My friend broke his foot recently.
He left for holiday perfectly upright, but when he returned a month later he was clearly leaning to the side.
‘What happened?’ I asked, but for some reason his normal loquacity vanished and he mumbled something about ‘kicking.’
Ooo, juicy! Kicking what?
I pressed him but he refused to tell. I did, however, get the impression that the kicking was aimed at a person and not an object although I’m not sure who came off worst.
For a couple of weeks he soldiered on, refusing treatment and muttering something about possible acupuncture (for a broken bone?)
But even tough guys suffer and when the pain had given him yet another sleepless night and more or less reduced him to weeping (in private, of course), he finally hobbled, limped and hopped his way into hospital where he acquired a pair of crutches, a supply of pain killers and a half leg cast, along with instructions to stay off his feet for several weeks, which he’s planning to ignore.
I have to admit that part of me expected the doctors to wave him away with the Chinese panacea, the cure for all of life’s ills, ailments and depressions; Hot Water.
I was first offered a cup of hot water in China on a sweltering summer’s day and thought that either my host had made a mistake or she was trying to kill me.
I soon learnt that drinking warm or hot water carries the swing in the east, where they consider cold water, especially at the body-shocking, freezing temperatures we like to drink it in the UK, to be anathema to the body.
Took me a while, but now drinking warm or hot water is no different to drinking bottled water at room temperature, even in summer.
Most amusing is how hot water seems to be offered for every problem.
Got a headache / stomachache / toothache / muscle pain? Drink hot water.
Sprained your wrist or ankle? Banged your head? Drink hot water.
Failed your exam and made your parents mad? Drink hot water.
Fallen over in public and almost died of embarrassment? Drink hot water.
Crashed your car? Drink hot water.
Lost your job? Drink hot water.
Your girlfriend or boyfriend been unfaithful? Drink hot water.
Missed your flight and can’t go on holiday? Drink hot water.
Okay, maybe I’m, exaggerating, but you get my point and if you ever come to China, or if you’re here already, count how times and for how many reasons your Chinese friends and colleagues urge you to drink warm water.
Time now to bring my broken-footed friend his lunchtime cup of warm water. Thankfully he seems to have given up that kicking habit.