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Arrival: The first few months

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  • Arrival: The first few months

    What a nightmare.

    Traveling from Phuket Thailand, via Bangkok and Japan, to Los Angeles. But, with lots of phone calls and emails to friends in China, I had it all arranged. Shi Xing Wei was going to arrive at LAX at 1100 AM, just minutes before I was scheduled to arrive from Japan.

    I didn't think it would be a problem for him to wait a few minutes in the terminal. It would only be a few minutes.

    But, I had backup mechanisms in place. He had phone numbers of other friends in LA who could go and pick him up, if for some reason, I got delayed in Japan. I had a flight scheduled for us, on that Friday, for LAX to Las Vegas, for 1:30 PM, a flight that, if all went well at customs, that we would make. Being a Friday, it was the last flight that was available for that day. Everybody in California wants to go to Vegas on Friday afternoon. I had the flight booked two weeks in advance, from Thailand, so that we could both get home on the same day.

    Lots of planning. Lots of correspondence. All thought out well in advance.

    I never, ever took into account the presence of an 80 year old woman at the Information counter.

    I arrived on time. And quite to my surprise, I didn't oversleep during my ten hour layover in Japan. And also quite to my surprise, the five customs agents who took interest in my passport and computer profile, for some strange reason, decided not to search me for hours and hours. I was out in the terminal early. At 1100 AM. I figured I beat Xingwei out of customs.

    On the board, was a flight, CE 983, from Beijing, due to arrive at 1120. Knowing that Xingwei was on China Air 983 from Beijing, due to arrive at the same time, I figured that was his. But, the CE moniker kind of disturbed me. China Air is known as CA, not CE. But, with my memory, and the fact that I had traveled for over thirty hours at this point, I decided to put my trust in someone more intelligent about these things than I. And, someone more awake.

    I went to the Information Counter in Tom Bradley International terminal.

    She was barely alive. I was actually amazed that this woman was able to stand. In fact, during my medical school training, I dissected healthier looking humans than her. So, putting the whole "gentleman" bullshit aside, i decided to talk to the older man who was sitting next to her. He must not have been more than 85 years old. He was in fairly good shape though.

    "Can you tell me when CA 983 arrives?"


    "China Air 983. Do you know when it arrives?"

    "You have to speak up sonny."

    Sonny. Can't remember the last time someone called me sonny.

    "You better ask her. She knows these things...."

    She, to my surprise, was still breathing. So, I decided to ask her.

    "Can you tell me when China Air 983 arrives?"

    She knew exactly what I was talking about. And, she could hear. And she was sharp. I immediately got the impression, that when these two were getting it on, she was the one directing the whole thing. On top. Do me this way or I'll whoop your Depends clad but. She was the boss. No doubt. I had visions of an oxygen tank under a bed in some sleazy hourly rate hotel, with a bed that you put quarters into. I wondered if they shared the same oxygen mask.

    "Yes, let's see, CE 983 is late, it will be in at 12:30"

    Authoritative old woman. Reminded me of the ninety year old female ex-concentration camp guard that threw us out of King Ludwig's castle in Bavaria many years ago. Now, THAT was a good time.

    Late. I started to wonder if we were going to make that 1:30 flight to Vegas. I just wasn't sure if there was another flight leaving that day that we could get on. But this CE versus CA nonsense was bothering me. So, I asked her about it.

    "Well, my friend is on CA 983, not CE 983. They're different airlines, I think."

    I had thought so, but, I've learned not to trust my memory anymore. Besides, I was so exhausted from muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, and lack of sleep over the previous two days, that if Charles Manson was standing behind the Information desk in a bikini, I would have believed him too.

    "CE, CA, they're all Chinese airlines. They're all the same." She gave me this look like I was an absolute complete ****ing idiot. A look something like, "Well, if you had ever gone to China, you would know that they're the same airline..." How could I not know that.

    So, off I went to wait for Xingwei's plane. I had an hour. That's when I had this epiphany, that I coud save time if I walked to the domestic terminal, and check my luggage in. This way, when Xingwei arrived, we could run with his baggage to the domestic terminal, and try to make that 1:30 flight. Which, is what I did. I tried to check Xingwei in also, but, the ticket agent refused to do so for me. Something about "lacking a body..." Damn, I was tired.

    Back to the international terminal to wait. And wait. And wait. And be watched. And watched. And watched.

    Being big and bald is one thing in today's world of increased security. Being big and bald and semi-drugged is another. I had two airport police hanging out behind me for about an hour. It was almost 2 PM at this point. I had waited for two and a half hours. Xingwei's plane, CE 983, had arrived, but no Xingwei came out of customs. In fact, just to make sure that they didn't impound everyone from CE 983, I went up to two young Chinese women, whom I thought had come off of CE 983. I asked them if they had been on CE 983 from Beijing, to which, they didn't respond. In fact, they kind of looked at me funny, with one of those "who the **** wants to know" looks. Asian women become so Americanized, oh so very fast. It then occured to me that asking them if they had seen a young Chinese man on the plane would not exactly be an act of demonstrative brilliance. I decided to wish them well, play the part of the fool, and work on the cops. It was time to chill out the two airport cops, by going up and talking to them. They had been watching me for too long. And my episode with the two Chinese girls had not really gone over well.

    I played dumb and stupid, which, considering my state of mind at that time, was not too hard. Just a simple question. How long does it take for a Chinese non-immigrant to clear customs? By this time, I had visions of Xingwei in some US Customs cubicle with handcuffs on. Waiting for a plane back to China.

    "Oh, sometimes it takes hours. And hours. You never know when they'll release people..."

    It was after 2 PM. And I couldn't imagine another couple of hours waiting for Xingwei to come out. So I returned to the Information desk. She was still alive. In fact, I even mentioned it to her. "Wow. You're still here."

    She looked at me funny.

    I decided that the better part of valor was to ask the other guy that was there. I was not too happy with the CE and CA argument, being the same airline. But, the terminal I was in, was the only international terminal I could remember at the time. I asked the guy if he knew anything about CA 983. He was a different guy than the previous one. He could hear. And, apparently, he didn't take any shit from the domineering Nazi Helga type that he was working with.

    "Yes, CA 983 arrived at 1100. At the terminal next door."

    Xingwei had been waiting at the terminal next door, the very one that I walked past to get to the domestic terminal to check in early at, since 1100. He had been wondering why I didn't come through US Customs, just as I was wondering why he hadn't.

    Brilliant. But, we were lucky. Out of all the airlines and all the flights that were heading to Vegas from LAX on Friday, there were only two seats left. Two first class seats, on a 6:30 PM flight. A flight that was delayed. I bought them.

    And Xingwei tolerated his first English lesson with me, with a drugged and exhausted me, in LAX domestic terminal.

    "Ni hen lai ma?" ARE YOU TIRED? I made him repeat it after me.

    "Bu hen lai".

    "Hen hao". VERY GOOD. Damn these monks. They never get tired.

    First English lesson was over. I sat in my chair in the terminal, and watched fake breasts walk by for a few hours. Two and a half months in Asia was over. God, how different life was in the US....
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)

  • #2
    She knew exactly what I was talking about. And, she could hear. And she was sharp. I immediately got the impression, that when these two were getting it on, she was the one directing the whole thing. On top. Do me this way or I'll whoop your Depends clad but. She was the boss. No doubt. I had visions of an oxygen tank under a bed in some sleazy hourly rate hotel, with a bed that you put quarters into. I wondered if they shared the same oxygen mask.
    Thanks for the nightmares...

    practice wu de


    • #3
      Hey, it's what we all have to look forward to...

      Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

      "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

      (more comments in my User Profile)


      • #4
        I figure when all is said and done though, you just rent the stuff anyway.

        Seriously, traveling can be a drag, especially when going half-way around the world.
        practice wu de


        • #5
          Doc's medical misadventures....

          "God dammit Tonya, where the **** have you been....?"

          I had just arrived back at the airport in Las Vegas. I left Tuesday afternoon, for the world renowned, Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale Arizona. My purpose: to see a world renowned allergy specialist. to figure out why the allergy shots I got from some money hungry mother ****er allergist, triggered my immune system to start reacting to all sorts of environmental ****. I've had a miserable summer, on top of a miserable year, and I finally wanted to figure out what my options were to get better. I just wasn't having the best of luck with the local care I was getting.

          It was an interesting trip. And a complete waste of time.

