I have been waking up earlier than usual on all our stops.  When I don’t think I am going to be up on my own, I ask to be woken up at least 1 hour before the rest of the group.  The group is woken up 1½ before any departure.  I wake up 2½ hours before.  I unpack everything when I arrive to the hotel room, even when we are somewhere for just one night. The extra time allows me to pack calmly and a lot of times enjoy a sunrise with a cup of coffee in my hand.  Tonight is different.  I’m too exhausted to unpack and since we are leaving at 7:00 am, wake-up call is at 5:30; I ask for a 4:30 am call –or a 4:30 am knock on the door since the hotel is quite basic and has no phone.

I plunk onto bed almost hurting myself ‘cause it’s so hard.  Regardless, I fall asleep immediately.

And I wake up just as suddenly, earlier -way earlier- than my wake-up call and at an hour that is quite indecent to be awake.   My eyes shoot open so violently they almost hurt my upper lid.  My stomach is in knots.  My head feels like it’s burning –I touch my forehead and it is- and feels like it is going to burst open at any moment.  My legs are shaky and I am sweating.  Then I feel a dry heave. Now I know I am very ill.  I don’t throw up, ever.  If I even feel like doing so, it means I am violently, horribly sick.  Fortunately I am organized and fumble towards the Azitrhomycin/ Loperamide combination the Healthy Traveler’s Clinic gave me.  I’m going to take it even if I don’t have, you know, diarrhea… yet. The instructions are blurry and move side to side defying me to grasp them, but I decipher them and with the pills in my hand I crawl to the bathroom where usually a bottle of drinking water has awaited.  Not now, not in this hotel, and not when I need it the most.  I drag myself to the open-air restaurant (fortunately next to my room) where I intend to raid the refrigerator.  There it is.  I plaster myself against it searching for the handle so as to open it but find around it a big old lock preventing me from doing so. I go back to my room, actually bathroom, where the next 3 hours are spent being grateful that I wrote my will while alternately bent over and on the toilet.  Hoping I won’t inconvenience the tour.  Don’t think I have ever thrown up for that many hours.  I hear noises out in the restaurant.  It’s 5:00 am and they haven’t come to my door.  I ask for water, feeling like I’m in the desert and after traveling hours under a midday sun, encounter a nomadic tribe that will give me some life liquid.  I take my pills, open my door, close my suitcase, look outside and see it is light.  I have missed the sunrise and my morning coffee, but I am alive and am as relieved as I am surprised.

The group passes by my front door.  I rise (it really feels like from the dead) and join them.  The doctors say I look very pale.  I tell them I’m sick, though I can safely be away from the bathroom from now on.  The prospect of many hours on the bus, on the death road, bopping up and down, is almost making me sick all over again though.  Another one in the group is also sick.  Misery likes company they say.  I just want to recover.

We are headed to Vientiane, Laos.  It is the capital and largest city in Laos though as of 2012 its population is still less than a million. On the way we will stop at Tham Jang Cave then continue to an organic farm where the group will have lunch.

The group is concerned about my wellbeing and check on me periodically.  I feel cared for and well-liked.  When they stop at the cave they ask if I can make it.  There is a suspension bridge leading to it.  Am feeling better but extremely weak so don’t want to chance it.  Our trip leader, Otto, and others in the group offer to take photos for me.  I hand Otto the camera and this is what I didn’t want you to miss, though I did:


I think he took this photo just to make me feel less bummed about not having gotten off the bus.  

  Wouldn’t have made it up these steps.

Or down this tunnel.    

I’m bummed anyway.  They seem beautiful.  

They are back, so onward we go to Vang Vieng Organic Farm.  

I am still weak so will not join the group with the owner of the farm, Mr. Tim, on the walk around the farm.    I ensconce myself under a thatched roof, able to enjoy the slight breeze by slathering myself in bug repellent. I still seem to be a magnet for mosquitoes.   

Up from a snooze I feel well enough to slowly walk around.

The farm is really involved with the community.   

Found a jack fruit tree.  Strangest fruit.  The taste is really sweet.  Orange in color.  Texture sort of like an oyster.   I can relate this not from tasting it then, but on another day.      

The only thing I am tasting today is my mulberry tea. 

And a little bite from this fried leaf which actually was tasty.  However, the oiliness prevented me from having more than a tiny bite.  

I take a photo of the group and they all cheer as they say: “Lidia is feeling better; she is taking photos, wonderful!!”  Their reaction made me feel even better.

I did not have dinner, however, when we got to Vientiane.  Needed to get more rest.

The city surprised me.  Will tell you why on the next post.

PS:  As you may have surmised, I am behind in my posts.  Just didn’t want you guys to worry about my health so rest assured… I am fully recovered!

