Navigating China no walk in the park

13 years ago

To the editor:

Living in a city is an interesting proposition. The first thing you will learn is that you need to walk. Yes, there are taxis and buses to haul a body around. You can be green and use a bicycle though you worry about some person purloining it when your back is turned.
Growing up in the country, we never thought twice about walking around. You wanted a piece of wood, you traipsed out to the forest and selected from the collection of trees. Just watch out for the bear, the skunks, and the wolves. They tend to be very possessive of their property.

One will walk everywhere and quickly learns not to purchase more than one can carry for twenty miles. This is because one will have to lug the prize to the nearest taxi stand or bus stop, load it on, enjoy the hair raising ride back to the house and then lug it up to your apartment. Shopping is easy, Purchasing a little bit painful; and packing the loot: Back breaking!

I think of this as I walk through the streets of Guang Zhou and remember the gang at County Physical Therapy. I suspect that they probably have some sort of agreement with the Chinese here. Everywhere I go, there are steps. It is government policy that most buildings do not have elevators unless there are more than six stories. Signs extol the virtue of good health achieved by climbing up one story to go to the grocery store. Three grocery stores are nearby and all are located on the second floor. None has an escalator.

Having had the experience of rearranging my bones in a couple of minor accidents I came to appreciate the therapy sessions at CPT. First of all, it is one of the best hidden party spaces in the County. They welcome you into a large room, toss you to a table and begin by wrapping you in heat. Then its onto the machines; climbing stairs; getting twisted into a pretzel shape; untwisted and pulled, pushed, and stretched like taffy. Do not worry, plenty of other patients around you so you are not alone.

This is good training for walking through the streets of Guang Zhou. You are going to be pushed, shoved, twisted, and stretched as you walk down the street. If the city needs to build steps over a water pipe rather than burying it, they will build steps. Just like city services back home, it takes time to get a pot hole or hole in the sidewalk repaired. So a walk around the block is more like a Himalayan climb. You do not see many cars, scooters or wheel chairs in the city. You will walk.

So in this respect, all those admonishments of the staff at CPT to walk come true. Thank goodness I had some preparation before I got here. Otherwise I would be very hungry and very sore. Now my poor feet are the only ones tired. Thanks guys!

Orpheus Allison
Guang Zhou, China