Saturday, January 06, 2007

070106

There's a saying in the West that, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!' I must be stronger now, as almost 'died,' on the 5th, two days ago! I'm still recovering, not from physical wounds, but mental 'wounds' (my own stupidity)!

I lost, or had stolen, my wallet. Normally, there wouldn't be much cash in it, as I give to Tom nee Richard to pay whatever. But, on the 5th, I was carrying 3,000RMB / $350 U.S. This to pay Tom nee Richard back (had borrowed), and other items. Worse, I don't know how this happened, as kind it kinda 'magically' disappearing from a 'portfolio' I carry in my backpack. Thus, we thought it might have been stolen. Only the wallet had 'neatly' disappeared from the portfolio where I also keep my passport, bank books, and other valubles!

I had gone to the Agri. Bank of China ATM's, like many times before--this a short walk from the Fan Hua Hotel. I withdrew, in two transactions, first 2K and then 1K RMB. I must not have gotten my wallet (orignally purchased in Kathmandu, Nepal) back into the portfolio...? I was rushed, as needed to return to the hotel to meet Richard (we were cycling into the City to have dinner with Ceres).

At the hotel, I went back upstairs to my room (#404) to get the bicycle items.

At some point I'd transferred 100RMB from wallet to pocket to pay hotel for one more night! This is key action, as the last time using my wallet until discovered missing several hours later.

I went back downstairs paid the hotel, and joined Tom nee Richard on bicycle to restaurant where Ceres was waiting.

After dinner, this at the restaurant, I opened my backpack and portfolio to store a document Ceres had given me. Again, this is key, as the only places I got into my portfolio was at the Bank and restaurant (where I keep my wallet).

Of course, we inquired at both and nothing! That night after discovering the loss we called Ceres who returned to the restaurant to inquiry--no, no one knew anything! The next day Richard and I went to the bank to inquire, and of course, cancel the old account to acquire a new bank card.

I discovered, or so Richard says, there's no procedure in China for 'lost and found,' items.

What would a Chinese person do with a lost wallet, one with 3K RMB in it?

Of course, take the money and run! There are few that might return untouched, maybe you and me. But, money has become God, and many thieves in Shanghai--so the chances of such maybe one in one million!

Just recently Richard had a thief try to lift his mobile right out of his pocket while walking down the street.

Thus, it occurred to me that maybe some thieves had been watching me at the Bank. The previous day I'd taken an even larger amount (5,500RMB) to 27 Bike (.com) to pay for Richard's new bicycle. Maybe they watch and then steal from you.

Note, when waiting for a traffic light on bicycle, people are close enough to lift things from your backpack (riding on a bicycle)--during traffic hours you wait with hundred others (ugh!), some pushing and shoving against you. So, maybe... If so, pretty 'slick,' as I think they would have to know in advance, and where to look. Richard says this is entirely possible!

Otherwise, my wallet had to fall out at either the Bank or the Restaurant. Or... some clever thief got it!

In addition, I had a flat tire on the way back to the hotel. A loud noise, and then I discovered a 'key' embedded in the tire and tube (how is this possible?)! Is there a metaphor in all this? We walked back to the hotel, a kilometer's distance, the tire rubbing against the rim, the sound grating on me! Sometimes the lessons have to be inculcated!

I looked up and discovered the full moon!

Then the shock of discovering the wallet missing in my portfolio--this outside of the hotel (about to give Richard the money owned)! I remember when I looked, I couldn't believe it, as it's always there! I thought I was dreaming, or seeing things. I went through the portfolio frantically!

Interesting how your mind works, when I realized it was missing from my portfolio... I was sure I'd find it in my hotel room, praying all the way, I rushed upstairs to the 4th floor. Then crestfallen, I couldn't believe it, it wasn't in my room--I went through everything throwing things hiter and yon! But, it was really missing! I couldn't believe it--that I could be so stupid as to lose that kind of money, my bank cards, etc.!

'Wah,' as Marty wrote when I told him the bad news! What to do?

I was saved in the end by my benefactor and guarding angel, Rucha (who lives in Germany)! Amazing! The very next day, she wrote me she'd transferred money into my account! This, without even asking her for such--or she knowing what had happened to me! How is this possible?

I am blessed!

Additionally, other big changes, as the 'Year of the Dog' ends!

Tom nee Richard has decided to stay in Shanghai (a good decision for a young man). This instead of accompanying me to Xining.

