We stopped by a traditional Chinese medicine shop a few days ago. The old, wizened medicine man took my pulse, looked at my tongue, and clucked at my skin. Some of the more exotic sights in jars: dried seahorses, swallows' nest, antlers, deer tail, goji berries, and various kinds of roots, seeds and 'shrooms. He wrote out this recipe of ingredients and I had to drink the "water" boiled from it: mysterious, black, thick and super bitter. Apparently all the Western medicine I had taken over the years for my various ailments had done me wrong (side effects) and all that bad stuff had to be flushed out. As much as my taste buds and stomach objected, I'm glad for this age- old alternative medicine.
Ahh, I've been drinking lots of hot tea here. I really like the Asian philosophy of eating. Even though there is a share fair of unhealthy fare here, everyone knows what is and what isn't good for you. Ex. Rice vinegar, royal jelly (the food of baby bees), and ginger all strengthen the body. On the contrary, it seems like American cuisine is not based so much on health and science, but on arbitrary traditions and convenience. I mean, extol the nutritious benefits of a vegetable or grain and get an eyeroll and strange looks from your fellow meat- loving Texans. But that doesn't happen in our house, eh?
Am going on a Beijing tour next Monday with the folks. I wonder what it'll be like, especially now with China rising to its feet and all that jazz. I'm enjoying the thick foliage here and just waiting for the mosquitos to eat me alive. Yesterday, my grandma, mom and I went for a walk around the mountain to see their old house. They hadn't gone in decades, and we saw my mom's elementary school, the hospital where she was born, and the community center where she used to check out lots of books. It was pretty dear.