Sometimes I will title my articles with a humorously ironic title, but in this case it’s exactly what it sounds like. I got kicked in the chest in the middle of nowhere in China. Was it my fault? Well my actions were the direct cause of a shoe in my sternum, but it’s tough to say if I deserved it or not.
We were traveling through Northern China at the time and had just take an overnight train Northwest from Harbin to a “city” called Hail’er. It was dirty, a little boring, and in the tight grip of all sorts of organized crime (completely made up one of those three). Harbin itself is pretty out there, so the fact that we had another 15 hours of traveling to get where we were can tell you that my red hair was more than just an anomaly. Other than the occasional Russian that comes down for business, this place did not see white people. It certainly didn’t see Americans.
As a little back story, we were told that people in Northern China tended to have much shorter tempers than down south. Given the history of being invaded, pillaged, and everything else that usually comes along with that, it makes sense that they would be a little territorial. However, that doesn’t really help in keeping me quiet when I see a pretty Chinese girl (or THREE) standing there alone.
I went out alone that night with “Shandaman” because we were both equally discontent with simply going to a KTV with everyone on our trip and not at least trying the one huge bar that exists in the city. After a few hours in the club we saw rejection, go-go girls, line dancing, and more free drinks than I would allow myself to drink. That all went fine, it’s when we left that we ran into a little trouble in big China (movie reference, anyone?).
Standing on the steps just beyond the exit, we waited for Bret who was still wandering inside talking to our Chinese friends for the night. To my left there were three girls just chit chatting. “Hey look at them, say Hi and see what’s up.” Sure, Shandaman, why not. I go through the basic Chapter 1 introductions, not even getting the point of asking for their name when all of a sudden my body is moving backwards at a rapid pace. Judging by the follow through of a man who was at once standing in front of me I realized I had just been pushed in the chest. Head titled back, eyebrows raised, and chest pumping out, this man gave me the impression that he was a little upset. In fact, I have never seen a Chinese person look so mad. That was of course until my body is stumbling backwards once again and I noticed an elongated foot pointed directly at my sternum. I’m no expert on Chinese culture, but I think a chest kick gets you more points than a push.
Almost as instantly as the territorial ninjas showed up their lady’s restrained them in an effort to protect us from further wrath. Fearing for my life I gave the cutest one a final wink and retreated back inside the bar. Praying that they wouldn’t follow, I waited in fear that I wasn’t going to star in “Crouching Ginger, Flying Shandaman.” I knew that if a fight started, the two foreigners weren’t going to get any help from the crowd. Alas, we were not followed and we eventually met up with our friends and calmed ourselves with a few beers amongst friendlier faces. Another adventure for the memoir.