I've decided impossible for me to operate a business in China, unless my partners, Chinese or otherwise, can understand me. Too many times, with the Chinese people I've been working with... such misunderstandings! It's been maddening, really! They don't understand English (really, although say 'yes'), and of course, I don't understand Chinese!

In the meantime, I'll be departing for Xining on January 17th! This is where I will live, eventually moving out to Qinghai Lake (largest in China). My ultimate goal, Tibet, however--little by little! 'Pilgrimage to Mt. Kailas,' remember? Check out, www.cyclingpeace.org

Or, maybe I'll return to Nepal, now that there's relative 'peace' - going back and forth between Tibet and Nepal on a bicycle! Ah, now there's a wonderful thought!

Life, isn't it interesting, filled with the 'thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat?'

I told Richard trying to explain, this after losing the money... 'No bad! No good! We can't have one without the other. We can't have just good days, and we've had many good days, even great days! There have to be bad days as well!'

Onward! Always onward, good or bad! 'Just get out there and do it!'1

Thursday, January 04, 2007

04A0106

Yesterday, Wedesday, we went to '27 Bike' shop and got Tom nee Richard's new bicycle--custom by hand! This a birthday gift from Rucha and me!

He had been riding a 'hand me down,' off-the-rack Giant, a 2,400RMB / $275 U.S. originally for Elia. Elia, who I'd met in Kashigar, was going to cycle with me to Tibet (but now having disappeared into family in Fujian). Note: Children not knowing who there are give up their dreams (too easily). Worse, the 'Giant' was but 17" (originally for shorter Elia) and too small for Tom nee Richard.

Now, Tom nee Richard has a 19" man's bicycle, with Shimano/Japan XT quality parts! But, of course, these kinds of 'parts' cost more and this bicycle put together a total of 6,300RMB or $700 U.S. dollars. On the otherhand, you get what you pay for right? He needed a bicycle for Tibet and this will suffice.

Last night we rode back to Yangpu (takes 90 minutes), me on Ms. Fiets (seven+ years of age), and Tom nee Richard on his, all of seven minutes of age! It was all clean and shiney like a newborn baby!

Riding a bicycle on the streets of Shanghai has brought out the worst in me! Last night I screamed at a man standing in the middle of the road (they do this all the time) looking at his mobile! I think I yelled, 'You stupid fuck! Get out of the way!' Luckily, they only get the ire, not the meaning! I can't help myself!

It's insane 'out there!' the chaos beyond description! Chinese people do anything at any time without regard for others! When on the streets they are 'the center of the Universe!' In private it's a different story!

I wrote an article about this entitled, 'Private versus Public Manners!' Chinese culture (from Confucious) has an elaborate set of private manners. On the otherhand, there's absolutely no public manners. In private, I'm treated like royalty. On the street, riding a bicycle, I'm just another 'piece of meat!'

I just read the statistics for 2006, and there were 90,000 traffic fatalities REPORTED in China. There were something like 300,000 accidents reported. But, only God knows how many go unreported? What surprised me that they're aren't more. There must be one trillion 'near misses' in China everyday! But, 'near misses' don't count! On the otherhand, there are probably one million 'bumps' everyday (people making contact).

Before venturing 'out there' last night I gave Tom nee Richard another lecture about safety. He turns 24-years of age this Saturday, January 6th, and rides a bicycle like any young man... What I think is dangerous. Yet, on our recent completed 7,000KM cycling trip it was me that fell four times, him never once! He was 'blown off' the highway in eastern Xinjiang, but never fell of his own accord. So, I'm sure, James B. is looking after him also (as well as me)!

Speaking of the departed I just read a 'IHT' article that said, 'Ghosts are in our minds!' I responded with a 'letter to the editor,' saying, 'Everything is in our minds!' We create our worlds by was we think and express (NLP - 'Neuro Linguistic Programming). If you think it's 'real,' then it is! There's no such thing as 'objectivity!' Better explained there's no such thing as an 'objective reality.'

I'll give you an example, which I've written about in this very BLOG: being visited by my dear friend (of ABC old), and two times in the last few months. The one I have written about occurred at Kanas Lake (very near the Russian border in Xinjiang Province).

We were staying in a funky log cabin 'motel' in Kanas. Of course, they don't call these a 'motel' in Kanas. They (Tuwa tribe) wouldn't know 'motel,' from 'motivation,' but the only way for you to get the idea a la the 'Bates Motel.' It wasn't eerie, however. What happened was, at least for those Chinese friendsI told (not for me).

