1. DIRT TOWN
I don’t think I’ve ever been so filthy in my entire life. Not only was I sweaty and covered in sunscreen most of the time but everything in the atmosphere stuck to my skin or hair. The main towns stank like a rancid combination of rotting anything and everything and pollution. I stank like rotting and was covered in dirt the whole time I was there. I got fed up with showering and getting dirty again so I took some time off showering. This proved to be a worthy exercise as my own sweat smelt better than most towns.
2. FOOD HYGIENE STANDARDS
I mentioned in my earlier post that I got pretty (seriously) sick. It started when I was in Dalat and didn’t end until 2 weeks later after a couple of days in Epworth Eastern in Box Hill. I don’t like talking much about it but I’ll tell you this- I spent my nine hour stopover in Kuala Lumpur locked in a disabled toilet alternating between vomiting and sitting on the toilet crying, terrified that I was too sick to be allowed to fly home. I had bloated to the point that I looked like I was either 6 months pregnant or carrying six kilos of heroin. I wanted someone to pat my hair, give me some painkillers and magically get me home. This moment will probably also appear on my worst list of 2009 if I can be bothered writing one.
3. DANCING WITH THE RATS
This post could be about Na Trang overall really. Na Trang is how I imagine Thailand would be. It was full of prostitutes, dirty old men, steak restaurants and rats. Gross. At night, we went to a bar called the Sailing Club and got drunk and leered at old men with their hired (and much younger) lady friends. Once the dancefloor kicked off we spent our evenings dancing to shitty music and leaping over the rats that would occasionally cross the floor from behind the bar to the toilets. At first I was horrified, and then I was drunk and thought it was funny. I woke up the next morning and was horrified again. I didn’t take a single photo in Na Trang and I have no regrets about this.
Oh man, this is going to sound incredibly insensitive but the begging and relentless poverty really got me down. As soon as you left your hotel room it started and it didn’t stop until you shut your hotel room door that evening. I understand that it’s a third world country and that getting ahead is next to impossible due to their government being the way it is (I’m not going to get started here). I just found that it really mentally wore me down. Seeing such extreme poverty made my heart break. Being chased by a man with no legs for money made my brain break.
5. THERE’S ALWAYS ONE...
I’ve only been on one tour so far but I suspect there is a slightly mentally unwell, recently separated person on each tour. Lucky me, she was my roomie for the entire fucking tour. From day one, I knew she was crazy. I often get accosted by the crazy so I’m pretty confident in my crazy sensing abilities. She would ignore me for two days, then get drunk and try and kiss me. Then she’d try and be my bestie, then get drunk and go missing for a 15 hour period, then ignore me again. Then she’d cry, tell me she was jealous of me and then ignore me again. It was weird, and 18 days of it really started to piss me off and scare me a little. Let’s just say that after her last bender, I was too afraid to sleep in the same room as her. I ended up getting my own room for a couple of nights just to have a break from her. Thankfully, I never have to see her again but her crazy, maniacal and anxiety laden laugh is etched into my brain forever.