The post for August 12 that I named ‘trench feet’ never happened. I was quite blank in Saigon. In fact, I was going through many moments of doubt, and I’m sure L. did, too. I can make people’s fun life hard sometimes, especially by not enjoying myself as they do. Knowing this, I tend to stay out of it completely to keep a low profile on what I’m really like. But I guess this is not possible when travelling with your boyfriend and spend 24 hrs together. You come to realise how different you are from each other. I’ve never been the best in compromising, and being in a new continent that conjures up one culture shock after the other doesn’t help, either. It makes me realise how un-Asian I am on the inside. I always thought I understood the mentality, but I seem only to know Cantonese people. And they drive me nuts, too, sometimes.
Looking Asian is another story. Here, I’ve been told a lot that I look either Japanese or Korean, sometimes Chinese. So far, neither the Vietnamese nor the Thai think I’m from their country. It might be the way I dress or the way I look or who I’m with.
On a night in Saigon, we were back at the hostel at 2 am, and the Nightshift staff was dubious about Lucas coming home with an Asian girl. He wouldn’t naturally think that we’re a couple, so his cultural instinct had him think that I could be a prostitute. We still went up to our room without a problem.
Knowing that Thailand is more popular for “sex tourism,” we decided to be more careful. When we checked in to our first hostel/hotel, we booked it under my name and made sure they knew who I was and where I was from.
Party central for backpackers on Khao San Rd proved to be too much for me to handle at times. That’s how Lucas and I differ from each other. I might not be the same party-goer as I was when I first got to Canada, but the truth is I never really was. There are periods (sometimes surprisingly long ones) where I’m just good at blending in.
Though, I’ve always been good at socializing over tea or coffee, but not over beers. I’m sure a lot of my friends agree with that. Perhaps not necessarily in big groups, though.
And having given up on all intoxicants doesn’t make it any easier to be sociable at night outs. Recently I don’t want to be on night outs, which leaves Lucas on his own. Nonetheless, I’ve still been going out – with deaf ears and a small voice, unable to socialize with anyone.
It’s the ‘pressure’ to socialize, talk to people under the high volume of the music in a (half-)drunken atmosphere, where people have reached a higher level on which you are not. I used to be on a similar level when I was still drinking, and everyone loved me, except that I felt disgusted by myself. I never liked drinking, and I think I’ve said that a million times. It wasn’t until after the Vipassana course that I decided to give up on alcohol entirely, all intoxicants including weed, cocaine, mushroom and what not.
I can see why L. got a little concerned about it because he drinks. He got even more worried when I said that I’d give up on meat one day. He believed that might affect our lifestyle together, to which I disagree. I think it’s all about respect.
As a sensitive and prone to tears person when my personal space gets invaded, I figured that I have to back off whenever I’m in an uncomfortable situation. Lucas has been trying to get me out of my comfort zone a few times, but mostly in vain. Not that I haven’t tried. I try to keep an open mind for new things; otherwise, I wouldn’t be in Asia.
I’ve had interesting Thai massages that gave me a brief introduction to chiropractic. They helped me open up tight areas in my spine. I’ve never felt anything like that before, not even during yoga. I’ve had 4 massages so far, and each one got better. The depth can be very intense. I almost feel guilty, because I wish my parents or sister could experience it as well for cheap. Good masseuses know the exact acupuncture points in all areas of the body.
Southeast Asia has also made me give up on good green tea and succumb to fucking Lipton tea most of the time. And I thought Vietnam was bad with teas. I can’t believe that even western countries are better at serving and producing quality organic Chinese and Japanese teas.
I’m currently sat at Wawee coffee shop in Chiang Mai, sipping at my second green tea of the day. It tastes unnaturally aromatic – like soap, but it’s better than nothing. The previous one that I had for breakfast was too weak; I’d squeezed everything I could out of that teabag.
My cold is gone. Finally, after 14 days! It shows how weak my immune system is. The next thing I got was stomach cramps, diarrhea and nausea. It’s no pregnancy and not the overnight bus ride. It could be the fruits from the streets or not well-cooked – I have no idea. I’m looking forward to going to Pai tomorrow and enrol in the Muay Thai kickboxing course. I’d like us to cut down on massages, not necessarily on food, though, but I do want to try eating healthier. I’m not sure how strong I’ll be for the Muay Thai course; it’ll definitely be a big challenge. My body is crying for a good workout. I never usually wake up knackered. The heat exhaustion and my current weak mind and body are the culprits. My period is close, too; I can feel how my abdomen nudges me now and then as though nagging, “So? Are you gonna delay me again? Or do you want to flush away your filth? Don’t mess with me, got it?!”
My stomach feels a little better, or this whole scenario could be linked with PMS (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Premenstrual-syndrome/Pages/Symptoms.aspx), which is not a common thing for me. Yesterday it felt like my abdomen and bowel were tying one another into a knot. It felt horrendous; I threw up half the banana that I ate an hour before.
It’s such a sweet sight observing Cantonese families at the coffee shop. I don’t remember when my family and I have stopped making family trips together. I only know the reason being “low on cash” – this remained an ongoing excuse for not going on holidays anymore, even if not buying birthday and Christmas presents.
“Waste of cash” is something you hear a lot, too, in my family. On the other hand, my parents are very generous to my sister and me, but not to themselves.
I guess I feel bad – bad for dwelling in self-indulgence while they worry about cash every day. For the first time on this trip, I’m worried about our budget, too.
The temperature in Chiang Mai is more pleasant – almost 10*C behind Bangkok. But the North always gets more rain, though.
There is a temple across the road. The saddle roofs are equipped with golden rims and ornaments. You would think it’s a nice home or a nice hideaway place.