In the past two days I’ve had my past, present and future told to me by two different people – Chinese of course.
Yesterday, Tuesday 20th May. I was in the forbidden city, sitting in the shade as it was an extremely hot day and I still hadn’t bought a hat. After chatting to the London old lady tourists on Wendy Wu tours, me and my friend met a Chinese girl named Victoria. She was alone in the city and seemed to be a very energetic (little crazy) 24 year old. She was soon also chatting to the Chinese ladies near to us and playing with the baby.
As we were chatting about why we were in China, how long we’d been here etc, an oldish lady, maybe early 60’s asked for Faith’s date of birth for some kind of reading. Victoria helped with the translation. After Faith’s turn I also wanted a go and this is what she told me –
I was born lucky, so lucky and that I have a lot of good luck in my life. She also said that my future boyfriend will be very good, a manager or CEO, something like this.
Sounded pretty good to me and all of that just from my date of birth. She didn’t tell me where I could find this CEO future boyfriend but I thought she was maybe right about me being lucky.
Today – Wednesday 21st May
After climbing the great wall our tour included a free foot massage, done by people and not those fish. We went along to a place near to the Olympic centre and sat in these very comfy chairs that apparently the international athletes also sat on. Whilst our feet were soaking a lady came to tell us about the importance and accuracy of Chinese medicine.
However, the most used words in her presentation were headache, back pain, kidney, hormone imbalance, white hair, cancer, tumour etc etc. She said western medicine only treats these things after a diagnosis but Chinese medicine has many preventative measures to balance the body’s ying and yang. I was a bit taken aback, I’d only come for a foot massage and here was some woman telling me that if I didn’t detox my kidneys and liver with Himalayan medicine I’d have all these health problems.
She carried on talking about palm reading in Chinese medicine and invited “professional Chinese palm reading doctors” to come in and diagnose us with any health conditions we may have or develop in the future. We had to clap for these doctors as they came in as they were the best in the field.
I anxiously gave my palms to this doctor as I was also having my feet massaged. The first thing he told me was that I shouldn’t eat ice cream or drink cold drinks as this gives me stomach aches – true! I do get belly aches after cold things. This Guy was clever.
Then he told me that he could see I have bad blood circulation and that this was a problem that needed to be addressed now. He wrote me a prescription for some type of herbal tea that would cost £80 for a months supply. I thought maybe he was making it up but wasn’t 100% sure until he told me my third “ailment”.
He told me that I have blocked ovaries and a hormonal imbalance in my body. The circulation medicine would also treat this, unblock my ovaries and my hormones would be back to normal. At this point I knew it was all a scam to get tourists money as I heard other “doctors” saying similar things to the other girls on our tour. We were all prescribed the same thing and it was all very dodgy.
The next part was that after I said no in a nice way, they kept trying to sell me it, saying that half a month, £40 would be enough to cure me. I told the doctor and the translator that I was just a student and didn’t have the money to spend on medicine. That seemed to do the trick as they both upped and left when they saw I wasn’t going to buy.
If he really was a doctor and could see bad circulation from my palms, surely he would have told me what this means for me and other ways of treating it besides this magic cure all women’s problems tea they were selling.
I must admit it felt pretty real at the time and I don’t know. I say I don’t believe him but there’s a tiny part of me wondering whether to check my blood circulation when I get back to the UK and if he was right then I guess I’ll make an apology.
So to conclude, when you’re a tourist tourist in China, with tour agencies or even just wandering around a new city – the Chinese people will try to trick you in many ways – palm reading foot massage parlours, art exhibitions, tea houses and jade galleries. They all want your money, be wise where you spend it, it might be a trap.