Traveling is glamorous. It’s all exciting adventures, unusual experiences and great food in between. But turn the postcard around and you have the “wish you weren’t here right now to see me lying flat on my back coughing my lungs out/puking into my trash can/delirious with fever.” Such is today.
I spent last night testing how far my lungs can jump into my throat. I think I nearly got there, but the phlegm kept on my blocking my triumphant victory.
Luckily I had the local disco music to keep me company until i couldn’t take it any more and reached for a tampon, tearing it open to use its cotton wool guts to stuff into my ears. Travelling makes you resourceful. Who can find earplugs at 2.30am anyway?
Did I mention that I am on Cat Ba island right now, which is part of the Halong Bay group of islands and Limestone outcrops. But it’s not as peaceful or relaxing as it sounds. It’s high season for local tourism, which is why I arrived on a Monday, hoping to beat the weekend Hanoi rush. They probably all called in sick from work because they are all here, beach side, with their families and work colleagues in tow. Hanoi must be deserted, the economy destroyed. Or maybe they are having a remote strategy meeting, deciding what to do about the current “China situation”. I hear war might be imminent. Whatever that means. Who goes to war with China and wins? I could protest by burning everything “made in china” but i fear I might not have a wardrobe to wear. Sadly. We are all chasing the dragon in some dark way or another.
These are a few of the things i will contemplate today, as i lie back side down, fan side up. That and the fact that I don’t have the energy to get off this island. Coming here proved quite a mission. A 3hr bus ride from Ninh Binh. A taxi ride to what i thought was the “dock” but is actually the holding zone, where you buy a bus/ferry/bus combo to Cat Ba. The bus is 40 min away from the ferry which is another 40 from the island and then another bus completes the trifecta with a 40 min bus ride into town. So when I arrived I was not only sick but tired and hangry (that fun hungry angry combo). So you can imagine how excited I was to be greeted with crowds of people and loud generators (the electricity was down). They were even louder than the Cicadas, which in these parts is pretty impressive. When it rains, it really monsoons, even if your mind is somehow responsible for some of the misery you feel. But hey, fuck it. I’m sick and tired and my throat feels like someone is using a cut throat blade inside my adams apple.
Time to find my calm zen space, even if I have to be a good Westerner and buy my way into it.