The Travel Tunnel

Enter the travel tunnel with no thought of when you will get out.  This bit of zen wisdom informs all my travel these days.  No matter what my expectation, the myriad possibilities for delaying and frustrating the best laid planes of mice and men have been amped up these last couple of years, to where I dare not take the last plane out any more, but have to build in padding time to account for the delays.

I curtailed my walk around the Tsukiji market with Mark (wondering how I will get the sushi knife back through customs) to say good-bye to the more-bounce-per-ounce Kaori (that’s Cowrie, not Kay-oar-ee as I have been pronouncing it) and get on the bus for Narita at 11:30.  I didn’t get to the hotel at Seoul until after 10:30.  Snow in Seoul delayed the plane – feels like I could have walked quicker.

I was met by Dr Kang (It’s very difficult to render these names in the Roman alphabet – One Dr. Gong, who has applied Anatomy Trains, tensegrity, and Rolf through the practice of Prolo therapy – he showed me some films of his work, needling with lidocaine and glucose mostly horizontally under the skin.  He jams the needle in and skews it around under the skin, much like a liposuction operation, where they break up the fascia prior to sucking out the fat.  It looks horrendous and my sphincter lifts just looking at these films because the technique comes across as excruciating, but apparently he gets great results, treating 60-70 patients per day, and showing before and after videos and photos with significant postural decompensation.

Anyway, every time I refer to him, I call him Dr Gong, and Kim or Kang will correct me, saying, “No, Dr Gong!”  So I say, Oh, Dr. Gong” and they say No, Dr Gong.  There is some aspect of this sound in Korean I am simply not hearing and so cannot reproduce.)

Dr Kang is cheerily annoyed that I have not called in advance, as he has been waiting at the airport since my original arrival time, even though I have made it in earlier than my original flight – I am nearly three hours late and had no phone to call.  Korea at this moment seems very dark, as I sit in the back of his car and search for conversation.  The factories of Incheon fly past, and after an hour we are in the city and I to my bed.

Having felt badly done by by Dr. Kim whn he tried to cancel our course, I am surprised by liking him (again) immediately, and we work together very well for the two days in the Catholic Hospital, to an audience of about 50 doctors, yoga teachers, and Pilates teachers.  I lecture and demonstrate, but it is tedious for all of us, since they cannot practice, and some do not even remotely practice in this way.  We do alright until the second afternoon, when Kim fades and Dr Kang, who is pleasant enough but not a translator, takes over for him.  The audience is tired also, and the last afternoon I am in a staring contest with the clock at the back of the room.  Usually, I do not count the hours while teaching, but here I am counting the minutes.

Many business cards and photographs later, I am released from this cobbled together group.  Dr. Kang and Kim and Sook Hyang, the porcelain head of the Pilates association and another chiropractor and I repair to the hotel for a fine and convivial meal.  Kim and I discover that we are both Taoists in orientation, if not practice, and I feel a great kinship with this shaker and mover – he is doing so many things, and has got Erich Franklin to come in next week – I will have to hear what Eric thinks of teaching ideokinesis to the Korean professionals.

This is perhaps the end of my sojourns in Korea, I don’t know, but I will take the twinkle in Dr Kim’s eye with me, “Sex is the best,” he says sadly and admiringly – his wife is in China for the month with his kids, “The best pleasure is when something leaves the body.”  The two women are shocked and don’t know what to say.  I appreciate the sentiment – I like a good shit too, like Robin Williams in The Fisher King – though I remember vomiting into the Japanese hotel techno-toilet in my room without pleasure on the night I overdid the sushi-sake combo, but I don’t bring that up.

So now I am back in the travel tunnel – headed for LAX, and then into a snowstorm in the northeast, so who knows when I will get home?  I don’t, the Lord does, but She ain’t tellin’.


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