It was going to be a simple day, wandering Hong Kong’s harbor on my own and scouting restaurants for a celebratory dinner. The universe had other plans for me.
With raindrops falling, I decided to take an underground metro passage to get to my next destination. Step down, down, down and then boom. I slipped on the wet, metal steps, taking the entire impact on my left butt cheek. Shocked, confused, I managed to stand up, moaning in painful agony. A local woman scooted past me, ignoring my situation and leaving me alone. Unlike every other metro stairwell in this city of seven million people, this one was completely empty. Now what, I thought?
Cry. Yeah, it was that painful. Can I break my butt, I worried to myself. Feeling mostly intact, I started walking. Step after excruciating step, I made my way through the tunnel, seeing through tear-filled eyes. Holy shit, this hurt way too much. I remembered that Ken said he was headed to the art museum, not too far from where I had fallen. I decided to limp that way, hoping to bump into him. By this time I was walking through metro malls filled with happy shoppers. Tears continued to stream down my cheeks and no one seemed to notice.
Not finding Ken in the museum lobby, I searched for the inevitable cafe that every museum complex seems to have. Stumbling through the door, I locked eyes with one of the workers. Please speak some English, please, I pleaded inside my head. I handed the woman a plastic bag from my purse and asked if she could place some ice in the bag. A confused look. I explained to the woman that I needed to put ice on a bruise. Without full comprehension and thankfully without any more quizzical looks, the worker handed me my bag of ice.
Heading into the bathroom, I was grateful that this fall happened in Hong Kong, a place with proper toilets containing proper stalls and not, say, Nepal, where a plastic sheet separates the men from the women. Locking myself in a stall, I stripped off my clothes, yet was unable to see the damage. Risking losing all sense of my dignity, I took my naked ass out of the stall and faced it towards the wash basin mirrors. For all the pain I was experiencing, I was half expecting to see barbed wire hanging out of my bum. Instead my entire left butt cheek was strawberry red. I returned to my stall to begin icing my injury.
After a very slow walk back, I made it to the hotel room and began popping ibuprofen. Time to view the damage again. My backside had turned completely purple and formed a bruise about the size of a Usinger’s bratwurst on the upper portion of my left butt cheek. A nasty hematoma was to be my new companion in China.
I did join Ken, Chris, and Angie for dinner, which meant retracing my fateful steps.
In that slippery moment, my last few weeks of world touring had changed radically. I would be seeing the inside of a lot more cabs. And asking for a lot of baggies with ice.
In case you’re wondering, yes, I took a photo of my ass. And no, I’m not going to post it on the blog.