Wednesday, October 20, 2010

the power of dried mangoes

this is the story of two store owners ... or a lesson in subtraction ... or why dried mangoes will someday rule the world.

my sisters and i spent a weekend in hong kong for my older sister's 40th birthday. because i knew i would see her, i had brought five small bags of dried mangoes from cebu for a chinese friend who absolutely loved the stuff. interestingly, many of my friends from hong kong adored dried mangoes, but little did i realize just how popular they were. all it took was one fateful morning for me to find out. 

5 – 1 = 4

to meet my friend for lunch, my sisters and i walked a few blocks from our hotel to a nearby mall. in theory, it should've taken 15 uneventful minutes at the most. instead, on an almost crowd-free sidewalk, i fell. i fell hard. i fell like no adult should. it was one of those moments you're not really sure is happening because of the level of absurdity of the situation.

battered right knee
(glad i was wearing jeans that day!)
one minute i was walking casually and looking into small shops, the next minute i found myself in an intimate relationship with the tiled sidewalk while very much aware of the searing pain traveling from my severely bruised knees to my shocked face. i had tripped somehow and instead of being able to get back my balance, a small group from behind me had (accidentally?) shoved me further down. i looked like i was ready to do push-ups on the street. after a few (REALLY LONG!!!) seconds, my sisters realized that i was immobile from the pain and helped me wobble to a sitting position in front of some random store. the store owner, who witnessed my embarrassing spill, quickly offered the couch inside his little shop and gave me some of his medicinal oil (in lieu of the ice i requested) along with a quick lecture on traditional chinese medicine. after gaining back some strength, pride and confidence in my ability to walk upright, i timidly offered the kind man a bag of dried mangoes in gratitude. i had wanted to buy something from his shop to pay him back for his generosity, but he was selling jewelry, of all things. i really wasn't in the right financial state or age bracket to buy a jade dragon ring. thankfully, the owner's face lit up when he saw our little gift and declared his love of dried mangoes. perfect. and that is how five became four.

4 – 1 = 3

my sisters looking profoundly concerned
and affected after my accident
after profusely thanking mr jewelry store owner again, we continued to walk (hobble, in my case) towards our destination. completely forgetting that my every step felt like torture, my sisters veered off our beeline to look at much-needed items, such as wii accessories and phone chargers and ipods. i let my sisters shop and haggle to their heart's content while i sat motionlessly on a spare chair to prevent anything from hitting my swollen knees. the second store owner we encountered that day was quite eager to do business with us, maybe especially after he saw the four remaining bags of dried mangoes sticking out of my little gift bag. after my sisters paid for their purchases, the store owner deftly (maybe a little too deftly!) got a bag from my stash and smiled as though we handed it to him willingly. we just looked at him incredulously, knowing we couldn't possibly repossess our goods. or maybe we could have, but we were getting hungry (and i really needed some ice). and that is how four became three.

although i ended up giving her only three bags, my friend was still ecstatic about the dried mangoes. we told her what had happened to the other two bags and she laughed knowingly.  maybe dried mangoes is the key to world peace.

(ps, i iced my knees when i got back to the hotel late that afternoon but not before more shopping at the mall. my sisters, on the other hand, ventured out again in the guise of buying me dinner but came back with more hong kong finds and a cute consolatory bag for me, the injured one.)


delsmd said...

awww... wish i could pat you on the knee. but i guess that would hurt more.

orange said...

well, it's been over a year and the bruises are all gone. i still don't think you should pat my knees. haha.

grossy said...

hoy, we bought you roasted duck and rice too. :) along with a bag of many colors.