          It all started on Tuesday. I had an appointment with this allergist for Wednesday morning. Shi Xing Hong was arriving Tuesday afternoon. So, the plan was, for me to pick Shi Xing Hong up at the airport, say hi, and then leave him with my trustworthy housekeeper, Tonya, and Steve, the long haired one. But before I left, I had to do something with that god awful headache that woke me up at 3 AM that morning. I took two Advil pain relievers Tuesday afternoon before I left for the airport.

          We got Shi Xing Hong at his scheduled arrival time. He was definitely happy to see me. Shi Xing Wei, was definitely unhappy that I was going. I tried to explain that I was going to be gone for one night, to a hospital, for some health care out of town, but he just didn't seem to understand that. My packed bag, and my leaving on Tuesday, made him wonder. But the knowledge that Shi Xing Hong was coming, seemed to make him very happy. So happy in fact, that they've been routinely staying up until 3 AM talking each night.

          I said hi to Xinghong, and then told him that I was leaving. I was only going to be gone for two days at the most. He was just going to have to keep himself busy with Xingwei while I was gone. They were going to have the run of the house, which, I felt, was going to be interesting. I know how Xingwei likes to watch television. I also know how Xinghong likes to watch television. The two of them together was going to be quite the TV marathon.

          Tonya and Steve took Xinghong home, and I got on my plane to Arizona. On the way, I started to experience some trouble breathing, followed by some throat heaviness and tightness. I had some itching of my face, lips and throat. All this, that started just before we took off. I observed it for a short while, knowing damn well what it was, and, for that matter, not being very happy about it. I watched and observed my sypmtoms for a bit in the hopes that I was wrong about what it was.

          I wasn't wrong. I was suffering an anaphylactic reaction. On the airplane. Most likely, from either the Advil I took, or from the pollen and leaves that the cleaning guys had wiped off the roof that afternoon. My bet was on the Advil. My throat was swelling up. And there was no hospital access for at least an hour and a half.

          I've taken care of far too many people with anaphylactic reactions. It's a nasty way to die. Yet, I had saved every one of them. If your aggressive with your treatment, no one needs to die from allergic reactions. My problem was, I didn't have all the equipment I needed. And I certainly couldn't do everything that might have been necessary, to myself.

          But I did have some medications with me. I make it a point to carry certain things that I think I might need. And because of my allergic problems this year, I had started carrying a bunch of stuff with me. I started medicating the hell out of myself, to ward off the effects of the reaction.

          It was a long flight.

          Upon my arrival to Phoenix, I found a cab, and had him take me directly to the Mayo Clinic, which was about a half hour away. Upon arriving there, I discovered that the Mayo Clinic, is just a clinic, and not a hospital. The hospital is about twenty miles away. But fortunately, my throat, though still swollen, had stopped progressing with the medication that I had taken. And more fortunately, I had noticed a hospital on the way to the clinic. We turned back, and I entered the Emergency 'Room.

          I explained to the doc there what had happened, and he initiated more treatment for me. Gave me some medications that I hadn't had, and, within an hour or so, I was feeling better. I was in a motel room that night, still with a slightly swollen throat, but, able to breathe.

          The next morning found me in a monster hospital machine system. The Mayo is a site to behold, when it comes to managing patients and the consultants that they are meant to see. I spent almost two hours with my allergy specialist, during which time, I had thought I had explained everything to him. And, well. The nice thing about being a physician patient, is that you know how to organize the information, so that your doctor doesn't have to keep asking questions to keep things on track. I basically had it all put together for him.

          After that, I was off to other consultants and appointments. And later that afternoon, I started to feel strange.

          A slow walk to the restaurant across the street found me starting to have the sensation of throat tickling. Then, my neck started to get itchy and swell. I was besides myself; sitting in this seafood restaurant, getting ready to order some food, food which I hadn't eaten since the morning before, and here I was developing a recurrent allergic reaction. I initially tried to get a taxi to the Mayo Hospital, which was twenty miles away, but, after waiting five minutes, and finding the allergic reaction progressing far too quickly for comfort, I went across the street to the hospital I was in the night before, and got admitted to the ER.

          I certainly didn't have much time this night. The allergic reaction progressed quickly. Very quickly.

          Intravenous medications were administered to combat the quickly progressing allergic reaction. No, pills that I had in my bag certainly weren't going to stop this one. Not this time. It was out of control. Bur fortunately, things got under contol, about seven hours later. I found myself admitted to the hospital for the night.

          The next day, I was discharged around ten AM. I was feeling quite well, all loaded up on steroids and antihistamines. My flight was at 1 PM, so I made the necessary arrangements at the hotel, and headed for the airport. As I walked to the gate, I started to notice that my face was itchy. When I got to the gate, my chest, neck and face were itchy. I went to the bathroom, and found that I was beet red. And, my throat was starting to swell up again. I took some medications, and then thought about getting on my plane, which was boarding at the time. Would the medications hold me under control for the seventy five minute flight? I really wanted to get home, and I certainly didn't want to spend another night in some small Scottsdale hospital. More medications, more thoughts.. I thought I could keep things under control during the flight, but I just wasn't sure. This time, the reaction seemed to progress quickly. And, I thought about how fast the allergic reaction got out of control the night before. Here I was, two days out from ingesting that Advil, and I was still anaphylaxing from it. How truly bizarre.

          The better part of valor took over my thought processes, and I got off the boarding line and grabbed a taxi. Off I went to the Mayo hospital, thirty minutes away. I decided that it was about time that my Mayo allergist, who didn't believe my allergy problems to be "allergic", saw me in the middle of an anaphylactic reaction. By the time I got to the Mayo hospital, I was beet red, with a swollen throat, but, fortunately, the reaction had stopped progressing because of all the medication I had taken. The ER doc immediately recognized my condition, as did all the nurses, and took me in.

          But, as I had already taken all the necessary medications, there was nothing else to do but wait. A call to my Mayo world renonwned allergy specialist by the ER doc took a while, as the ER doc tried to explain what he had identified in me. The Mayo allergy doc rebuffed him, and told him to give me some Protonix.

          My world renowned allergy specialist thought I was suffering from heartburn.

          ****ing moron. Here I was, suffering recurrent severe allergic reactions, over the past two days, in various hospitals, and all he could think was my swollen throat and difficulty breathing were from gastric reflux. I had ingested and been injected with enough steroids to make a weight lifter out of an elephant, and I had had so many antihistamine agents, that I was constantly walking around in a state mental confusion. And his diagnosis was reflux. Truly a ****ing moron.

          I felt well enough to think I had stabilized, so I told the ER doctor to discharge me. There was nothing for him to do. I returned to the airport, took the next flight, took more medications to stabilize my condition while in the air, and eventually made it to the Las Vegas airport. Neck swollen, a bit discombobulated from all the medications, and slightly whoozy, but, I had made it.

          I called my allergist in Las Vegas, and told him what had happened. He told me to take another medication when I got home, to diminish the recurrence of the allergy attacks. It was quite the educational experience for me, to discover that my local allergist, who I trained when he was a medical student, was more on top of things than this widely respected Mayo clinic god. It was also quite the experience, for me to discover just how screwed up I was.

          "God dammit Tonya, where the **** have you been....?"

          Tonya was late. I had arrived at 4:45 PM, Tonya still wasn't there by 5.20 PM. She had left her truck at the Dodge dealer to get some transmission work done, so she was using her mother's car, a car that I had thought I had remembered well.

          And then I saw her, looking at me through the windshield. She pulled up next to me.

          I opened the door. "God dammit Tonya, where the **** have you been....?" I wasn't exactly pissed, but I had needed to get home to get that other medication. And I could feel my throat starting to swell up again.

          I swung my bag into the back seat, just narrowly avoiding the baby seat in the back. "What the hell are you doing with a baby seat? Is there something you haven't told us?" I didn't understand why Tonya had a baby seat in the back, but, hell, with her sisters doing the things that they do, I wasn't surprised that more "storage" space was going to be needed in the future. "And can you clear all your **** off of my seat, so I can sit down?". I tried to get into the small car, gently pushing the stuff off the passenger seat onto the floor.

          That's when my cell phone rang.

          The caller ID identified the caller as Tonya. So, I answered it.

          "What the **** are you calling me for?" I was getting into the car right next to her. I hung up and turned to laugh at my housekeeper, who had decided to call me as I was getting into her car. God, the things that she does sometimes.

          It wasn't Tonya.

          It was some nine month pregnant young woman that looked like Tonya. She was aghast. Just pure white.

