Nurse Xshi is my private attendant while I’ve been recuperating, with a ring of cobalt blue stones around my left knee. She has been informing me that Chinese medicine is not only the use of precious stones and herbal remedies -as much maligned in the West- but also a very progressive national health plan, which in my case includes such post-stone placement benefits as a personal physical therapist (Miss Xshi), extended hospitalized recovery (with 24-hr. gaming room access) and all the Mu Shu Pork Rolls I could ever desire.

It is this last category that I am still working to come to terms with. You see in China, pork is sort of an umbrella term... And you’d be surprised just how many things taste just like pork. Take for example dog. The Chinese have used dog meat in their cuisine down through history. And I guess as a cyclist, I, of all people, should view eating dog through the Hammurabian lens of, “An ankle for an ankle”. But what if Lassie wasn’t barking, “Timmy has fallen into the well!”, but rather, “I’d prefer to be served in wrappers with a savory plum sauce”?

So rehab has left a kind of yin/yang taste in my mouth. The care, food, and hospitality has made this stop a pampered respite, “Three of Spots”. But this kind of unplanned intermission, “Green Dragon”, on the pathway of one’s own sojourn, well, “East Wind”, it only seems to make the soles of one’s feet more itchy. Opiates, “I’ve got a Flower!” are not the only mind-numbing administratives here... As the Taoist monks like to profess, one must be in harmony with the flow of life, and not let the distractions of the day-to-day... “Mahjong!”

Now where was I, oh yes, Taoism embraces the state of emptiness and nothingness, as a means to cut through the social affectations of daily life. “Say, Miss Xshi, are you sure these Thousand Year Old Eggs are fresh?” As I was saying, when one chooses to eschew worldly comforts in order to seek enlightenment, one needs to...

“Regretfully, we will have to postpone further visitation with Mr. Global Freddie, as it is time for his yak butter massage, and warm sake, foot bath pedicure. You come back next month, OK?” -Nurse Xshi.

<INDEX                                                    MARCH - 2001                                                 NEXT>

Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie