March 27, 2001: It was good to be back in the Los Angeles airport, after what amounted to a six week trip to Asia. Lots of training, lots of getting together with old friends, lots of exploration, and a little bit of relaxation. But no amount of gong fu training could prepare me for what was to happen next.
I had gotten my luggage from the baggage carousel, after the usual voyage through the land of Los Angeles's US Customs, which kind of went like this:
"Where have you been, Sir?"
"Primarily China, living near a temple with some monks, training in the martial arts and Buddhism, and, oh, a short stay in Thailand for rest and relaxation."
"OK, but, let's leave the body cavities alone this time..."
Yes, it was the usual voyage through Customs. One would think that they'd know me by now. No big deal, it's fairly common for me to get "pulled over" in the US; for some reason. I must fit some sort of terrorist profile criteria. I always knew I had that kind of face. But, it's always friendly. Inevitably, we end up talking about martial arts, or, Thai women. It's usually a pleasant part of my journey. I always wondered why, in China or Thailand, where, no doubt, I could smuggle in a wide variety of portable nuclear weapons, I never get questioned. It's always a friendly wave, with the "Oh, he's back" look on their faces. I'm going to have to investigate that further one day. Where does one get portable nuclear weapons?
But, back to my story; the real fun was about to begin, once I got through Customs..
I got to the arrivals terminal and found a seat, as I waited for a friend to come get me at the airport, when a rather attractive young woman sat down next to me.
"Hi, my name is Brandi. Like my boobs? I just got them put in."
Well, they were noticeable, as, with the way that she was dressed, it was hard not to notice them. But it was then that I started to evaluate my newfound airport terminal chair companion.
"Well?. Do you like them?", as she moved to hold them up for me.
I was too busy in thought to answer her, as I started to notice all sorts of things about her. Obviously, her breasts weren't the first foray in the world of plastic surgery. Lips, possibly some liposuction, and definitely some Botox facial injections. Add to that the bleached worn out and overworked hair, the fake nails, teeth whitening, caps, fake contact lenses, and the elaborate clothing, and god, I thought, she's spent quite the fortune. Not bad for a girl in what I had thought was her mid-twenties.
"Are they too big?"
My mind was racing now. I was mentally trying to add up what she had possibly spent on her physical overhaul. Five grand for the breasts, a few hundred for the Botox, a few thousand for the liposuction, a few thousand on her teeth, a few hundred on the contacts, and god knows what on the more than likely weekly visits to the hairdresser and the nail stylist. I couldn't even put a price on the clothing, what little there was of it.
"I had them done in Beverly Hills. My plastic surgeon is the best."
Oops, make that seven to eight thousand for the breasts.... Oh, she had spent a small fortune. And then I started thinking of my recently finished trip to Shaolin, some parts of mainland China and southern Tibet, and a very pleasant and much needed relaxing week in Thailand. I must have spent about three thousand dollars on the entire six weeks.
"You don't like them. Maybe I should have gotten them bigger?"
Bigger, I thought, God, each one was bigger than my head. I started thinking about what it would look like if I had shaved my head and had shoved it in there. Yes, my head was smaller. Most definitely. I wondered if it would look good in there. Well, regardless of how it looked, it would be fun. My head, I decided, would just not be the same after a trip like that.