          Her friend, who had been standing next to me, was also aghast. She was pure white too. Mouth agape, just didn't know what to do. What this big bald guy was doing getting into her friends car, was just too much for her. She had a look of puzzlement combined with fear. Just didn't know what to do.

          And the bystanders nearby all just looked at me.

          I stood up and faced this poor pregnant woman whose car I was assaulting, and said, loud enough for all to hear, "Well, what the **** am I trying to get into your car for?"

          A panic situation where some big bald guy was trying to get into some poor little pregnant woman's car, turned into one hell of a hilarious spectacle. Tonya was in her truck, about fifty feet behind us. Everybody laughed at me. I went with it, made some more comments to lighten everyone up a bit, and proceeded to do what I did best sometimes. I made a fool of myself. Just to calm down these two ruffled women. The last thing I needed, during my allergic reaction, was to deliver some poor woman's baby on a sidewalk.

          Ah, the joys of steroids and antihistamines.

          Amazing I got on the right plane....

          Tonya told me that Xingwei had not been happy about the fact that I did not come home when I was supposed to. Xinghong hung out, moved his mattress into the room with Xingwei, and basically had a nightly talk party with Xingwei. That is, when they weren't watching television together. I was not exactly the proper host, inviting Xinghong all the way from Hungary to visit with me, and then, suffer the misadventures of the Mayo Clinic Moron for a few days in Arizona.

          Ironic, life is. Experience a recurring severe allergic reaction right under the nose of a specialist from a world renowned institution, and get treatment for gastric reflux disease.

          To think, I paid good money for this.
          Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

          "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

          (more comments in my User Profile)


          • #6
            The Meaning of Life, Xingwei learns some new words.

            The Meaning of Life, Xingwei learns some new words.

            Misadventures from the week before....

            I just got out of the hospital. Again, in fact. Second time this week.

            Had some allergy problems, once again. First visit this week was because of an anaphylactic reaction to the allergy shots that I get, allergy shots that are supposed to calm down the allergic spastic bronchitis in my lungs. Second trip was for that damn spastic bronchitis. Just couldn't control it with the medications I keep at home.

            Shi Xing Wei learned how to say "hospital". He was with me at the time, so, Xingwei had to wait in the waiting room, while the docs and nurses in the Emergency Room got me straightened out. Kevin, and my financial manager friend Karim, went to the hospital to keep Xingwei company. I just couldn't stand the thought of Xingwei sitting in some strange room, in a strange place, surrounded by the typical ER patients to be. Sometimes hospital ER's are kind of like WalMart after midnight; the trolls they do come out.

            I wasn't there long; it didn't take much time for me to get straightened out. Besides, being well known in the medical community does have it's drawbacks. Once people figured out I was in the ER getting treatment, they started leaving their posts to come visit. The last thing the big bald guy wanted, was to be seen in some ER bed, wearing one of those gown thingies that let's your ass hang out. Now, I'm not exactly Mr. Stylish, but, I just don't like wearing the gown thing. I wear it open in the front; I figure my chest is more attractive than my ass. Besides, I always wear pants in there. Xingwei got a kick out of my new outfit; he had never been in a hospital before, and certainly not an American one. The experience for him was interesting; a combination of fear to some degree, as he had never seen me in such a place or situation before, and, one of wonderment and amusement, as the big bald guy certainly does look rather cute in one of those hospital gowns. Cute, not in a "the babes are all over him" kind of way mind you. Cute, in sort of a funny, humorous, kind of way.

            It was a short visit. I was out of there within the hour, which was good, because all sorts of nurses from my past were starting to descend upon the ER looking for me. Kevin had to go home to his wife, so Karim and I took Xingwei to El Pollo Loco. One of my favorite little Mexican places. I really like the chicken, mashies, and corn on the cob. Xingwei likes it because the menu has pictures. One thing you'll learn, when you've got a non-English speaking monk living with you, is that restaurants that have pictures on the menu, are primo. That's the reason why I'm getting fat. Too much god damn IHOP. (International House Of Pancakes). Xingwei and I discovered that IHOP has menus with pictures on it. So, we kind of go there quite a bit. One of these days, I'm going to get him straightened out on this pancake eating stuff though. He still rolls the damn thing up like mu shu pork and eats it with his hands.

            El Pollo Loco is pretty neat. Karim, Xingwei, and I settled down, surrounded by tons of latinos and Mexicans, and started to lavish in our meal. Karim, one of my financial guys, started talking to me about the loan I was getting, which I was using to purchase a condo for Xingwei. And, for that matter, the other monks who were going to start coming to Las Vegas to teach at our school. Living with one monk has been interesting; living with two or three was just not going to work. The doc palace just could not be allowed to get that religious. I had to buy a monk house. So, I did.

            Now, Xingwei has not been too happy about the fact that I'm buying him his own place. He wants to stay with me. He's currently sleeping in my pool table room, on a futon. Granted, these accomodations are far superior to anything he's ever experienced in China, but, at least I feel, that he deserves better. He needs his own place. His own television. At least this way, I get to watch TV again. I'm getting a little tired of these black rap star gangsta movies that he likes to watch. He's learning English from these movies that he's watching. I fear for the day when Xingwei, upon a future return to Shaolin, runs into the abbot and cries out "Whut up my nigga?". In fact, I'd love to have a video of that.... Maybe I should start teaching him some things.

            And, I'm certainly going to miss having him around. We try to spend some time each day with English lessons for him, Chinese for me. His English is starting to take off, thanks to Albert, his English tutor, that I hired for him, the computer that we taught him how to use, which he seems to use incessantly, much to my humored annoyance, and the russbo gang that seems to have taken quite a liking to him, and, I might add, never seems to leave my house. Hearing a booming "XINGWEI HUNGRY" echoing from the distant kitchen as I work on my laptop in my office, always seems to bring tears of laughter to my eyes. Yes, it has been quite the experience having him around.

            So, as Xingwei munched on his second "Twice Grilled Burrito", Karim and I slowly ate our small meals. And Karim kept talking. And talking. Always about finances. And deals. And making money. Eventually, I had to stop him.

            "Karim, all I hear from you is money, money, money. There' s more to life than money."

            "I know my good doctor. But making money is fun. Let me tell you about this new credit card thing I'm putting together. You got any friends in any banks that want to make some money?"

            I had to stop him. Yes, I had friends in banks. Yes, they wanted to make money. But, there's more to life than making money. It was time for the big bald guy to get philosophical.

            "Karim, let me give you some advice. I've been around for far too long, and this year, I've had far too many experiences for my comfort, that reminded me of my mortality. Now listen up, and listen good. It's gonna get deep..."

            I started to give Karim the doc diatribe on life. The important stuff. People are just far too involved in making money. Buying things. Accumulating stuff. Obtaining power and position. Being better than the other guy. And it's all ****ing useless. It all just doesn't matter. In the grand scheme of things, the amount of money that you die with just doesn't mean a god damn thing. Unless, of course, if it's your beloved father that's dying. Then, you automatically become a member of the lucky sperm club. Life gets just a bit easier with a huge inheritance. But, it does not necessarily get better.

            For life to be better, you really need two things. First, and foremost, you need your health. For if you don't have your health, no amount of money is going to make you happy. If you lose your health, you lose it all. There is nothing more important in our lives, than our health and our well being. I emphasized to Karim the whole concept of being well and fit. Having been a doctor for god knows how many years, I've seen more than my share of sickness and death. But, ironically, it took quite a few episodes of my health going to **** over the past seven years for me to really realize it. No, it was perfectly clear. If you don't have your health, you don't have anything. But, as I said to Karim, money does play a role here. For, you need enough money, or some other support, to provide you with adequate shelter and nutrition, so that you maintain your health. So, in a way, money, or something similar, does have some importance in the grand scheme of things. It's just when the pursuit of money overrules the pursuit of health, that people tend to get into trouble. And, tend to lose sight of happiness.

            Second on the "most important" list, are friends and family. Now, I certainly don't add "lovers" to that list, because lovers are not necessary to provide good solid happiness in one's life. Good friends and family are all that you really need. Good lovers, well, it helps. It most certainly does. But, you can have a nice happy life without them.

            "So doc, you're basically telling me, that of all the things in life, only two are important? Food and pussy. I like it".

            "Uh, yea, I guess you can say that. Food and pussy. What else does a guy really need...." Karim had a way of boiling things down to the essentials.

