On my last day in the city, an Indian naturopath and friend of the family pays us a surprise visit. He stays for lunch, and I prepare some especially sloppy spring rolls for the occasion.
He asks if I eat like fried food.
He gives a knowing nod.
Why do you ask? (I ask)
I already know that (he explains).
He thinks my body must be too hot (I did have a fever that day) and advises me to drink coconut water all the time. Colorado coconuts are not so sweet, and I don’t know how they fair in the Chinese highlands. My flight leaves in 18 hours. I wonder how many coconuts I can chug.
Then the table takes turns asking him how to treat our various maladies. My turn. Sore throat.
Who makes your throat sore, you or your throat?
I don’t know how to answer that.
Did your throat hurt itself, or did you hurt your throat?
He asks what I use to brush my teeth. I know this one. Toothpaste, I tell him.
What is your toothpaste made of? Tell me the main ingredient.
I don’t know.
You have a university education and you don’t know the main ingredient in your toothpaste??
Ouch. It’s a chemical, of course, and he thinks it may have caused my sore throat. Flushed and flustered, I consider telling him about the salt and baking soda mix we used to clean our teeth on the farm in New Zealand. But my throat was okay then.
He asks about my menstrual cycle and tells me to eat more vegetables.
We shake hands, and he invites me to India.