I want you come!

It was typical, it was expected. It took a while, but, as usual, it happened. The experience was like all the rest, just like the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that. Sometimes, it happened once a day, sometimes twice, sometimes even three times. I waited for a while, and, well, there it was. The usual bubbly eruption.

From the mouth of Shi Xing Wei.

He just couldn't stand the fact that Lu Yong and I were in Beijing, for what seemed to him, days and days and days. Well, it was days and days and days, and, for some reason, he missed us, and made it known, through his daily phone calls. When are you going to come to Shaolin. What are you doing in Beijing.

What was I doing in Beijing. Oh, now there's a story all by itself. I actually had quite a few things to do in Beijing. I had some friends that I had to visit, which, required, multiples of dinners in nice little hidden out of the way Chinese restaurants; I had some shopping to do, well, Lu Yong had shopping to do (he wanted a camera); I had the honeys to chase (and, spend time with), a girlfriend to get reacquainted with (and spend time with), and, I had some business projects to deal with. But, there was one, very important project that I had to take care of, before I left for Shaolin land.

I had to buy drugs.

I have a good friend who has cancer. It's an interesting story, one which will get briefly described in another future, on the way, post in this forum (Wisdom of WKK, Qi gong and western medicine). He has lung cancer, which he got from many, many years of smoking, from the old style Las Vegas mentality. It's metastatic now, though, we've been here before with him, and, the last time, the chemotherapy and radiation therapy was effective. But, it's back, and he's not a candidate for surgery or radiation. So, it's just the drugs. And, like anyone who is facing his mortality on a relatively short term basis, he is open to options. One of those options, was, another round of Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine. I used it before on him, I felt it was time to use it again.

I'm not exactly a firm believer of this stuff, though, as I've told him, I keep an open mind when it comes to it. I do believe that acupuncture is effective, but certainly not for all that the Chinese say it is. I have similar feelings when it comes to qi gong. But, these herbal remedies, well, those are quite the other matter. Western medicines have generally been derived from natural substances, so, in my mind, there's no reason why the TCM herbs can be efficacious. But, unlike western medicines, which have to go through all sorts of studies and evaluations before they're released to the public, TCM drugs basically survive over the long term because people believe in them. And, well, maybe they believe in them because they work. To, some unknown degree.

To a man who is wondering how long he has to live, he believes in them. Hell, why not. So, I had one of my high level friends here in Beijing find the best TCM lung cancer specialist. It took a few days, but, shortly thereafter, I was in his home, discussing the little yellow and red pills in the small plastic bags. Price was one thing, getting through customs, at which I'm notoriously famous for getting searched, was quite the other.

The medication was developed by his father, who, was also a TCM doctor, at the hospital he now worked at, around thirty years ago. It is used for all sorts of cancer, specifically to strengthen the non-cancer cells and immune system, so that they kill the cancer cells. They've had wonderful experience with breast and lung cancer, among others. He showed me his statistics, which, though difficult to analzye based upon their classification system, was quite amazing. He claimed a 94% cure rate for people with early cancer, a 50-60% cure rate for people with moderate cancer, and a 17% cure rate for people with advanced cancer. The problem is, in my mind, what exactly defines mild, moderate and severe (we have a much more specific method of classifying stages of cancer in the west), and, what exactly characterizes a so-called cure. He then showed me some post operative pictures of some horribly unfortunate woman who underwent a butchered double mastectomy for cancer, with before and after medication shots. How much was natural healing and how much was medication, was, well, in everybody's imagination. And then, picture after picture of some old guys smoking cigarettes, who supposedly were cured with his drugs, for various sorts of cancer. Quite frankly, I wasn't impressed. To me, it really didn't matter. My friend wanted to try it, whatever I could find, and I was going to get the supposed best stuff I could find. A bit of negotiation, and a few hundred dollars later, and I trudged out of the typical nondescript tiny Chinese apartment, with a few hundred pills. Time will tell.

Time. Oh, what a concept. You have no idea what time has done to this country, or, how Beijing is changing. This is my third trip to Beijing/Shaolin this year. Imagine. Third time this year, twelve times, or something like that, over the past seven. One would think I would know something about this gong fu stuff by now. But, I have learned one thing. Beijing is growing and improving at a logarithmic rate. It's incredible. Buildings, dress, cleanliness, the city is evolving into one hell of a masterpiece. Now, if they can get rid of the traffic, they would be performing a miracle. But, for a major metropolitan area, this place is truly ••••••• incredible.

What's also incredible, is the amount of western influence. Back in 1995, during my first trip to Beijing, I noticed a lot of Mao suits. Lots and lots of them. Even the women wore nondescript drab clothing. The streets were filthy, people spit and smoked everywhere, and the only western food, which was a veritable godsend, was Mickey D's. I don't eat that shit at home, but, boy, during those early days in Beijing, after getting absolutely worn out on rice and mystery meat, Mickey D's was beloved. Now, times have changed. Mickey D's is not just in one place near Tiannenmen. It's everywhere. As well as KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Hagen Daaz, and others. Western food is not only ubiquitous in Beijing, it's popular. I spent a few hours in a KFC with a new found little Chinese girlfriend, whom I met on the street, and was absolutely amazed at the business that this place was doing. The Chinese have experienced the western way of life, and they want it. And nobody is going to take it away from them. Communist country? Oh, we have a lot to learn in the US about that nonsense.

The government cracked down on the public spitting; no longer do you see it in Beijing restaurants, or, ever more rarely, on the streets. Smoking is another issue which is getting some major attention. There are more and more public places which are nonsmoking, as well as, and thankfully, the taxi cabs. The cabs are, for the most part, clean and fresh. I still perform the famed sniff test before I get into one of them, something which annoys the hell out of the unfortunate driver that still smokes in his cab. They just hate when I flag them down, open their door, smell the interior, and send them their way. But hey, they want to be capitalists, let them be capitalists. I don't pay to sit in an ashtray anymore.

But one thing really did erupt over these past few months. Fashion Style. It can best be seen in the Chinese World Trade Center. OK, so it's not nearly as tall as the one we had in the US, but, this place is huge underground. And it's chock full of the latest, and, most expensive, western clothing retail outlets known to man. Ferragamo, Gucci, Fende and other stores that you would never find me dead in, all scattered throughout the mall, all, very new, very modern, very stylish. And all full of young women, all very beautiful, very modern, very stylish. The men were dressed in expensive European style business suits and other higher class wear. Yes, there I was, dressed in my usual New Balance sneakers, the one with the holes in the sides, and ar elatively worn pair of black combat fatigues. My shaved head was covered with the usual Porsche baseball hat. And, of course, I was wearing a new, Shaolin Chan Wu Xue Yuan sweat shirt. All of this loveliness covered by a high tech North Face well worn winter coat.

I was truly a fashion statement. They found me to be very entertaining, as usual.

Gone are the days when your typical Beijing woman looked like every other typical Beijing woman. Now, there's some incredible beauty running around. Clothing and style, all worn with sophistication and self respect. Attitudes, very open, friendly, and lovable, always with a smile or a slight giggle, always approachable, always respectful, and always, with class. Some of their western counterparts need to take notice. The Beijing women have evolved, and they have truly stolen my warped, abused, and beat up little heart.

Beijing was a joy to be in, despite the fact that the weather was a bit chilly. Bright clear skies, with some cold northerly winds. It was a nice time to be there. But, everything comes to an end, and, after making sure that all my projects were well taken care of, it was time to move on, for an overnight train ride, to Zengzhou and Shaolin.

Time to get this old worn out body back into some sort of gong fu shape. Two months of not training has really taken its toll.