            In the corner of my eye, I could see that Xingwei had been paying attention to our conversation. Granted, he hadn't the slightest idea as to what we were talking about, but, he was paying attention. Xingwei is kind of fun to watch when he's eating a Twice Grilled Burrito. He rolls them up just like he does the IHOP pancakes, and stuffs them into his mouth. But our conversation was starting to interest him, whatever it was he thought we were talking about. He dropped his Twice Grilled Burrito, and looked at my in his typical, funny, curious sort of way.

            "Fud? What fud?"

            I explained to him that "fud", was something that we ate, much like the Twice Grilled Burrito he was munching on. I pointed to the mess on his plate, and told him "Food".

            "Fud good. Xingwei like fud".

            Karim looked at him and just laughed. Xingwei is quite comical at times, with his almost childlike curiosity and ability to learn. He absords stuff like a sponge. It's been amazing watching him over the years. Karim just looked at him with a smile on his face, and said, "Food good. Food is very good."

            And then Karim looked at me, and said, "Pussy is good too", as he giggled a bit under his breath.

            Xingwei had heard that. "Fud. Fud good. Pussy. Pussy good!"

            For some reason, he took a liking to that word. Didnt' have the slightest idea as to what he was saying, but he liked the sound of it. I, well, for one, really didn't mind the sound of it, but I certainly wasn't too thrilled that Xingwei liked the sound of it. I had made a promise to myself that I was gooing to go out of my way to protect him from the "elements", at least, as much as I could. Not an easy thing to do living in Las Vegas, but, I was sure going to try.

            "Xingwei HUNGRY. FUD GOOD. PUSSY GOOD"

            It was a bit louder this time. I wasn't quite sure what to say. Karim just kind of looked at me, and broke up into some sort of hysterical laughter. It was quite comical, even though, it wasn't a good word for him to learn. I tried to put a stop to it.

            "No Xingwei, pussy is bad".

            "PUSSY NO GUDA?"

            "Well, pussy is kind of no good. Pussy is good. But, it's no good. I think."

            I was getting confused, in a comical sort of way. I just wasn't quite sure what to say. Karim tried to make it clear.

            "Xingwei, pussy is good. Food is good. Pussy, food, me happy".

            Yea Karim, that helped.

            Xingwei jumped in. In a much louder voice, almost proud of himself that he learned a new word. One that he could pronounce accurately and distinctly.

            "Xingwei HUNGRY. Xingwei PUSSY HUNGRY".

            The Mexicans at the table next to us, the ones that had been speaking only Spanish the entire time we were there, all turned to look at Xingwei. Xingwei noticed their gaze, and I guess, took it to be an admirable one. He decided to talk to the Mexicans nearby.

            "PUSSY GUDA. Xingwei like PUSSY. OK? PUSSY GUDA."

            I was speechless. I just looked at Karim, who, by this time, was turning a bit red from holding all that laughter inside him. But, I tried.

            "No, Xingwei, pussy bad. No guda".

            "Pussy no guda? PUSSY ****?"

            He had learned the word "****" a while ago, on some other trip I took to China (Check out one of the Site News pages). Yes, the great bald one was doing a wonderful job of teaching this Shaolin monk English.

            "No Xingwei, pussy no ****. Pussy good. Pussy 'bu shuo'". I figured a little Chinese might make him understand that the word "pussy" was not something that you exclaimed in public. Especially when you were hungry.

            "Pussy no speaka? Pussy no guda?"

            "Uh, yes, pussy 'shuo'" How we got into the whole concept of pussy speaking was beyond me. But I went with it. Karim wanted to know what "shuo" meant, so I told him. "'Shuo' means to speak. Xingwei thinks that pussy can speak. Can you imagine the trouble we men would be in if pussy could speak?".

            The idea kind of grabbed me for a while. I started to think about the real reason why women tended to go to the bathroom in groups. Men went alone, women always seemed to go in groups. Hell, maybe pussy does speak. They powder their little faces, paint their lips, fix their brassieres, all the while they're having one hell of a conversation with each other. Ah, the thought. I started to laugh. Just a little giggle, just a little lightness to my face. A little lightness to my face, which, Xingwei noticed. He took off on that nonverbal communication. He thought that I was responding to his little pussy conversation.

            "Rich shi whann pussy? Pussy guda?"

            "Xingwei, wo shi whann pussy. Pussy guda. Food hen hau, very guda. Rich shi whann food. Hen duo food."

            I figured I'd stop the pussy thing if I could get him on another word.I had learned that a while back. Get him started on another word, and hope that he forgets the first one.

            "Xingwei hungry. Wo yao sali yi ge". Xingwei wanted another Twice Grilled Burrito. Damn, he could pack the food away sometimes.

            Another journey to the counter to converse with the Spanish/English speaking counter people, another Twice Grilled Burrito down Xingwei's stomach, and he was a happy man.

            And pussy was never spoken of again.
            Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

            "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

            (more comments in my User Profile)


            • #7
              Shi Xing Hong comes to Las Vegas....

              "He's the fastest mother****er I've ever seen."

              Yes, he most certainly is. In more ways than one....

              I've known Shi Xing Hong for about five years now. We've become close friends during that time. And, I've figured out all sorts of things about him.

              I know what makes him tick.

              And that's why I had my concerns about his coming to Las Vegas to teach at Shi Xing Wei's school, for this recent seminar. It was going to be good to see him, but, it was also going to be a bit of trouble. As usual, my instincts were right.

              He's like a little fireball sometimes, and he certainly was when he showed up in Las Vegas. Now, part of the problem was the fact that I was not here for a few days; I was off at the Mayo Clinic and in Scottsdale, dealing with an unexpected life threatening recurrent anaphylactic response to some Advil that I had taken before getting on the plane. The last place in the world where you want to suffer anaphylaxis, is on a plane. And that's where I did.

              It kind of screwed up my plans for the week. It also wiped out my blossoming social life. If you can consider my blossoming social life to be blossoming. I initially was just going to fly down to the Mayo for one day, possibly a day and a half, see some world class allergy specialist about this debilitating spastic bronchitis which has been wiping me out this year, and then fly back to spend time with Shi Xing Hong and Shi Xing Wei, before the seminar that weekend. I figured it would be good for Xingwei to play with Xinghong for a day or two, before we all got to work for the seminar. What happened, was both unexpected and anticipated.

              What was unexpected were the recurrent hospitalizations that I had to deal with that week, because of the recurring anaphylaxis I was suffering from. What was also unexpected, was the absolute uselessness and incredible ignorance of the Mayo world class allergist. What was anticipated, and what had occurred, was Shi Xing Hong's attempts to take over control of the school. I knew it would happen, I just didn't think it would happen by the first day.

              Now, I've got a great deal of respect for Shi Xing Hong. He is by far, one of the fastest and most powerful martial artists that I've ever seen. He's also a very hard working, and very intelligent guy. He still has a lot to learn though.

              Over the past few years, one thing that has struck me about him, is his desire to spread Shaolin. Most definitely, a respectable ideal, especially in this day and age, when every charlatan and his whore can give money to the abbot to get some sort of nonsense recognition. Xinghong is aware of that, and he's told me that he doesn't approve of these Americans and others that are lining Yongxin's pockets, in return for "the right" to own Shaolin in one way or another. Xinghong's feelings about the abbot are fairly consistent, not only with the monks I've spoken with, but with the Chinese in general, as Xinghong tells me. The abbot is trying to protect Shaolin, but, at the same time, he's profiting off of it immensely, by "selling" it, which, as we all know, will eventually destroy the image in the long run. It's sad, and I've spoken about this at length in the past. And in a way, I kind of see Xinghong as the antithesis of Yongxin; Xinghong is running around the world, trying to open temples here and there, trying to spread Shaolin the way it is supposed to be spread, and he's most definitely not in it for the money. In a way, he's trying to combat the commercial ways that Yongxin is using with Shaolin's image. You can look at at as idealism versus commercialism. I'm impressed by it. I like what Xinghong is doing, and I've told him that. But Xinghong has a lot to learn.

              We all have an achille's heel, that part of us which is our weakness, that part of us which will bring us down. Mine tends to just be me. And my mouth. I say it as I see it, and no doubt, it will continue to do so, as it has, gotten me into trouble. But, that's me, and I won't change. Xinghong's problem is his ego. He's got a big one. And one thing that I've seen in the past, is that, if anything is going to get you into trouble and destroy you, it's your ego. You don't control that, and you're going under.