And then, as I stared at her very over-bleached very over-blond dried out hair, which seemed to be just all over the place, I started thinking about all the women that I had run into, and had seen, on my journey. There were the Chinese women, all very reserved and honorable, all with straight black hair and brown eyes, with awfully plain clothing, with their wonderful little smiles and their ever-constant talking, bickering, screaming, laughing, whatever the hell they were talking about, they always seemed to be making incomprehensible noise, and always, always, all at once. How they understood each other was just one of those great mysteries of life. And they were always laughing. And definitely enjoying themselves, as they congregated in their little gaggle of frivolous and simple female friends. They were always a pleasure to be around. At least, if you weren't trying to sleep. And then, I thought about the Tibetan women, hard working, responsible, dark skinned, shiny black hair, brown engaging eyes, and that smile. Oh, what a smile. There isn't a smile to be found anywhere else on this planet that even comes close. The smile on a Tibetan woman's face is most definitely a gift from God. A gift that we just are not worthy of. And the Thai women, oh, the Thai women. OH GOD, the Thai women. What was there not to like about the Thai women? Delicate, overly friendly, natural, long haired, beautifully featured, reserved, respectful, traditional, and just plain lovely. Women who believe in taking care of their men and themselves. Women who are just a joy to be next to. Women that you just want to walk up to and hold. To be around the majority of them is just heavenly.
"Well, are they ok? Or should they be bigger? You're not answering me."
She was getting a bit frazzled, and slightly obstinate. She definitely didn't appreciate my lack of attention. I had to say something fast.
"My dear, I have traveled all over a good portion of this world during my lifetime, and, without a doubt, you are most definitely the epitome of feminine beauty, an example that all women should aspire to, and an object of pure heavenly desire that all men should be willing to die for."
I had lost her. I wasn't surprised. "Nice tits" probably would have worked, and no doubt, now that I think of it, probably would have eventually landed both of us in a lovely horizontal position under some row of benches somewhere nearby. And, maybe, if I was really lucky, a lunch date one day. But no, stupid me had to appear intelligent and gentlemanly. I had to reroute the conversation.
"So, where are you headed?"
"I'm going to Vegas. I'm going to work there. And I'm going to make lot's of money."
"Oh, as a matter of fact, I live there. I'm heading there also. What kind of work do you do?"
"I'm a dancer."
Yet again, how stupid of me. I've been away from this country for far too long. How could I have not figured this one out? I'm away for six weeks, surrounded by women who largely can't communicate with me, and when I finally run into one that speaks English, God throws me a stripper. Oh, He must be laughing right now. Yes, I thought, He definitely knows how to have fun with me. Yes, He is a cat, and I'm his mouse. And then I thought, maybe He was a She.... Hmmm. I'm definitely in trouble. It then had occurred to me, that without a doubt, without any sort of doubt at all, I must have been a very bad boy in a previous life. I hope that it was fun, whatever it was.
It didn't take long, but eventually, I realized. I understood. It was crystal clear. It hit me, and it hit me hard. I'm back. I'm home. Back in the USA. No, wait. This was not exactly the USA. This was worse. I was back to the merry little distorted world of Las Vegas.
And nothing had changed.
Regardless, it's good to be back. And what a trip it was. Contrary to popular opinion, I have not returned in multiple pieces in multiple boxes, and, no, I wasn't put into prison. It was just a very pleasant trip. And an educational one, as usual. With lots to talk about.
Actually, a lot of changes and updates to the web site. Some of the changes are scattered through the older pages, some of the updates are listed here. There's more to come; I just haven't had the time to start publishing the hundreds of pictures, and the few videos, and the other wanderings of my feeble old mind, just yet. I'll let you know when the rest of the stuff is up:
* Better, high resolution "zoomable" photos of the frescoes of Guanyin Hall;
* A photo of the "Damo stone", which is located in Wenshu Hall. Yea, use your imagination....
* Ever wonder what vows one takes when one becomes a disciple or monk? Yea, me too. I took them, and I still haven't the slightest damn idea what I had agreed to. But, I'm working on it. You can see the monk book of all the "rules", in the Fugue section, under The Vows. If you can read it, please let me know;
* A doc diatribe on the totally unobtainable and bizarre concept of Enlightenment, in the Fugue section, where I put the rest of my bizarre and unintelligible diatribes;
* Another doc diatribe on the also and equally totally unobtainable and bizarre concept of Privacy in China, in The Zoo, again in the Fugue section;
* Some minor additions to the Shaolin FAQ section, scattered throughout, with some thoughts on what to bring to China if you're dumb enough to follow in my footsteps, and, thoughts on what not to bring to China, and thoughts on falling in love, among other things;
* Some updates to the gong fu section, more specifically, a listing of some of the more important and well known Traditional Forms, a listing of some Terminology that you might find interesting, and some changes and updates to the gong fu basics, scattered throughout the Gong Fu section;
* Went to the Gong Fu section and realized that you just can't do any of this shit and still have a vestige of self-respect? Head on over to the Fugue section, to read yet another wandering diatribe of mine, entitled Inspiration. If that doesn't really make you feel like shit, well, you should see a picture of the last girl I went out with....
