The language barrier is not easy, and I’m starting to lose my patience little by little.
You don’t always get served the right food even if you point at the name of the dish on the menu to the server.
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 was with tomato sauce or not, I clarified that I’d like to have my meal with 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. That’s how I eat my stir-fry noodles back home.
Green tea wasn’t common everywhere, either, which I found weird.
Remember, I wanted to skip my period? I continued taking my 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 very unnatural. I can tell that my body is confused. It likes a healthy routine.
The first thing I’ll do in Australia is a smear/pap test.
I figured it’s important to have toilet paper with you while travelling in Southeast Asia. I’m not sure how often the girls here wipe themselves after urinating. Even if you used the water sprinkler, there’s nothing to dry yourself with. I don’t understand it.
I almost ran out of hand sanitizer, so I bought more. They help stop mosquito bites from swelling. 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 observant of my actions.
But I think I’ve lost it all.
Nothing against Hue. It just made me realise that there are a lot of important things that I am not doing. The focus is somewhere up in the clouds.
I gave Lucas an Imodium. He’s asleep next to me. 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 a bit more 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; Fairbanks and Seward were spontaneous. I didn’t really use my time well.
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.
Each major city here should have a big English school.
Shopping here is not fun, either. Some are trained well to fool tourists and rip them off. I don’t have the toughness or will to bargain. 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 Lucas is a little anxious because I’ve been talking about being 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 cannot 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 good day in rainy Hue yesterday. I was a passenger on a scooter. We visited several tombs. I can’t even remember what they were, but the drive was quite exciting. And then I saw the monks in the temples.
In a smaller temple, I saw a monk sleeping in a hammock with Apple earphones on. According to the tour guide, the monks would even be talking to fellow nuns.
If I can still read, write and listen to music as a nun, then –
We’ve been fortunate with the weather on Hoi An and have 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 selling ladies 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 Lucas didn’t. I realised that I get terrified of waves and didn’t dare to go any further into the salty sea. It was a nice relaxing day. We had rented bicycles and rode to the beach and back. The sun has been extreme. Most of the time, I had my back facing the sun. Parts of my shoulders are burnt – my entire upper back is dark. Still debating whether or not to buy a wide-brimmed hat.
Despite sitting in the shade, Lucas got burnt 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 got blocked up, and the throat actually started to ache a bit. I thought it was hay fever-related, but it turned out to be a cold. My nasal spray for hay fever didn’t help. Overnight my throat ached more, and my stomach wasn’t well either the next morning. I got nervous about developing the flu or something similar. I read later on that people tend to catch a cold during the rainy season. You see, most of the Vietnamese people wear mouth masks to protect themselves from exhaust fumes, but it’s also to protect them from catching 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 very soon.
I also had a dress made, which I didn’t intend to. I prefer going to a clothes shop and try things that are already there and available. Hoi An is popular for tailoring, by the way. This is 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 is another story. But I couldn’t try it on before it was 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. Maybe I should’ve waited till Thailand. Doing most of the shopping in the first country that we’re visiting is perhaps not very wise. Carrying more and more clothing with you is not really convenient whilst backpacking.
Speaking of backpacking.
I am still no better travel companion.
It’s a deep mental pain you wish not to inflict on other people. It’s hard not to when they’re there. And you wish you could hide.
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 leading me.
Only a month ago, I was focused on becoming a better person. I suppose I need more time and space. For now, I can only continue trying. If no progress in a year, I’ll have to take drastic measures.
It’s interesting how things become clear as you are travelling in a foreign country. It’s not just leaving your comfort zone, but viewing things differently and more critically.
When I finished reading Hesse’s Siddhartha, I, too, realised that time is an illusion, but the reality is always there; the present is always there. But what you experience is transitory. Nature has its own cycle. All you can do is accept. I have to keep reminding myself.