Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Swords, Super Moons and Shanghai Tunnels
Last weekend was a crazy scene in Port Townsend Washington.
My training partner and I attended a seminar on the traditional 54-movement Tai Chi sword form, and nailed the last part of the form. It's beautiful, stylish and lots of great techniques are involved. As usual, our instructor Michael Gilman taught the class in great detail and the form is a gift to practice and explore for years to come.
But Saturday was also "Cinco De Mayo", a terrific evening for margaritas and Mexican food.
- And it was also the "Super Moon", a rare night where the full moon was closer to the earth than usual, and craziness was sure to break out.
Port Townsend, along with San Francisco was one of the earliest West Coast seaports. It's where all ships had to clear customs to enter Washington State, and the town is flanked with Victorian houses and ancient brick buildings.
Long ago, high pressure water cannons were used to wash a long stretch of hillside into a marsh that was filled to provide room for the town. Here's the cliff and what's left of the hill:
As a result, the ground is very unstable and there is worry that the sediment could "liquefy" in an earthquake emergency. It's not a happy forecast, as the West Coast is due for a major quake in the future.
So several of the roads and sidewalks have been torn up and are being re-fitted with structural supports which probably won't help much.
However, it did expose some of the "Shanghai" tunnels that were probably used for smuggling and other nefarious crimes as referenced by this website:
"Most of the buildings in the Downtown business district are the originals and many still connect to the underground tunnels that were once used to shanghai witless sailors."
Here's one view:
All very interesting, but sometimes history and modern-day events collide...
So my wife and I proceeded to put it in party mode, we were up at one of our favorite bars in town and there was a great rock band playing late into the evening.
After many, many Beers and vodka drinks, we went into the outside hall where the restrooms were near the entrance to the bar.
Then the weirdest thing happened, and I chalk it up to the Super Moon and the Shanghai tunnels:
As I walked out of the restroom, I looked across the hall to where my wife had been standing.
Except now, there was a guy grabbing my wife and trying to drag her through a door that we had never seen anybody use before.
Seriously, he had my wife by one arm and the back of the neck, and I heard him say "Come on in little girl, I'll show you what's down here"...
This all happened very fast; the guy was propping the door open with his shoulder as he pulled my wife, and I stepped up and palm-slapped the heavy wooden door right next to his head. I hit the door so hard I thought I might have cracked it, and he let go immediately. I looked down the stairway and saw two other guys on a landing halfway down. At the same time, an employee from the bar must have seen what happened and walked over. Everything ended quickly and the three guys left through the door several floors down.
I took this picture of the stairway, which we had never seen anyone use before:
I don't know, these things often happen when you least expect it.
It's probably good that I hit the door instead of the guy's face, it probably would have killed him.