              For if you watch Xinghong with people, he's pretty much the same with everyone. He's good, and he knows it. He demands and expects your respect. If he doesn't get it, he'll ask you for it. If he still doesn't get it, he leaves. That's the way he has been, that's the way he is. And part of it, as I feel, is from his upbringing. Having a master who also demands respect, in the name of "discipline", imparts these types of attitudes in a young mind. You see this in Shaolin quite often; the discipline is rigorous and difficult. It is always expected, as is the demonstration of undying respect. It works in a communist country like China, where there are far more uneducated people than educated, who have to be told what to do instead of leaving them to their own devices. You especially find it in the young. The young that inhabit the Shaolin world.

              And this is how, some feel, you have to treat these kids.

              I don't disagree with it. Certain situations demand certain ways of doing things. In Shaolin, when the highest education a Shaolin student can get is in gong fu and some bull**** mathematics, demanding respect to instill discipline, especially when dealing with large numbers of individuals, is a necessary thing. Xinghong demanded respect of his students in China, and he got it. From what I've seen, he demands and expects respect from his students in Hungary. And he gets it. And here in Las Vegas, he demanded and expected respect from my students at the Chan Wu Xue Yuan. And, he kind of got it.

              But he doesn't demand or expect respect from me. Because I don't give it to him. In my mind, someone who demands and expects respect, is immature, egocentric, and insecure. I've dealt with these types so often in the medical world, that I'm just tired of it. It doesn't even entertain me like it used to. I don't play those games. People get my respect when they earn it. Not when they ask for it. Which, is probably why, Xinghong and I have the close relationship that we do. He knows that I'm a no bull**** kind of guy. I tell him what I think. And he respects that.

              Xingwei kind of understands that about me too. But, things between he and I changed after Xinghong's arrival. And, I knew why. Long before Xinghong arrived. I knew it would happen. Xingwei turned from one hell of a happy little monk, completely thrilled about living in my pool table room, to a moody, quiet, despondent individual. We don't talk much because of the language barrier, but I can sense these things. With Xinghong's arrival, Xingwei became introverted around me. And with the rest of the russbo gang, whom he has basically accepted as family now.

              At first, I stayed out of it. The best thing to do in these situations, is to do nothing. Research and investigate. Figure out what's going on. Believe me, relationships can be difficult, whether they be between lovers, friends, or families. Communication is the key, and if you don't have communication, you're not going to have a relationship for long. Compound this with the fact the Xingwei's English is almost as bad as my Chinese, and you get the picture. Xinghong spent a hell of a lot of time talking to Xingwei; I, when I was feeling well, which was a rarity during Xinghong's visit, just laid back and observed.

              It was kind of humorous actually. Reports came in that upon Xinghong's arrival to the school, he started making plans to redecorate. He advised Xingwei that the Buddha had to be moved. The pictures had to be rearranged. The stretch bar had to be unbolted from the floor and put somewhere else. The heavy bags had to come down. The uniforms had to be changed to what Xinghong used in Hungary. He even went as far as rating Kevin's gong fu in front of the students, and granting him a level in his system. Stupid little ****, that, in my mind, meant nothing. Stupid little ****, that in Xingwei's mind, meant that we had been doing everything wrong. Despite the fact that the growth at our school had been exponential.

              And, it continued. The interaction between student and master had to be changed. Now, I've watched Xinghong with his students, and I've watched Xingwei with his students. Xingwei's students have more fun. And they learn fast. They enjoy class, they enjoy the interaction with Xingwei. They love to come back. Xinghong has a different interaction with his students. In my opinion, it's far more disciplined, almost to the point of being cult like. It's not my way of teaching, but, hey, everyone has their own approach to things.

              Xingwei learned how to teach foreigners through three mechanisms. First, he watched as Shi De Cheng taught foreigners. Now, learning with Shi De Cheng is a pure joy. There's some basic respect shown at the begining and end of class. And everything in between is just pure damn hard work. Some laughter, especially when you've got guys like me in the class. And, a lot of fun, patience, understanding, and, well, love. He's a pure joy to train with. And because of that, and his marvelous abilities both as a martial artist and as a teacher, everyone respects him.

              I first met Xingwei back in 1999. After that, upon my journeys to Shaolin, I spent a lot of time training with him, one on one. It was an experience for both of us; I learned some interesting weapons, he learned how to teach. Xingwei didn't teach much, other than to domestic students, before I met him; he was still young, and Decheng had taught what few foreigners had gone to Shaolin. And, back then, in 2000, we were starting to make plans for the school in Vegas. Xingwei was going to be a part of those plans, along with Decheng. So, I started working on his teaching skills. I had taught quite extensively over my younger years, in the medical field. My experience was not with "one on one" teaching; I primarily taught seminars and classes that had upwards of three hundred people and more. But, as I had learned, teaching is a matter of patience, understanding, competence, communication, imagination, and, well, fun. I always made it fun. And my classes were much respected and well liked. I tried to impart these things into Xingwei, during the times that we had spent together.

              He slowly but surely put it all together over the years, as he started to teach more and more foreigners. But, he was evolving. It takes time to become a good teacher, and he was well on his way. His coming to America was just one more step in that process. As I watched him settle in at the Chan Wu Xue Yuan, I became greatly impressed at how Xingwei had evolved and grown. He truly had become a great teacher. Just like his master, Decheng.

              But the ways that Decheng and I had imparted, were not Xinghong's ways. Xinghong had had a different upbringing in the temple, one that was a bit more harsh, and it shows in the way he deals with students. It's not my way, and, we all have our ways of teaching, but it wasn't totally what I had wanted to see out here in Las Vegas. Dealing with people is an interesting phenomenon. Some people are drawn to a serious demonstration of discipline and demand for undying respect. Some people are turned off by it. As I've mentioned before, little Chinese kids who are deposited into the bowels of one of these huge Dengfeng gong fu schools, need some sort of parent figure. They find it in their coaches. As I've been told, the Hungarian students thrive on Xinghong's semi-deification; I've also been told that their organization is very strict, very regimental, almost to the point of being cult-like. Dealing with these types of societies, Xinghong had found his place.

              But Xinghong was in for a rude awakening.

              He had met Americans.

              The last thing a guy, who has worked ten hours in some bull**** slave job under some low grade moronic boss, is to be disciplined when he comes to class. Especially when he's paying money for it. Xinghong had never figured this out. Despite the fact that I tried to clarify this, Xinghong continued to make changes in our school structure. His influence carried over to Kevin and Xingwei. I just kind of stood back and let things go. Xinghong did have some good ideas, but he also had some bad ones. Now, I have nothing against good or bad ideas, but, before you institute something, at least in my mind, you need to experiment a bit with it. Evaluate it. Check out the good and bad points. And, try to make sure that it's going to work in the socieity that you're playing in.

              Xinghong's actions and attitudes work in China. They also work in Hungary. They don't work in America.

              But, I also knew that something else was going on. I had expected it before his arrival, and I sensed that it was going to happen. And, it did.

              Xinghong's alteration of Xingwei and Kevin was not, solely aimed at bettering the school. It was, in my opinion, a power move to take control, and to bring the Vegas school under his sphere of influence.

              This is one thing that I've noticed about Xinghong, and, that I've noticed about a few other monks. They're not always interested in running one good school. They're interested in being all over the place. Call it a desire for fame, call it a desire to control, call it simply a desire to influence and help. Regardless of the actual motive, Xinghong is one of those people.

              Lots of things drive people. And, during different stages of your life, different things will cause you to do what you do. To keep this simple, generally, during youth, we do things for fun. Then, we do it for love, and the pursuit of love. As you get older, money drives you. And, eventually, when you realize that money is not the key to life, the quest for power, and lastly, the drive for rememberance, comes into play. But different people go through these stages at different times, and some people get stuck in a stage and never seem to get out.

              Xinghong wants to spread Shaolin gong fu throughout the world. It's a noble quest. And yet, during that quest, it appears that he wants to develop power.

              There are good reasons for him to do this, and I understand it, to a degree. He wants to get all the monks together, all the monks who are living outside the temple, most of whom have been abandoned by Yongxin to some degree, and form an organization, an organization that will support and supplement the spreading of true Shaolin gong fu. He's well aware of the abbot's certificate purchase plan, and he doesn't like it (he says none of the monks do). His reasons for creating this international federation, are good.

