Find Your Limits

One of the things I love about traveling is being pushed up against personal limits that I did not know that I had. Of course there can be emotional reactions when this happens and the personal challenge is to get through this unscathed.

My friend Ulrike has found some of her limits recently. She was determined to walk up mount HuaShan with us in spite of her asthma and troubled knee. She pushed through more than five thousand steps with us to the peak. However, we were running short on time coming back down, and her panic levels began to rise. As we got close to station for the chair lift that would take us back down we encountered a group of Chinese tourists that were clumped together blocking the path to take a photo. I began asking them to make some room for us, but Ulrike exploded. She threw her hands in the air and began running through them yelling “Excuse Me, Excuse Me, Excuse Me”.

This was the first of a series of explosions that have punctuated the journey. While in Xi’an we were walking around in the rain trying to find a bank and a way onto the wall. The traffic in Xi’an is chaotic like many cities in China. We were pushing our way between some cars to cross a road. A gap opened up while Ulrike passed in front of a taxi and the cab driver lent on the horn. Ulrike jumped, and then began yelling at him in German. “JA TOLL, ICH KANN NICHT VORNER GEHEN”. A short while later a bus drove close behind her, splashing water onto her legs. She jumped forward and turned to face it. “YA DANKE, DAS IST WIRKLICH SUPER!”. She then proceeded to storm down the street with her arms in front of her to ward off the edges of encroaching umbrellas, stomping her feet like an angered antelope warning any predators that it is not in the mood for any crap.

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