a fag right by the non-smoking sign in the hospital lobby. The doctor is still to come.

*** 
Have to run for the train. Will finish this in a few days. Check back.

***
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