              But, we all know that getting these emigrated monks to get together and do something as a group, is just not going to happen. At least, not now. For some reason, many have moved on towards their own thing. Instead of working as a pack, they work as individuals. They don't realize that there are external forces at play in this world of martial arts that we live in, external forces that are driven by commercialism, that wouldn't hesitate to steal the Shaoln name from these rightful owners, and capitalize upon it as best they can. They don't realize that their futures are threatened. They talk, to some degree, but they don't act together.

              It's truly going to get interesting.

              Yes, Xinghong wants to get everyone together. But his approach, coming to our school and imparting his methods as the "only way" to teach Shaolin, reeked more of ego gratification than it did a successful gambit to obtain a goal.

              He left me with a bit of a mess.

              We talked quite extensively about all of this, that is, when I wasn't drugged up on steroids and antihistamines, and when I wasn't in the hosptial or some doctor's office. Granted, I had little time to be around to watch what was taking place around me. And when I was, I was too wiped out to realize the details. But, I eventually figured them all out. I sat Xinghong done a couple of times, and had some serious discussions not only about this future federation of his, but, what he was trying to do at my school. And, as expected, he agreed wholeheartedly with me. Yes, there is a difference between the Europeans and the Chinese and the Americans. Yes, we should do things this way and not that. He understood what I was telling him. And I left it at that.

              And nothing had changed. As I had expected.

              And it didn't matter.

              Xinghong had to return to Europe. The seminar was truly excellent, as I've been told. Everyone was amazed at Xinghong's and Xingwei's abilities. And all had learned some really good gong fu. But I had to deal with some issues. The gang was off track. Xingwei was confused. Just bewildered. Just couldn't figure out if he should follow his heart, or do what Xinghong had demanded of him.

              And I wasn't worried. Yes, I had to have some serious discussions with the rest of the russbo gang, to get everyone back with their original way of thinking. But I wasn't worried about Xingwei. Not at all. I just knew that in a day or two, he'd be back to his usual self. Having fun talking with the students during class. Showing off his incredible skills, much to the students requests and delights. Playing children's games with the kiddies, as the kiddies taught him English.

              Xingwei will be back. It will be good.

              And I'll have more issues to deal with. I have no doubt. I'm anticipating and preparing for them already.

              Shi De Cheng arrives in two weeks...
              Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

              "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

              (more comments in my User Profile)


              • #8
                June, 2003: A return to the near past...

                It was an interesting email, to say the least....

                "Are you really have SARS viruce? I am very worry about your body.I hope you have the best helthy quickly.I want to see you again sooner.Thank you very much for my visa.Wish your school keep enough student and wish you are all ok!Wish Buddwr bless you.
                A ME TUO FO SHI DE CHENG"

                What made it so interesting, is the fact that it really didn't say anything. At least, not like the next one...

                "I hope this email can sent the health and peace to you.I and my school both are good.Now, in China, the "SARS" amost be under control,Perhaps China will conquer the" SARS" in this month. By the way, ShiXingWei is no longer with our school....I am sorry to say.. Best Reguard!
                A ME TUO FO SHI DE CHENG"

                It kind of came as a shock to me. In early June, all is well. In late June, Shi Xing Wei is on the outs with his master, Shi De Cheng. I had gotten no prelude to this mess, other than a few emails from some friends who had told me that Shi Xing Wei was not working at Decheng's school anymore. For some strange reason, that he was "bored". It was all kind of totally unexpected. None of it made sense.

                I've known Decheng for about eight years now. He's a straight shooter, forward kind of guy. He's also what everyone would consider to be the epitome of behavior for a Shaolin monk. I've known Xingwei for three years. He's a curious, easily amused, and very intelligent young man, with incredible gong fu skills. He's also very devoted to his master, Decheng. Has been since Decheng discovered him at some wushu school in Kaifeng, back in 1990 or so. Xingwei was chosen out of many, many students, because of his awesome gong fu prowess at the age of 12. Decheng brought Xingwei back to the Shaolin temple, to be his disciple. He worked with him, and others, day in and day out, for well over ten years, all with the purpose of perfecting his skills, and transmitting the sacred old traditions of gong fu. Xingwei was his prodigy; when Decheng left the temple to open his own school in Dengfeng (something precipitated by the emergence of the new power structure in the temple), he brought Xingwei with him, as his main disciple, and his new head coach of his school. These guys were close, real close. Xingwei was the chosen one, the one that Decheng would teach everything to.

                And now they weren't talking.

                I was ill. Ill with this damn lung problem that kept me from any sort of exercise, like even simple things, as in walking the dog. And, to make things worse, the initial attempts to calm my spastic lungs down with allergy shots had only resulted in my having serious reactions to said shots, and, an immune system which seemed to have lost all control. I was a medical mess. I had been slightly considering a return to China, as I always travel to Shaollin in the summer, sometime in August, if my health had improved. I was also in the middle of finishing the visa process for both Decheng and Xingwei; they were to come to Las Vegas to the school we started out here, to be the main teachers. Two years of visa nonsense, to bring both of them here to the US. Two years of miserable work for me, thirteen years of hard work teaching Xingwei for Decheng, thirteen years of diligent learning by Xingwei, to learn some of what Decheng had known. And a serious master/disciple relationship to boot.

                All going to ****. Faster than I could get emails back to either of them.

                I took quick action. I couldn't see this all unravel before my very eyes. I really had no idea what was going on, as neither party would really email me and tell me what the exact problem was. All I kept hearing was that Xingwei didn't like working at Decheng's school anymore, and that Decheng felt Xingwei wasn't following the rules. Whatever they were. And, to make matters worse, I was getting emails from a close friend who was watching the whole thing, and, apparently, a great deal of this was coming from, of all people, Decheng's father. It was confusing, to say the least.

                And I was in the middle.

                I was being tugged by both sides. I was in the middle not because I had worked so hard with them over the previous two years to try to obtain US visas for them, I was in the middle because Decheng was my master, and, by default, Xingwei was my gong fu brother. We were bonded, we were like family. And from a distance half a world away, I watched it all pull itself apart.

                And yet, I had gotten the sense that both had come to me for help. They had a problem that they couldn't fix between themselves. I had become "involved" for a reason.

                I shot off many quick emails, first inquiring of both, trying to find out exactly what was going on. Again, the same answers from both. Neither could admit any guilt, which was typical of the Chinese, as I had expected. The whole concept of "saving face" was really prevalent here. Decheng kept making it clear that Xingwei was completely at fault; Xingwei kept reinforcing the fact that he wasn't happy at Decheng's school, something to do with a personality conflict with some new authority figure at the school. Neither was wrong, neither had done anything to piss off the other, neither would settle down and try to re-establish relations.

                It was a nightmare.

                I decided to take a different approach. I started emailing Decheng with stories and concepts of what he had taught me over the years; all those Buddhist approaches of forgiveness and teaching. I knew that hitting Decheng, my master, with these types of statements, which basically alleged that he was going against all those Buddhist tenets that he had exhibited so gracefully in front of me over the years, was a low ball, dirty New Yorker kind of trick, but, it eventually became my only option. I took my best shot, and slammed hiim with it.

                His response was hopeful:

                " I have receive your email,and i am sorry to answer you so late.I am glad to hear that you finally have good health.
                About ShiXinWei,I need thinking it over, Maybe,i will give him chance again.
                Thank you very much for my vissa.
                Best reguards!
                A ME TUO FO SHI DE CHENG "

                I took a different approach with Xingwei. Knowing that Decheng was now considering re-establishing relations, or, at least, communications, I pulled another low ball, dirty New Yorker kind of punch. It was serious, it was mean, it had to be done.

                I emailed Xingwei and told him that if he didn't make peace with Decheng, for whatever reason or whatever problem it was, that I was going to cancel his US visa, and leave him in China.

                He told me that he would try. He also told me, that he didn't know why there was an issue with Decheng. Again, the father thing came up, for some strange reason. Nothing was clear, it was all, as I've come to expect most things in China, smoke and mirrors.

                I felt bad. Having to resort to threats and attacks to convince two people, who had been recently so close and devoted to one another, to at least talk to each other, was just not my way of doing things. But simpler, kinder, more roundabout attempts had failed. And, I was on the other side of the world, in fact, waiting for my Thai honey to get her US visa so that she could come to the US to spend part of the summer with me. Going to China had been a distant option; my main plans were to entertain her for the month of July, and expect Xingwei and Decheng in America for the month of August. It all was going to be so very nice.

                It just didn't happen that way.