James B. Feeney, my departed (in 1990) friend, visited Tom nee Richard one night when we were 'asleep.' This for saving my (his) bicycle helmet from the wilds (as I'd left up on the mountain). I 'saw him,' thinking it was Richard getting up to go to the outdoor toliet. No, I hadn't been drinking or smoking marijuana! I was somehow (wake up much in the night--old age syndrome) awake and lying in bed! And seeing the back of 'this man,' as real as you or me--as he went 'through it!'

We recorded on videotape my telling about this 'encounter,' the following morning. 'In fact,' showed the little cabin where we were 'sleeping.'

This is the second 'major encounter,' I've had in my recent life. The first in Big Bend, Texas, along about 1995.

I was there near Big Bend National Park, in Texas writing a book about a near-100 year old woman, Hallie Crawford1 Stillwell! I was living in what they affectionately called the 'Wet Shack!' Where 'wets,' (wetbacks: illegal immigrants) we're temporarily housed. Note, the 'Stillwell Store' complex only 22 miles from the Rio Grande (Mexican border).

My routine, was to work on the book in the morning, have lunch with the Stillwell family, and then take a long hike in the afternoon. One morning, I was at my computer/desk in this one window and one door (locked) room. For some reason I turned to my right, but so shocked by what I saw I jerked my head back, gripped by fear! What had I glimped? A short man, in a black suit looking at me (only a few feet away)! Later, I thought this might be my grandfather, but after thinking about it more I decided it was one of the Stillwells, having long departed (curious about who was writing their biography).

Yes, we 'create these things in our minds!' But, the mind is reality!

I have no doubt what I experienced at Kanas Lake, or Big Bend National Park were 'ghosts.' What are 'ghosts but a word! They're not necessarily the 'scary thing,' that Disney has exploited or are they named 'Casper!'

In 1995, I wasn't sure who that 'man' was. Last Fall in Kanas I WAS SURE IT WAS JAMES B. FEENEY! Can I prove it? I don't have to! I know! If you don't believe or know that's your problem (as more safe not to). Or, you can subscribe to the 'scientific theory' recently expressed in the 'IHT' article that, 'Ghosts are in your mind!'

There are people who actually believe in 'scientific facts!' I feel sorry for them!

Science is just the 'current story,' making us feel O.K. about 'reality' (explaining the inexplicable). But, have you ever noticed how this is always changing (I'm old enough to have lived through many of these 'theories,' always supplanted by the latest!. Or, sorry we were wrong about that, but now know 'the truth!').

Take the 'Big Bang' theory of the beginning of the 'Universe.' To me, this is a metaphor for God's own 'orgasm' creating know existence. When in fact, we don't know! The stars like human sperm 'shot out,' to fertilize the void! And what happened? Consciousness! Science!

Thus, I pray for Richard's safety on his new bicycle!

Finally, I'm going to brash enough to say I can cure anyone of any illness or 'dis-ease,' if I can change their lifestyle! It boils down to attitude, diet and exercise! But, people want to eat 'trans fat,' sit watching TV, and then when becoming ill a 'magic pill,' so they can continue with their self-destructive health habits! Sorry, it don't work that way!

If I could get you riding a bicycle regularly, I can almost guarantee adding years to your life (excluding cycling in Chinese cities, of course)!

Ms. Fiets (my bicycle) has really 'saved my life!'

Chinese people are always telling me how 'strong' I am! I appreciate this, but where I may be 'strong,' is in my mind (my body 67-years old or young)! Remember, 'we are what we think?' a minute ago? The body follows the mind (and so does your reality)!

With that 'in mind,' happy 2007! The number '9' to me!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

040107

Annealed by the fire of life!

'I' have been make

Strong as steel,

Forged in the furnace

Of live,

Living!

God making those

'S/he' loves,

To endure

Over coming evil

Generation by generation!

At the beginning

Of time,

Good and evil,

Like a balanced dime!

Falling only 'won' way

Saving the day

From night

Sheer delight,

In the end!

Annealed by the fire of life!'

'The purpose of life is to achieve union with our fundamental enlightened nature, and to realize and embody our true being!' Sogyal Rinpoche.

We're coming together!

We're coming together!

Everything, and everybody,

We're coming together!

Sharing!