Yesterday my son, Frank, celebrated his sixth birthday.
We took him to his (and my) favorite restaurant here on
Hainan Island. It’s called Xin Jiang Ren – and it’s famous for
serving truckloads of lamb on metal skewers – as well as
having a show each night where Xin Jiang men and women
sing, dance and perform in the traditional manner for their
province (more on the role I played last night in a minute).
Like his mother, Frank can now eat hot peppers like a champ –
even here in China where they make American “hot” lame by
comparison. Hot peppers are good for the blood, the heart,
the digestion – and so on – provided you don’t overdo them.
One of the refreshments cherished on this hot, humid tropical
paradise is yezi shui (coconut milk). It was great watching Frank
bite off a piece of hot lamb, begin chomping, then reach for his
glass of coconut milk. He must have had three glasses in record
time because last night the “la jiao” – was super hot.
At the end of the performance the women wander the crowd looking
for partners to dance with, which leads to a ceremony where a man
is selected, offers a rose to the beautiful maiden, who rejects him. This
is followed by the man duck walking after her and begging for her love
– which is usually followed by her acceptance.
Nice for the movies or for a play, but not generally how it works in
real life – but wouldn’t you know, just like last year, they wanted ME
to be one of the guys who danced with the girls. Last year I refused.
I refused this year as well. But this time I was weakened because I
had drunk a couple glasses of Great Wall dry red wine – so when I
said I had knee pain, and back pain, and a headache, and whatever
other excuse I could muster, they didn’t care. I was to take the stage
with the beauts – it was fate.
So I consented. And despite my somewhat elevated state of consciousness,
I woke up the crowd when I duck waddled along with the Xin Jiang men,
then hopped around from foot to foot and basically imitated all their loose
and flexible body movements.
My goodness, that son of a running dog can move, I heard someone say –
in my imagination.
As destiny would have it, I was chosen to be the man for the vixen and
to show my adoration I had to pick up a rose with my teeth then duck
walk the stage begging for her. I followed along – much to my wife’s
delight (at this point). True to form I was rejected – but encouraged to
After straddling the stage a second time the men began to advise me
on what romantic things I could say. The MC asked, “Your wife is Chinese,
I replied “yes.”
He then asked, “Who is more beautiful, your wife or this fair lady?’
“Wo bu shuo,” I replied – “I won’t say.”
This brought huge laughter from the crowd. The MC asked me to say
something romantic a second time. At that point I called Frank to the
stage and told him to do it for me, that I couldn’t say such a thing to
this lady before my wife – even as part of a play.
Frank grabbed the rose from me – and instead of getting down on his
hands and knees, he tossed the rose on the ground and stomped on
it. At this point the MC realized he better get us off the stage as fast
The lady took the rose and sat on my knee, then we gave a big smile for
the camera – which by that time – wouldn’t you know it – was out of pictures.
My brother-in-law had already taken 800 during the evening. A bit much –
but he’s fascinated with his new toy, which I bought for him so he can take
a ton of photos of me for new products and such.
When I got back to the table, Zhannie, told me how happy she was that I
wouldn’t say anything – and she was equally proud of Frank for throwing the
rose on the ground and stomping on it … because the MC was asking both of us
to say something neither of us should say in public.
The whole event, to my wife, was about “face.”
Yes, it’s okay to have a great time, but remember where to draw the line –
and KNOW that there is a line – especially in public.
In the future I may show you some photos from the grand birthday party.
In the meantime, remember that being able to squat and waddle like a
duck is part of my Combat Conditioning program. This exercise will
strengthen your legs, lower back and knees in a major way.
But you’d be well advised to begin with Hindu Squats first. Once these
are no problem – you can add the duck walks into the mix.
More to come …
In the meantime, don’t forget to …
Kick ass – take names,