Doctors always told me that you can only get sick if you’ve been infected or in contact with a virus. I want to tell them that if you drive your motorbike along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean for 4 hours in a sweaty T-Shirt and a sunburn then you can get just as sick, virus or not.
Actually it started on the ferry (Phu Quy Island to Phan Thiet). The day was stormy and all ferry rides but one were cancelled due to the strong waves. Inside the ferry every passenger seemed to fill half a dozen small plastic bags, a smell I couldn’t bear and I didn’t want to contribute to. So I was sitting on the upper deck outside, my once windproof jacket getting soaked with sea water, my hoodie fluttering hard against my ears, and two dozen Vietnamese men struggling to keep their cigarettes alight.
Even after all that I did somewhat well. But of course, the next day I needed to catch the first sunlight at 5am and walk along the windy beach, sweaty all over again, here it’s always around 30°C (86°F). Also, here in Vietnam at 5am the beach is already very crowded, people of all ages are out and about doing exercise, chatting, bathing. I’m pretty amazed at how well seniors can move here, I would say most of them are stronger and more flexible in their hip and shoulder joints than I am. How could I miss to see that? Of course I went out to the beach, despite my beginning cold, and joined in with a bit of head and shoulder circles.
Finally, the 3rd day in a row of strong winds, strong sun, and wet clothes did me in. I haven’t been sick like that in a decade or more. I think the last time was food poisoning in China, in 2008.
Anyways, I was lying flat like an overcooked zucchini, with my eyes too painful to keep them open, but I had my feet hanging over the edge of the bed and did hours of movements with my ankles and toes. These movements were easily available to me and I enjoyed exploring.
I was thinking of a French guy I saw at the beach. For most of the day I seemed to be the only foreigner around, so he immediately drew my attention. I saw him from his back at first, and was thinking, “Well that’s unusually inflexible feet, the entire legs actually, like two wooden sticks. How could a Vietnamese have such stiff legs?” Vietnamese people in general are very flexible, and exercise their flexibility all day round. You hardly see a Vietnamese person in a stiff position like us Westerners for any length of time. Only when the guy turned around I though, “Oh, french”. Not that I knew, but I knew that back home in central Europe we don’t squat much. The British high society considered squatting impolite. It would actually be interesting to read a historical record/account of why people in central Europe don’t squat, and why a certain aristocratic stiffness of all joints seems to be the more appropriate body posture than a flexible one.
Anyways, I found interesting questions concerning the bending of my knees (after the feet movements, in lying prone on my belly, I was playing with pressing one or both knees against the bed, to see how this relates to my hip joints, shoulders, and feet). I was still thinking about my previous post, and the lack of dreams and mystery. I was a bit unhappy of how that writing came out, and was looking for a positiv turn, light, hope, something uplifting, with joy.
There’s a way of moving that can lead us into the unknown, into the realm of mystery, into making great, unexpected, meaningful discoveries about movement and sensing and feeling and thinking. And I suspect that this path does not reveal itself with common instructing nor exercising. There’s more to movement than the feeling of victory when having aced an instruction or struck a new personal record. Concerning teaching, the fitness instructions I see on Youtube—by most influencers and fitness professionals—are like the sun: with the sun out it’s impossible to see the stars. On the other hand, to stick with that sun and stars metaphor, we need light to see things. Although, however, we can still think and feel and sense and move under the light of the stars, me thinks. Probably there’s a time and place for everything.
I have the feeling I’m getting better again. Yesterday I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to even read a single page, but now, look at me, I finished a blog post! Wish you a great day, or night, my dear.