A Very Long Pause

My foot is healed, our bags are packed and we are ready to go! We are headed back to China and hope to be walking by June 27th at the latest. The last 11 months have been a challenge. I don’t think that a day has passed when I didn’t think about returning to China to finish the walk that my great-great uncle Hipployte began 96 years ago! We only have 296 more miles to go and we are excited to see what awaits us. Please check in and root us on.

Pause…..

We made it back home and it is so nice to be in the comfort of familiar surroundings and in our own bed. Even so, those last few hundred miles are stretching out in front of me and I am so anxious and eager and itching to complete them. I’m counting the months and weeks and days untill we can go back, strap on our backpacks and take our first steps along the 324 headed to Shenzhen.
The waiting seems unbearable. Imagine someone sitting down on a piano bench and pressing the keys one by one- C-D-E-F-G-A-B and then stopping before terminating the loop by playing the closing C. It’s like missing the last 5 minutes of an intense movie or being obsessed with a book only to find the last chapter has been torn out.
I so badly want to finish this walk. I want to go back to Beilu and once again express my gratitude to Dr. Vincent. So much is waiting for us there. We have friends to meet and smiles to return. Most of all, I want to see the ferry terminal to Hong Kong off in the distance getting closer and closer and closer until we can at last walk up to that ticket window and buy our passage to Hong Kong having finished the around the world journey that my great great uncle embarked upon in 1920.
Please visit our website again in late June of 2016. If you are on Facebook, I will post an announcement. Until then, the countdown begins. Ten months, two weeks and…..

We took a tour of the city we are visiting. It was a private tour and our guide was this man. rps20150721_084009
His name is Janvi and he speaks English very well. He spent a year living in New Zealand. Doug and I both agreed that it was nice to be able to speak English with someone else besides each other.
Janvi pointed out lots of historic sights and architecture, told us about the history of the area and took us to the largest medicinal market in Southern China. We saw so many interesting things. Different herbs and dried fish air bladders, enormous lichens and dried mushrooms and hundreds of other things you can ingest to help balance the yin and the yang (hot and cool) nature of your being. We saw big plastic tubs that were crawling with hundreds if not thousands of live scorpions. You could hear them all crawling around and trying to get up the sides of the tubs.
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China is filled with all sorts of temples. People visit different temples to pray for different things. THIS was the most amazing part of the day. We stopped at a very small temple. Janvi told us that the people who go to this particular temple are writers. I went and stood in front of this temple and I prayed. I prayed for help in telling the story of how my great-great uncle was taken care of as he walked around the world. I prayed for guidance in telling the story of Doug and I finishing the walk for him and I prayed that I might be blessed to tell our stories in such a way that every person who reads the book wold feel inspired and changed.
I realize it’s going to take a lot of dedication and work on my part but a little help from the other side sure couldn’t hurt. Doug and I would have walked right past this town if I hadn’t hurt my toe. Maybe I was meant to stop at this temple. I keep getting goose pimples.
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If you are ever in Yuexiu and want a private tour, this is Janvi’s email address. Janvi@gzguide.net

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We met Ting Feng today when we were visiting Dinghu Mountain Resort. It was a very beautiful nature preserve with lots of beautiful trees, streams and waterfalls and a cave that had 100 Buddha statues in it. It was hot day, well over 90 degrees and the cave was so cool and damp.
There was water dripping down the cave walls and from the ceiling. I caught some in my hand and drizzled it onto my pinky toe. Later when we walked back outside, we saw a sign beside a little stream saying something about the purity of the water and its ions being somehow special.

Bus Travel

We got on a bus today. We are slowly making our way back to Hong Kong. We are making little stops here and there, overnight stays so we can see points of interest. It’s all Doug’s planning. I have no idea what’s in store for us. I just know that it was so sad and disappointing to not be walking the highway we were riding on.
Yesterday when we were in a car, we passed one of the highway 324 kilometer markers and all i coukd do was try snd exhale all of the sadness and heavyness that I was feeling . In the past weeks we’ve passed so many of them (1,400?) and always on foot. I’ve stopped and sat on them, catching my breath, enjoying the shade, letting the sweat dry from my shirt.
Now we are in a hotel room. Its raining outside. We are on the 7th floor. It’s a nice enough room. It has AC. It’s clean. It just doesn’t feel as good as it would have felt after walking 18 miles.

Hey Macarena!

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My last acupuncture treatment in China. I’m a big baby when they stick me in my toe with those needles. This morning, a very nice woman came by and stood next to me while I got stuck. She smiled, gave me thumbs up and said nice things to me.
Yesterday when we were in here, there was a baby sitting on his mom’s lap. He had at least 7 needles sticking straight up out of the top of his head. I knelt down to say hello to him and he grinned, reached up and pulled out 3 needles. I grabbed his hands before he was able to hurt himself with the needles he was clutching. A nurse came by and poke, poke, poke put 3 new needles back in the top of his head. He didn’t even flinch. Me, I squeal every time they stick me. I’m such a wuss.
They put these little clamps on the needles that send a teeny tiny bit of electricity into my body. One of them makes my fourth toe twitch even though there isn’t even a needle in it.
When the treatment is done, the machine I’m hooked up to plays a little song to let the nurses know it’s time to unhook me. I don’t know what song it is but when it’s over, I sing “Hey Mararena!”