* And, from a respectable source, probably the only intelligent and respectful addition to the site in a long, long time, a more detailed history of Seidokan's Tomo, in the Seidokan section, translated from the Spanish and edited by Sensei Schumacher;
* Talking about respectable and intelligent sources, Fa Hui yet again dazzles us with his incredible insight into Buddhist thought, with his interpretation of the Maha- Prajna- Paramita- Hridaya sutra. And, if you want to get to know Fa Hui a little better, head on over to the Contributors section and read a little essay he wrote about himself. Typical of the pedagogue he is, even a story about events in his life can have some significance for all of us.
* Did I mention, what you've all been waiting for? A download section so you can download the videos for your own learning pleasure (or, whatever you do with them). Because they could not be experienced in all their glory via the streaming technology of RealPlayer, I've made them available for download now. You can find them in Downloads, in the Audiovisual section. Be patient, they're big files. And don't even think of making money with them. I'll find you. And it won't be pretty.
* Oh, talking about big files and not being pretty, have you seen the latest crap in the Emails section? (Did you see my last girlfriend?) Yes, you're still sending me bizarre shit. When are you people going to get a life? When am I going to get a life....
There's a lot more to come, including some videos of rarely seen gong fu, performed by rarely seen gong fu masters. (Did you actually think that you were going to see videos of me doing this shit? HA! I have some self respect left, and I'll find it one day). Also, lots of slideshows of my journeys to Harbin, Beijing, and, the so-called "Shangri La" of China, Yunnan province, near southern Tibet. I'm currently working on the "real story" behind the destruction at Shaolin, entitled, "A Bedtime Story"; something that you definitely don't want to read to the little ones at night. And there will be more updates as to what is currently happening in Shaolin, in the Destruction section. And, yes, another "and"; if I ever figure out how to use this damn software, a Virtual Reality tour of the Shaolin Temple. (No, I didn't do one of the Dengfeng whorehouse, but, oh, what an idea....) Give me a few weeks, and I'll get it all published. You know, I do have a life outside of this. And one day, I'll find that too.
Oh, and if you haven't noticed, this web site has been taken over by the russbo corporation. Check out the little ditty on that, to learn more.
Yes, I didn't forget, and I didn't forget because I get your damn emails about it every damn day. "Doc, I want to go to Shaolin. What do I do?" Has "seeing a psychiatrist" entered your mind? Well, I told each and every one of you that I'd help you with this crazy venture, and help you I did. And soon, I'll have information on what to do and how to get there, in the Shaolin Schools section. Yes, I didn't forget. I made all the arrangements this last trip. If you want to go there this summer, get your plane flights and pack your bags. And make sure you head over to Shaolin FAQ to see what you should and should not bring. Just, wait patiently. I'll have the information up soon. Real soon. And now, to the important stuff. Let's talk about, yes, me.
I know that you've all been waiting patiently, but I'm almost done with the new and revised Doc section, which I had promised to do a few months ago. Like, back in January. I've just been having problems finding a flattering picture of me. Well, as my old residency director used to say of us young neophyte doctors, shaking his head in his usual disgusted way, as he walked out of the operating rooms we were training in, most undoubtedly wondering if the poor patients we were taking care of actually had any chance of surviving;
"You can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit".
Check it out. The real story behind all of this nonsense. Oh, and I'll get that picture one day.