                Xingwei tried, but just didn't try hard enough, to talk to Decheng. Decheng tried, but didn't try hard enough, to forgive or be tolerant of Xingwei.

                And my Thai honey was refused her US visa.

                My lungs were not getting better. My allergies were out of control. My plans had gone to ****.

                My summer was rapidly becoming a mess....
                Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                (more comments in my User Profile)


                • #9
                  November 2003. Shi Xing Wei learns English

                  "TONYER STAY!"

                  You can hear it through the house. It's actually pretty humorous, actually.

                  Tonyer, or, more accurately, Tonya, is my housekeeper. I've been good friends with her mother ever since I've been in town. Watched her daughter Tonya grow up. Tried to train her as my housekeeper, to various degrees of success, lol. But she despite her fair to great attempts at cleaning my house, she does a great job of keeping me in line with what I have to do. She has become my memory. She tells me what I have to do every day. And, she takes care of things in the house.

                  Things in the house, like, well, like, Shi Xing Wei.

                  It's amazing how they've hit it off. I can hear him yelling something at her in Chinese, and her yelling back in English, with both of them looking at each other fiercely though lovingly, and both break out in laughter, and accomplish nothing. Despite my attempts at getting Xingwei to learn English through a paid personal tutor, and, with computer software that Rick found, Xingwei seems to learn most of his English by talking to us.

                  And especially, by talking to Tonya.

                  They have an interesting way of communicating, actually. It's kind of fun to watch.

                  Xingwei has discovered, that if he approaches Tonya correctly, Tonya will wash his clothes. And, Tonya will help him cook his meals. And, fortunately for all of us, Tonya will wash his dishes and cooking utensils. For one thing that I've learned, watching Xinghong and Xingwei cook together, is that the foul smelling godawful looking **** that you find them eating in the morning, not only stinks the **** out of the house, but, doesn't clean well when using water and a sponge.

                  Which, is what they use. Water and a sponge.

                  And then, they put the dishes and stuff away. Grease and all.

                  So, Tonya and I have to do cabinet patrol. For Xingwei, just doesn't understand this whole concept of a dishwashing machine.

                  Now, let me digress a bit. I'm a dishwasher man myself. Being a bachelor, many years ago when I was looking for a house, I looked for a house that had two dishwashers. And, there's a reason for that. Dirty dishes go into one dishwasher. When that gets full, you wash it, and then start putting the dirty dishes into the other dishwasher. This way, you avoid putting the dishes away entirely. You just rotate.

                  I've been doing it for years. Been trying to get Xingwei to do the same, but, he just doesn't seem to understand that putting dirty dishes into this funny looking machine, actually gets them clean.

                  One hell of a lot cleaner than he and Xinghong seem to do.

                  So, Tonya and I patrol the cabinets, and rewash dishes in the dishwasher.

                  Xingwei does better with clothes. He was absolutely fascinated with the washing machine. Took him two weeks to get the nerve to do it on his own. But, even to this day, he prefers to grab his clothes, stand in the laundry room, and yell, "TONYER".

                  Invariably, Tonya goes. That is, if she's in the house. Xingwei hasn't dared tried "RICH" yet.

                  I doubt he will. I'll just stand there and look at him funny. He knows that I'm not going to wash his god damn clothes on command.

                  So, when Tonya ends up in the laundry room, Xingwei will offer up his dirty clothing, as an ancient Aztec would offer a virgin for a sacrifice, and say, "Tonyer STAY!".

                  And then he'd walk away, expecting that Tonya will wash his clothes.

                  And if Tonya had better things to do, she might put the clothes down, to return to some other chores. A move which would be followed by, "TONYER NO!".

                  Sometimes with a hand stretched out.

                  There are some days that Xingwei feels that his bathroom needs to be cleaned. He's actually fairly clean himself, quite the excellent housemate actually. But, he's discovered that Tonya cleans my house.

                  And he likes that.

                  So, there are some days that I hear bellowing throughout the house, "TONYER COME!"

                  And there's Xingwei, in his bathroom, with his hand stretched out, ready to say, "Tonyer stay." Which, if you haven't figured this out by now, means, "clean my bathroom."

                  He has his way of communicating. And it works, very well.

                  It took us all a while to figure it all out. Actually, it was Rick who noticed it. One day, when my hundred and thirty pound German Shepherd, Mickey, took off outside the house, to eat the dog next door. I had heard that he was out, and was not under control. So, I got up off the couch, went out to the front door, and took control of the situation.

                  "MICKEY NO!"

                  "Mickey, COME."

                  "Mickey, stay."

                  Of course, commands for an attack trained dog, associated with my usual hand signals, keeping my hand stretched out....
                  Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                  "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                  (more comments in my User Profile)


                  • #10
                    "What do we call him?"

                    Steve was driving us to the airport to get Shi De Cheng today. Now, Steve had spent much time with Shi Xing Wei, as he's over the house a lot, as is Tonya and Rick. But, Xingwei is a different animal than Decheng, at least in Steve's eye. Decheng is my master, whereas Xingwei is just my gong fu brother. Steve wanted to know how he was supposed to refer to Decheng.

                    I never really thought about it. I always call him Decheng. Sometimes shifu, usually, Decheng. But, Steve had a good point. He wanted to show the proper amount of respect.

                    "Do you say 'omitofu'"?

                    I thought about that too. Tonya said, from way in the back of Steve's Surburban that we had all piled into, "Yes, let's say 'omitfu'. That sounds good."

                    I thought about it some more. My mind was drugged with these damn antihistamines I'm taking for this continuing allergic reaction to Advil. My neck still swells up, almost three weeks later.

                    Then, a moment of brilliance hit me, from out of the darkness. "Why don't you say 'Hello'"?

                    Great suggestion. We all thought about it, before discussing the issue any further. I was starting to feel as if this were going to come to a vote. Omitfou versus hello. I knew it was all mental masturbation anyway; I knew exactly what was going to happen. Decheng was going to appear, turn into a face full of smile, hold his hand out to me to shake, and then would come the inevitable hug and pats on the back, and the "Wo hen gaoxing kan dao ni" stuff. And there would be much laughter.

                    And somewhere in the middle of it, I could see Tonya saying "Omitfu".

                    Steve suggested that we don't do the hello stuff. Or the omitofuo stuff.

                    He thought, "Yo, Yo, Yo, whut up" would go well.

                    So, for the rest of the trip to the airport, I spent my time, teaching Xingwei new English words. I repeated them, and repeated them, and repeated them, until he repeated them, and repeated them, and repeated them, until they came out just right. I wanted Xingwei to greet Decheng in an absolute perfect manner. One that we'd all never forget.

                    "Xingwei, say, 'Yo, Yo, Yo, Whut Up, Monk Daddy D'"

                    Monk Daddy D. Our new code name for Decheng.

                    Xingwei got stuck on the "Whut up" part, but did real well with the "Yo, Yo, Yo" stuff. And he especially liked the "Monk Daddy D".

                    And eventually, at the airport, Decheng arrived. It went as expected. He saw me, turned into a face full of smile, we shook hands, we bowed, we hugged, we patted. Typical. As usual. He was as happy to see me as I was to see him. We introduced Steve, Tonya, and Rick to Shi De Cheng, who all basically just smiled and said, "Hi".

                    And from the background, barely audible above the noise in the baggage claim area, one could ever so slightly hear, in a Chinese voice with broken English, wishes of warm welcome.

                    "Yo Yo Yo, Whut Up, Monk Daddy D...."
                    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                    (more comments in my User Profile)


                    • #11
                      this explains everything.

                      you know they called me...well, they were looking for Yan Ming, but I got the call.

                      And I was in a hospital, because one of Sifu's friends had taken ill from fasting, while we were out in L.A, and we went to the emergency room.

                      So after my two fortune cookie Chinese sentences ran out, and they kept asking for Yan Ming, and I kept saying, in effect, I don't see him- because I have no idea how to say can he call you back...for some reason I said, "Hospital" and they said what I thought was "Rich" which is me...but it was you...and how would they know my english name since Sifu never uses it, at least I think...but they seemed like they knew what I was saying...but then they must have gotten even more confused because that would mean Yan Ming was at the hospital with you. Maybe.

                      Anyway, we had the exact same conversation in a revolving fashion for about five times, and then it was "Okay. Bye."
                      "Arhat, I am your father..."
                      -the Dark Lord Cod


                      • #12
                        A new definition of Qi....

                        It was time for a new car.