Meet Li Xiao Jie

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We met Li Xiao Jie today when we were out doing some shopping. She is in her second year of high school and she speaks BEAUTIFUL English. We gave her our phone number and she sent us a text message and told us that if we needed anything that she would be happy to help us.
When we told her that we had walked to Beiliu from Dali, she said, ” I think you guys are soooooo romantic!”. What a lovely compliment from a lovely young lady.

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This photo is of Dr. Vincent, his wife and son, Doug and I. We met Dr. Vincent at the county hospital yesterday and he has been taking wonderful care of me ever since. He picked us up from our hotel this morning and drove us back to the hospital where I got acupuncture and infrared laser treatment. He then took us on a little tour of the city, brought us to a much nicer hotel and negotiated an insanely cheap rate for us. I checked in while he took Doug back to our other hotel. He got us a refund on our room, waited while Doug packed up all of our stuff and then brought Doug back to our new hotel.
Then he went to work, performed an emergency surgery, picked us up at our hotel and took us back to his home where we enjoyed a delicious dinner, wine and dessert.
He just dropped us off at our hotel and is planning on picking us up tomorrow morning so I can go back to the hospital for my acupuncture and infrared laser treatment.
This man has been so kind and has done so much for us. I hope that someday I can reciprocate. If I can’t reciprocate for him, I promise to extend two-fold what he has done for me for someone else. You all have my word. If any of you reading this need help. Call it in. I will make good on my promise. That’s what it’s all about.

Feeling Hopeful

There is something that I didn’t mention in previous posts. I figured I’d save the mini-drama for the book but I have decided to spill it now. On June 4th, Doug and I were walking on one of the many portions of highway that is being repaved. I have high arches and weak ankles and I stepped on something and twisted my ankle. I felt that all too familiar twinge and pain having sprained my ankle 3 times already. The last time was 11 years ago. Doug walked and I hobbled to the nearest hotel. They were kind enough to give us some ice. I got in bed, took 2 Aleve, elevated my leg with a chair cushion and iced my ankle. A little while later a young man knocked on our door and gave Doug two spray cans of some sort of local herbal remedy and explained to Doug how it should be applied. We sprayed my ankle with it and continued icing.
The next morning it still hurt but was only a little swollen. We caught a ride into town and went to the pharmacy where I bought that tape that the nurse wraps around your elbow over the cotton ball when you donate blood and a sports type bandage for ankle injuries. I taped up and put on the ankle bandage and we started walking. It wasn’t too sore and the only time it really hurt was if I stepped on uneven ground or on something like a small rock or anything that would cause my ankle to roll. I used the sprays religiously until they ran out and continued wearing the sports bandage until about 10 days ago.
This afternoon Doug Sent a text message to the surgeon who drove us back to our hotel yesterday. He asked about where we could find an acupuncturist and Dr. Vincent recommended a place. He also recommended a traditional medicine that he said would be helpful. He even texted Doug the Mandarin characters so that he could take it to a pharmacy and find it easily with an employee’s assistance. Doug came back with the exact same medicine that the man at the hotel had given to us. This time there were instructions in English too. I’m to use it every 5 hours.
I’m feeling so hopeful.

Nine hours later I was still in a lot of pain. The only way I can get to and from the bathroom is by kneeling on a pillow and scooting myself across the tile floor. I can’t put any weight on my foot at all. Not even just on the heel.
I was in enough pain to at least want a RX painkiller so we got an auto-rickshaw cab and went to the hospital. They took an x-ray and it showed that my toe wasn’t broken, just dislocated. They wheeled me to another room where a Dr. pulled hard on my little toe again and again for what seemed like a long time while I screamed and yelled and cursed and resisted the urge to hit him. I only landed one blow. It hit him in the shoulder and wouldn’t have hurt a baby. Meanwhile, all the other medical personnel in the room were having a good laugh at me. I’m sure they were trying to imagine what obsenities were coming out of my mouth. For the record, I’m pretty sure that I only yelled, “MOTHER…” but stopped myself before dropping any F-Bombs.
Before the second round of toe yanking started, I gave my cell phone to Doug because I wasn’t sure I could resist the urge to throw it at the Dr. doing the pulling.
Another Dr., Dr. Vincent came in, reiterated the dislication diagnosis and told me that I needed a minimum of 3 days rest, that up to a week would be better but after that, I could try to continue walking to Hong Kong. I told him we were walking 30 km (18 miles) a day and he gave me the ok. I was given a RX for oxicodone and then Dr. Vincent DROVE us back to our hotel in his car and gave us his personal cell phone number. He told us that he was a surgeon and asked us about our careers.
I’m hoping that in a week or less we will be back on the road although now, my toe now hurts worse than ever. I’m overwhelmded by the kindness we have been shown. What Dr. drives their patient back to their hotel??? Maybe this was all meant to happen. There is a lesson in this. In the mean time, I’m once again overehelmed by the kindness we have been shown. For niw, I’m just willing my toe to get better. I’m visualizing the swelling shrinking, the angry redness returning to normal colored happy and healthy skin, all tissue healing and little bones staying where they belong. I can make this happen. I can do it. I can. I will.
PS: x-ray, toe yanking and 10 oxicodone cost $26.70.
Oxicodone have kicked in. Toe still hurts a little but I no longer care. Just buzzing……. : )