Language barriers are tough, and I’m starting to lose my patience a little.
You don’t always get served the right food even if you point at the dish’s name on the menu.
At some point, we were hungry for western food and ordered pasta. I ordered pasta with seafood. Since there was no indication of whether it came with tomato sauce or not, I clarified that I’d like to have tomato sauce. In the end, they cooked my seafood pasta with just olive oil and Parmesan on top. Instead of tomato sauce, they gave me tomato ketchup to pour on my food. I sighed. Funny though, that’s how I eat my stir-fry noodles at home.
Green tea wasn’t common in most places, which was weird.
Remember, I wanted to skip my period? I continued the pill, although my stomach/abdomen was getting prepared for the period, which was supposed to start either today or tomorrow. I only skipped my period once or twice in my life and remembered it being unpleasant. It feels unnatural; my body is confused. It prefers its healthy routine.
The first thing I’ll do in Australia is a pap test.
I figured it’s important to have toilet paper with you while travelling Southeast Asia. I’m not sure how often girls here wipe themselves after urinating. Even if you used the water sprinkler, there’s nothing to dry yourself with. I don’t get it.
I almost ran out of hand sanitizer, so I bought more. They help stop mosquito bites from swelling, but I’m sure that way, I’m letting chemicals enter my bloodstream. I haven’t actually tried the hot spoon remedy yet. For some reason, the bites here aren’t as bad as the ones in North America. I don’t react as badly. They don’t bite as fiercely, either. If I only continued meditating and were more aware of the sensation on my body’s surfaces, I would notice each bite. I would also be more aware of my actions.
But I think I’ve lost it all.
Nothing against Hue. It just made me realise that I’m neglecting many important things. Suppose my focus is somewhere up in the clouds.
I gave L. an Imodium. He’s asleep next to me, whereas I’m wide awake.
We had a bit of a disagreement earlier because I prefer booking stuff in advance, while he doesn’t. I agree that I’m fairly structured and organized, but since we’ve already booked a bus to Hoi An tomorrow, we might as well book a hotel or homestay. The last thing I want is to arrive at a new place with your bags and not knowing where to go from there. I can be spontaneous, too; I was spontaneous when I was in Alaska on my own; going to Fairbanks and Seward were spontaneous decisions. I still didn’t really use my time well. But it seems to be easier to be spontaneous alone. I wonder is it true that you have to travel with someone and be glued at the hip 24/7 to find out if you’re compatible.
I don’t like to rush when travelling, but so far, Vietnam makes me want to go south as quickly as possible. It’s almost like hoping that Saigon is like London – multicultural with more English speakers.
I must be dreaming.
I wonder if every major city here has an English school. I’d be happy to teach, even without certification.
Shopping here is not fun, either. Southeast Asians are trained well to rip tourists off. I don’t have the persistence or sales skills to bargain or barter. Since their English is so terrible, you often feel like you’re talking to yourself. They surely call you names in their language. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t do the same.
I think L. is a little anxious because I mentioned becoming a nun for a year. I keep thinking that’s the only way to become a better person to myself and others. There’s too much that I don’t want to do and can’t handle.
I’m so drained. Sometimes I would like to step aside and hide for a while, gather more strength and be more in control.
We did have a rainy day in Hue yesterday. I was the passenger on a scooter. We visited several tombs, etc. I can’t remember what they were exactly, but the drive was interesting. And then I saw monks in temples.
I saw a monk sleeping in a hammock in a smaller temple, wearing a pair of Apple earphones. According to the tour guide, the monks would talk to fellow nuns.
If I can still read, write and listen to music as a nun, then–
August 4, 2015
We’ve been fortunate with the weather on Hoi An and spent two days on the beach. We went to Cu Dai beach first, which was all right. The restaurant charged us 30,000 per beach chair. And those local ladies selling jewelry were pestering us a lot. I gave in once and bought two bracelets for ten bucks. Sometimes you feel sorry for those ladies, trapped in the same place with husband and kids.
I went into the water, but L. didn’t. I realised that waves terrified me and didn’t dare to go any further into the salty sea. It was a nice relaxing day. We rented bicycles and rode to the beach and back. Yet, the UV has been extreme. Most of the time, I had my back facing the sun. Parts of my shoulders are burned–my entire upper back is dark. I’m still debating whether or not to buy a wide-brimmed hat.
Despite sitting in the shade, L. got burned on the chest through the sun’s reflection in the sea. The same thing happened again when we went to An Bang beach the next day. It’s a more relaxed beach, bigger, too. It was free to use beach chairs if you order food and drinks. It depends if the staff likes the sight of you, I suppose. Some people got charged for the chairs.
The ride to An Bang was exhausting in the sun. I was roasting.
I didn’t go into the water this time. Half asleep on the beach chair, I suddenly felt an itch between my right nostril and throat. Later my nose blocked up, and I got a sore throat. I thought it was hay fever, but it turned out to be a cold. My nasal spray for hay fever didn’t do shit. Overnight my throat ached more, and I felt sick in the stomach the next morning. I was nervous about the flu.
Later, I read that people tend to catch a cold during the rainy season. You see, most Vietnamese people wear mouth masks to protect themselves from exhaust fumes and probably germs and diseases. People here sneeze like monsters.
At the end of the day, I don’t know how I caught a cold. I hope it will pass soon.
I also had a dress made, which wasn’t the plan. I prefer going to a clothes shop and try things that are already there and available. I don’t need anything specifically made for my body. I guess I was curious how it would turn out. Hoi An is popular for tailoring, by the way. It’s a bit of a tourist trap, too.
I was looking in a catalogue and saw a dress that I liked, but whether or not I’d like it on me was another question. I can’t try it on until it’s made.
They presented the dress to me the next day, and I tried it on. The hip and armpit area needed adjustment; otherwise, I looked like I was going to a toga party. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a nice dress, but it doesn’t feel like it’s made for me after all. Maybe I should’ve waited till Thailand. Doing most of the shopping in the first country that we’re visiting is not very wise. Carrying more and more clothing with you is not convenient when backpacking.
Speaking of backpacking.
I’m still not a good travel companion.
It’s a deep mental pain you wish not to inflict on people. Sometimes it’s hard not to when they’re there. Or you wish you could hide or tell them to go on their own.
I travel because I trust my heart and intuition. They usually tell me where to go and what to do. It’s not until the end of the journey that I understand why they told me so. Just all of a sudden, they have stopped guiding me.
Only a month ago, I focused on becoming a better person. I suppose I need more time and space. For now, I can only try my best. If no progress in a year, I’ll have to take more drastic measures.
It’s interesting how certain things become clearer when you travel to a foreign country. It’s not just leaving your comfort zone but viewing things differently. But instead of viewing them more openly, I view them more critically.
When I finished reading Hesse’s Siddhartha, I realised that time is an illusion, but “reality” is always there; the present is always there. What you experience is transitory. Nature has its own cycle. All you can do is accept and go with the flow.
I have to keep reminding myself.