                        I've had far too many death defying moments this year. Far too many trips to the hospital. Far too many weird illnesss.

                        It was time to get a new car. Time to get rid of the Land Cruiser, and get into that Porsche Cayenne that I've been looking at for about a year now.

                        Bought a standard, fully equipped Porsche Cayenne a month ago. Took Shi De Cheng for a ride.

                        He liked it. Kind of different from the tuk tuks of Dengfeng. Basically told me that this car was most definitely "not Chinese".

                        Nope. Three tons of automobile, three hundred and fifty horsepower, zero to sixty in somethng like six and a half seconds. Definitely "not Chinese".

                        He just loved to zoom around the corners. Loved to feel the acceleration. I could tell when I hit the gas pedal, and took a curve a bit too fast, that his eyes would light up, his hands would grip the seat, his mouth would gape in awe, and his expression would exhibit a mix of slight fear, slight anxiety, and overwhelming joy.

                        He loved to go fast. But he wouldn't say so.

                        Things change, as they always do.

                        I traded the Cayenne in for a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Just a few weeks later. The things I do sometimes.

                        I don't even understand them. But I did it.

                        So I took Shi De Cheng for a ride. Three tons of tightly built high quality automobile, with an incredible suspension, all powered by a turbo charged V8 engine capable of putting out 460 horsepower. Zero to sixty in about five seconds.

                        Off we went. But this time, De Cheng sensed something different about the car. The first time I stepped on the gas.

                        His hands held his seat. His head was motionless. He just didn't move. There wasn't a smile on his face. Just a look of pure anticipation.

                        I slammed on the gas. The car lept forward with incredible power, throwing both our heads back into the headrests, pinning our bodies in the seat. I kept the gas floored. We roared down Sahara Avenue, zooming up to an ungodly speed which I won't mention, in a matter of seconds. And then I stopped at the next red light.

                        DeCheng was speechless. Absolutely speechless. Just sat there. Without any evidence of emotion.

                        I asked him, "Ni shi whan wo de che?" (Do you like my car?")

                        He turned to look at me, still grasping the seat with both hands. A smile erupted on his face, as his eyes squinted in his usual gleeful fashion.

                        "HEN DUO QI" (Lots of qi).

                        I finally understand this whole concept of qi....
                        Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                        "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                        (more comments in my User Profile)


                        • #13
                          LOL, that is one of the funniest things I've heard in a while.

                          And to think, when I was reading the beginning of the story, I was going to give you **** about not getting the turbo.
                          practice wu de


                          • #14
                            Monk's training

                            Hello Doc

                            Great thread by the way. I was wondering what the monk's in Las Vegas daily training routine was like. Do they still do tons of jibengong or do they focus on forms or a mixture of stuff. I know a few ex pro wushu athletes and once they start teachng they don't train anymore but if forced to their movements still kick ass. Was wondering what the monks who've left he temple environment do.



                            • #15
                              Potato chips

                              JT likes potato chips.

                              JT is my boxing coach. He's a professional boxing coach, who teaches at our school. Has had a lot of experience with pro fighters in Las Vegas. Why he hangs out with us now, is a bit beyond me.

                              But he's fun.

                              When I was feeling well, I used to train with him every day. Now, I just kind of hang out.

                              JT is about as tall as I, but much more muscular. Shaved head. Huge black guy. Sweetest guy you'd ever want to hang out with.

                              The monks love him. Especially Shi De Cheng.

                              One day, I did some weights with JT. Brought Decheng with me. Got Decheng on the bench, doing weights. He hadn't the slightest idea what he was doing.

                              Now Decheng is a very powerful guy. Solid. Short, but really solid. And fast. He's full of fast twitch muscles. Not very big on the slower, more powerful muscles. But we got him with the barbells, and the bar, and other weights.

                              The medicine ball was the best though.

                              JT and I take this fifteen pound or so leather medicine ball, and throw it at each other's stomachs. The idea is to tense up your abdominal muscles, let the ball hit you, and then catch it.

                              We showed Xingwei how to do it, and then threw the ball at him.

                              Xingwei just moved out of the way.

                              He isn't stupid. I guess monks don't like to be hit with balls.

                              But we got Xingwei and Decheng working on the weights here and there. But, they seem to prefer to do some simple stretching and stuff in the morning. Decheng is religious about it.

                              Decheng and Xingwei were religious about what they ate too. That is, until we had JT over for dinner. I had made some spaghetti and meatballs. Actually, Decheng made the meatballs. I taught him how to do it. He had fun punching the meat, as if the bowl were full of beans or rocks. He had muttered something about hard qi gong, as he mashed the eggs, bread crumbs, and meat together.

                              Now, JT has some interesting eating habits. It has something to do with potato chips. JT likes his potato chips sprinkled and crushed on top of his spaghetti.

                              I told him that was the most disgusting god damn thing I had ever seen. With, the exception of putting peanut butter on bananas.

                              Ever since JT amused us with the potato chips, Xingwei sprinkles them on top of everything that he eats. Everything.

                              But, Decheng is no better.

                              He waits for me to get up in the morning. Now, I haven't felt well enough to train with him yet, but, I usually find him outside in the backyard when I get up, stretching, kicking, or, doing handstands. Sometimes he's just outside studying English. When he sees me, he comes in, and we have breakfast together.

                              Now, the doc breakfast lately has not been the healthiest. I usually don't eat breakfast, but, because I've got to take these steroids with food, I try to eat something.

                              Lately, it's been chocolate cake. And pretzels. With an occasional chocolate chip cookie. And, orange juice. I try to eat healthy.

                              So, initially, Decheng would start with some freeze dried noodles mixed with hot water.

                              Then he progressed to the chocolate chip cookie. With a pretzel or two.

                              Now, it's full blown chocolate cake, pretzels, cookies, and orange juice. And he loves it. He gets this huge grin while he's cutting a piece of cake.

                              Doesn't eat those freeze dried noodles anymore.

                              In fact, the other day, I took Decheng with me to the supermarket. Had to get some supplies. I usually don't bring Xingwei with me, because my shopping trips tend to be less than ten minutes. Any more than that, and the damn flourescent lights start to drive me bonkers. Xingwei likes to stroll up and down the aisles, grabbing ****, putting it into the basket, going to another aisle, and taking it out again. He hasn't the slightest idea as to what he grabs. He just likes taking stuff. Gets a kick out of it.

                              So I bring Decheng. Xingwei can shop with Tonya, my housekeeper. She has more patience with it.

                              I told Decheng, "hen kwai". (very fast). I picked up the pace, and went to the pretzel section. Grabbed a few bags, as both of these guys now eat them, and turned around to tell Decheng that we were done.

                              He wasn't there.

                              So, I continued real quickly, grabbing a few other things. That was when I ran into Decheng.

                              He had the hugest smile on his face.

                              Had a box of chocolate cake in his hands too...

                              Five AM

                              When he first got here, he told me "wu dien". Five AM. He was going to get up at five AM.

                              He wanted me to get up with him. And train.

                              I basically told him "No ****ing way".

                              So, the first night, I've got Decheng living in my dining room. Made it into a bedroom for him. He's awfully comfortable in there.

                              I was spending some time in front of my computer, as I usually do at night. Had some work to do. Getting up at five AM just wasn't going to happen, as I've been pretty wiped out with this allergic reaction to Advil, and all these steroids and antihistamines I've been on. I basically get up when I get up. The medication is just whacking me too much.

                              It was around 11 PM, and I heard a voice behind me in my office. It was Decheng. In his long underwear. With the sleepiest look in his face. Had this serious look of consternation. He was really bothered by something.

                              "Shue Jiau together". (sleep together).


                              I hadn't the slightest idea what he was talking about.

                              "Shue Jiau together".

                              Then he started with some sort of wild animation, where he stuck his tongue out,and pretended to lick in the air. Then he pointed at the back of his head, all the while, continuing the licking motions.

                              "Shui jiau together. No good".

                              I was lost. We really hadn't started on his daily English lessons yet, and our communications were limited.

                              That was when Mickey, my 130 pound German Shepherd, who, I might add, is taller than Decheng when he stands on his back legs, walked into the room. Decheng had never seen a dog so huge before in his life.

                              "Shue jiao together! No good!"

                              That's when it hit me.

                              Mickey had climbed into bed with Decheng while he was asleep. Very first night Decheng was here. Apparently, he liked licking the back of Decheng's head....
                              Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                              "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                              (more comments in my User Profile)


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