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Steam and a Burned Foot

CHINA | Friday, 8 July 2011 | Views [1686]

You know those holes in the ground, with metal lids on top of them that you only see policemen enter into on the tv shows?  Yes, well, in China, steam actually comes out of these holes in the ground (that are located on main roads).  In America, I'm sure steam comes out of these holes too, but I just haven't ever seen it.  Restaurants, apartment complexes, hospitals all use them to vent the hot water that they use so it evaporates back into the air.  Word of advice: never step on one.

Last night, after playing pool at a local pool club in Xi'an, I was already shrouded in smoke.  The pool place was filled with slick, aviator wearing, gambling Chinese men with a a lot of power in their hands.  The entire room was covered in a dimly lit green light and after a while I got a headache from the entire atmosphere.  As I got off on my taxi, my friend and I discovered that we were dropped off at the wrong place, and decided to walk in the direction that seemed most reasonable to get back to our neighborhood.  Maybe it was dark.  Maybe I was careless.  Needless to say, one second we were asking a Chinese rickshaw driver for directions to Bei Feng Lou and the next second I yelled out as a searing hot pain came across the inside of my left foot.  It turns out that I stepped on one of these holes in the ground and steam hit my foot, in the bottom and on the side.  I forced myself to walk on it because I needed to return home to soak it in water, but by the time I finally got to the 18th floor of my apartment building and rang the doorbell and headed straight into the bathroom, the side of my foot was a bright cherry red.

I could have sworn the steam only hit my foot for a second, but the damage was done.  I had no idea what to do but to keep it in cool water and soak ice on the burn.  Afterwards, I spent the whole night writhing in bed as I experienced possibly the worst pain I had ever experienced, a constant knitting and burning feeling within my foot.

I was extremely worried, but it seems that the burn could have been more serious.  It's almost been 17 hours after the fact and I still haven't gotten a huge blister on my foot and the pink sections seem to be getting smaller.  Of course, I got some Chinese medicine to help soothe the area and keep it from getting an infection, but only time will tell how serious this burn is.  The most important rule I've learned: look three ways before you cross the street, left, right, and down.

Tags: burn, china, roads, steam, xian

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