Saturday, November 26, 2011

How I twisted my ankle (and then proceeded to make it worse by climbing a mountain)

So let me begin by apologizing for my radio silence of late. All I can say is:
現在生活是瘋了 (My life is crazy right now).
Anyhow, here's a quick story about my complete lack of grace and how I ended up limping around Taiwan for the last few weeks.

It all started with Taipei's annual Gay Pride Parade, which is the biggest gay pride event in Southeast Asia. Sadly, one of the reasons for the magnitude of this event is that in many countries here being gay is still considered a crime. So once a year LGBT citizens from all over head to Taipei to celebrate and protest. This year's there was "Discrimination get out!" A group of us Yilan-ers all decided to head up to Taipei for the afternoon to take in the festivities and show some anti-discrimination solidarity. We knew it would be a fun afternoon when this is what greeted us when we got off the subway:
Yes angel dog!
There was also your usual cast of colorful characters:

One of several Lady Gagas to make an appearance
There were a significant number of protesters from Malaysia, a predominantly
Muslim country where gay rights are still nonexistent 
All in all, it was a very fun event. If you want to know more, there are some short articles about the Gay Pride parade here and here.

So back to the point of this story: my poor busted ankle. After the parade was over, Christine and I were wandering around the Da'an district searching for a famous cookie shop and generally killing time until we could meet up with my friends Stephanie and Colleen (who had planned to come to the parade with us but were running rather late due to some unexpected circumstances). Right about the time they were supposed to show up, Christine and I were walking out of this really cute (but kind of bizarre) candy store.

I say cute because of this:

And bizarre because of these: 
Please note that the chocolate band-aids say "Queer-aid." Not sure what that's about. 
Seriously, who would ever think it was a good idea to market candy pads?
I don't think I can think of anything less appetizing. 
As we walked out, I didn't notice the step down from the entrance, so I stepped my foot totally wrong. You would think that with how often I trip over my own two feet I would have learned to catch myself by now. But no. Instead, I received my first real twisted ankle. Actually, as it turns out, I did worse than that. I managed to give myself a partially torn ligament. Ouch. But I didn't know that yet. So I convinced myself that it wasn't really all that bad and doggedly limped after my friends the rest of the evening.


The next day, we had planned to go hiking in one of the many forest recreation areas in Yilan county. However, given the very swollen state of my ankle by the time we got home from Taipei, we ruled that plan out. Instead, we decided to take a nice, leisurely scooter ride over to Plum Blossom Lake. It's a beautiful area and you can rent these ridiculous 4-person bikes to ride around the lake (For some reason, I find multi-person bikes very funny).

On the little island in the middle of the lake
And now we come to the part of the story where I took my already busted ankle and managed to make it worse. You see, in addition to ridiculous bikes, Plum Lake is also home to the largest Taoist temple in Taiwan. Unfortunately, it's on the side of a mountain that you're not allowed to take bikes up.

Of course, my friends wanted to hike up and see it. I tried to just stay with the bike but they convinced me that I just had to come. For the record, hiking up a mountain the day after you sprain your ankle: not such a great idea. If I weren't so darn stubborn, I would have done the smart thing and given up after a few yards. But I have to say, the view from the temple was great. The temple itself was very pretty as well.
We made it! 

By the time we had climbed all the way back down to our bike, my ankle had given up for the day. It was pretty much me and an ice pack for the rest of the evening. 


When the swelling in my ankle didn't go down after a few days, Christine, who as a ballroom dancing instructor has had ample experience with sprained ankles, knew something wasn't right and finally managed to drag my butt to a doctor (resisting and insisting that I was fine the whole way, of course). He took an ultrasound of my swollen ankle and found that I had a partially torn ligament. He printed off a picture of it "for my scrapbook" and told me to get an ankle brace and stay off my feet as much as possible for a few weeks to let it heal. 

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