Wednesday, May 21, 2008

If you don't get hurt you aren't playing hard enough!

On Tuesday we decided to ride bikes into town and make a few small purchases; the university is on the outskirts of Louyang so it's a few miles. We started out with Xiao Rui on the back of Michael's bike, but soon decided that wasn't going to cut it for the distance we were going to go.
It's very typical to see girls riding this way on the back of a bicycle!
It looks decidedly uncomfortable to me!
So we went to a nearby bike rental shack and rented Xiao Rui a bicycle. The rental fee is 1 yuan per hour, which is less than 20 cents.
We met this little boy there who was helping mind the store. He was very friendly and gave Michael a high-five.
The bike rental place was right next to a pool hall where some of the university students were avoiding homework by shooting a little pool. (Seems this pool hall doesn't have a minimum age limit.)
And right across the dirt road from bike rental shop was the bike repair shop where, for a yuan, Michael used the storekeeper's tools to tighten some screws and top off the air in the tires. That's the storekeeper in the background, sitting on the little chair.
At the repair shop we also met this little guy who was having his lunch of rice and vegetables at a small wooden table.
I was riding the blue bicycle pictured above, first in the row. It's a typical Chinese bicycle; half (or more) of the population of Louyang has one just like it. It's old, rusty, loose-jointed, and wobbly, but it gets you where you want to go and is not at all tempting to thieves.

Well, we were cycling merrily along when I got distracted by something, rode up too close behind Michael, and somehow tangled his back tire with my front tire. My front wheel spun to the left and the bike tossed me over handlebars and on to the hard concrete sidewalk. I did a bit of skidding along the right side of my body with my right wrist, ankle and knee taking most of the beating.
We went to a small neighborhood medical clinic to get my knee looked at and hopefully bandaged. The fall took pretty much all the skin off. The man in the blue is the doctor.
I got to endure the swabbing application of several solutions, not one of which I recognized. I THINK one may have been a betadine solution, but I wouldn't swear to it. Hopefully, there was some antiseptic in the mix!
I'd swear that what he's pouring out of this little packet is none other than granulated white sugar! Guess I'll never know for sure. After this he placed a large square gauze on my knee and taped it on with 4 or 5 short strips of adhesive tape. I should have asked him to wrap the tape all the way around my leg because 5 minutes after we got back on our bikes and started riding again the bandage flew off and landed in the gutter! I decided to just do without a bandage and spent the rest of the day swabbing up streams of blood whenever the newly forming scab broke - which was often!

Michael rented another bike for me, so I was a lot more stable, which turned out to be a very good move once we got into town with all the traffic; busses, taxis, cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, and pedestrians going every which way, obeying or ignoring traffic signals as they pleased. Believe me, it's every man for himself on the roads here! I've seen taxi drivers just about mow down old women and babies in strollers. Their blaring horn means "get OUT of the WAY!"

Well, as my title says, if you don't get hurt you aren't playing hard enough. I haven't wanted to miss a thing on this trip and if that means a skinned knee and ankle, and a sprained wrist, so be it!


Anonymous said...

my favorite blog posting of yours ever! those pictures of you and your knee are priceless! haha!!!
love, karen

Dori said...

You write very well.