Categories: Laos, Ramblings, Vang Vieng | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “Unexpectedness

  1. Karen Bagatelos

    Lidia I am happy you are feeling better! So sorry you got sick. I LOVE your pictures and your posts, they are wonderful! Have a great rest of the trip! Love you, Karen

    • Thank you my dear friend! I’m so glad you are enjoying traveling with me!
      I am waaaaay behind on my posts so will try to catch up as much as possible.
      Looking forward to the Coldplay concert with you!!!
      Much love to you.

  2. I hope you have recovered fully. It’s such a drag to be sick during a trip.

    • I have!! Thanks you so much for the wish. Was an interesting experience. Thought I wasn’t going to make it. But I have a tendency for drama. I must say though that I don’t recall being that sick in a looong time!

  3. Piri;

    That was an interesting post to say the least! Glad you’re feeling better and on the road of adventure once more…Jack Tree fruit? Cannot even imagine what it would taste or look like. The bridge of no return was very cool and the mural about the new bus a gem! Who would of thought of an Organic Farm in the middle of what looked like a jungle! Love your stuff….what drama and natural mysteries all in one!

    Big hug,


    • Hey Añag!
      Thank you for being the best public relations person anyone could have. 🙂
      I get such joy from sharing and knowing that I have many virtual travels with me!!
      I will post again tonight since I am so behind.
      The organic farm was really a surprise. Wish I had more of my senses when there to learn more about it. And I was soooo bummed to have missed the caves.
      Bigger hug,

  4. Mirta Sansone

    HI sweetie,
    I was wondering why we did not hear from you with other posts. You got me worried for a while, but now I feel relieved to know that you feel better and ready to enjoy the rest of your fabulous trip!

    Love U, Mirta

    • Ay amiguita Mirta!
      To know that someone may worry actually warms my heart. But worry not. This trip has been so amazing and enlightening that I truly don’t want it to come to an end!
      Love you.

  5. Silvia

    Que bueno que te sientas mejor,cuidate,besitos.

    • Gracias Silvita!
      Casi no estoy subiendo a Facebook pero se me hace que estas trabajando un montón!
      Ojalá, porque lo mereces.
      Un besote.

  6. Frances Yniguez Miranda

    So glad your feeling better and back to taking pictures and posting. I was sick for 2 weeks and it is taking 1 week to recover from it. So I am happy I didn’t miss anything from you. Now that cup of tea looks so good. And just thinking of being up so early and having a quite cup of coffee sure sounds good. That is what I like doing during the Spring and Summer months is to sit outside and have my coffee. Thak you so much for getting pictures for us when you couldn’t go with the group. Love and God Bless.

    • Wow, two weeks sick? Now I feel like such a wuss (don’t know if that is spelled correctly) for whining about my one day!
      Glad that you are recovering. What happened?
      Coffee in the morning is almost enjoyed more for the ritual than the actual coffee. 🙂 Since you do it too, I know you understand!
      Get totally better and come back to traveling with me!

  7. Lidi, we need to live long enough to experience teleporting. When one is that ill, the only place that we long for is HOME!! You didn’t say that once. I’m amazed.

    So glad you recovered. Hope your body is now immune! 😀

  8. You are so observant. You know, I hadn’t thought about it until you mentioned it! This part of the world has me completely captivated.
    But, I shall confess that for a few seconds I thought that if I didn’t get any better (and did not die) I may have to cut the trip short. Then… as fast as it came the thought flew away!
    I think my body is, indeed, immune by now. 🙂

  9. Hermana you have so much courage, I would have been on the next flight home to Oakland. I am praying for you, and may take a few Advils in your behalf. Virtual healing (((Abrazos)))

  10. Nancy D.

    Wowie Zowie! I was worried at first… but then thought… “She must be okay, she’s writing!” You gotta kinda expect that one may get something along the way… especially if that way is through may different villages, cities, hotels, buses, taxies… etc! Use hand sanitizer ten times a day! I got sick in France a few years back… And being ill in France and not speaking French is not fun. I fell ill after eating a chorizo in Spain (before boarding the train…). The chorizo had white mole on it… and I thought, “Must be some local delicacy.” And it was… but I wasn’t a local!

    That’s it, Lidia – We’re not locals… we’re locas! That’s why you’re traveling and experiencing and enjoying! Adelante, mujer!

    • 🙂 I am way behind in posting. Actually 2 countries behind so yes, I am alive and well. I have been hand sanitizing a lot! You were sick in France? That’s a whole lot worse. To be sick in the most romantic city in the world is not good. And eating something bad before boarding a train? My friend your timing is pretty bad!
      I agree on the locas part! But goooood loquitas, right?
      Thanks for giving me the daily amusement dosis. Miss ya!

  11. So glad to hear you are home safe amiga. I’ll be calling next audition. Thank you for your condolences….. xoxo

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