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Last week was miserable

Last week was miserable, the type that can only be best described with a run-on sentence. 


The rain was falling steadily on an abandoned home in the northern Vietnamese country-side while I was lying inside it on the filthy uneven cement floor shivering and listening to my excessively loud heart-beat and moaning from fever on top of my sweat drenched sleeping bag with mosquitoes dive bombing my head contemplating if it was either malaria or dengue fever which was finally doing me in while trying not to hear the bat in the corner whom was making carnivorous barks at my stomach which was answering with slow deep and redundant growls of pain as I tried to remember how many days it had been since I had a successful trip to the outhouse while my short hollow breaths were seemingly running out of air.


For the first time on the trip I thought to myself, I do not want to be here.


As with any adventure in life ours has had its ups and downs.  Things had been adding up lately and it was putting me on edge.  I began to take things personally. When a truck horn would blow I would assume they were doing it irritate me.  When people would repetitively yell “Hello” at me loudly and mockingly then have a good laugh about it with their buddies I would let it bother me a little too much.  It is not possible to keep an attitude like this up on a trip of this nature; you will either end up going home or going crazy.  One must find ways to deal with all the nonsense.  Some scholars would probably call it something like refined optimism.  I think the air-force may use the term “the right stuff.”   


How did I solve my dilemma? Every situation has a good, a bad, and an ugly. The bad was that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. The ugly was obviously me, although the beard has been improving my looks ever so slowly. And the good was found in a number of places.


One day on our way heading southwest in Vietnam towards Loa we were in the countryside far from any guesthouse, or tourist spot in any guide book thank God, and were looking for a place to camp.  While exploring the area around a lake a family invited us to stay with them, it turned into the my favorite home-stay experience.  Mr. and Mrs. Nguyom and their two Children, along with a whole gang of neighbors invited us to sleep, eat, and rest in their home and were in great spirits the whole time despite the inability to communicate through common language.  I wasn’t feeling the best and wanted to rest but Mr. Nguyom offered to take me fishing instead, an offer that could not go untaken. So we rowed around a pond in a small boat netting fish that he farms and then later ate the fish for dinner, spectacular. They would not accept any money from us.


The next day we arrived in Thai Hoa and found a inexpensive guesthouse so I could stay and rest since I was still feeling quite miserable, and because Jim was becoming quite miserable himself.  Here we met two English teachers who took us to eat and invited Pete, Nakia, and Andrew to their home.  Since Jim and myself did not feel like to going far from the guesthouse we stayed behind. The owner however cooked us dinner and made sure that we ate enough to feel better. Forcing your guest to eat a lot is a Vietnamese custom as I found out, and so is not drinking any tea or water with your meal so that you can fit more food in. Although I did not feel like eating as much as they had hoped I would it was a nice gesture all the same. 


Finding kindness, along with slowly recovering form illness, one can quickly change their paradigm on the world.  Here in Lao the weather is warm, people relaxed and extremely friendly, and the traffic low, all great factors for happy cycling. My experiences make me hope that next time things start to get miserable good will be found somewhere nearby.

3 Responses to “Last week was miserable”

  1. Chris W Says:

    I am so glad you called and I heard your strong voice or I would be very worried about how you are doing. Health is the one thing we cannot overlook. You & your dad are mending together.

    I’ll need to actually see the beard in person before I can say if it improves your good looks. Take care, stay healthy, Love Mom

  2. Ueslei Says:

    You know I can tell you love your daughter. Therefore I just waentd to say you might want to be alittle more wearry about sexual preditors looking for pictures of little girls. I would hate to see some pervert have her picture. Just a warning I once also receaved.Hugs

  3. Danica Withers Says:

    Really appreciate you sharing this blog.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

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