Tuesday, March 11, 2014


For some unknown reason, the heat was not an issue for me.  No one was more surprised than I.  There were a couple times I had to find a tree to stand under but that was it.  Don't know if it was a different kind of heat, a better level of fitness, mind over matter, acute sorrow or perhaps being covered up really made that much of a difference. 

Regardless I was relieved.  Over heating was something I seriously worried about beforehand for my history with high temperatures has not been too great, having previously suffered heat exhaustion.  I had visions of fainting spells, nausea and IV (something you definitely do not want to have to get in Cambodia).  I did have on hand a tube of Nuun and ended up taking 3 tablets.

D was in disbelief when I told him that because he has much experience with keeping me hydrated and cool.  Normally I can barely stand 35C at home and will get all cranky and difficult.  I'm going to test out the staying covered up this summer and see how that works.  If my sudden ability to handle heat continues, it will be a real game changer for me.

I got sick once.  After eating something I told myself I wouldn't eat -- A fresh (banana flower) salad -- Typical Khmer dish.  I was at a good restaurant with high turnover so decided to take a chance.  Until then I was doing so well too -- Avoiding any already peeled fruit, anything sitting in the sun a long time etc.  Otherwise I had no problems with eating various street and market foods. 

Who would have thought I would fall in love with riding around in a Tuk Tuk but I did!  They are awesome!  Natural air conditioning.  You are right in the middle of all the action/chaos.  It was fantastic!  Highly recommended.  Didn't miss or need AC at all.  Hearing all the sounds of life literally buzzing around you made me feel ultra alert.  That might be because I always knew that anything could happen in a place where there are no mandatory drivers education, licencing...

The only thing was suspension.  There really isn't any.  And combined with crazy poor roads (literally minutes out of the city) will mean bruised tailbone.  That was right away on day one.  And bruised elbows because when you hit bumps (often), you will literally get thrown up off your seat and once you come back down you'll (I) hit your elbow on the arm rest as well as slam into the person beside you.  There are no seat belts.  The drivers call it "free massage".

And the way traffic is, you will literally be an inch away from the motorcycle/moped/car driver beside you.  So keep hold of your belongings because snatch and grab is all too easy.  There were a few guys I saw eyeing my stuff I didn't trust.

Got swarmed by what looked like fish flies on Mekong Island and got bitten by something 3 times.  Other than that, my strategy of insecticide clothing spray and specially formulated repellent worked wonders.  I'm going to start using that combo up north.  Neither product is available for sale in Canada so we went on a quick road trip to the States to load up. 

I firmly believe I got bitten where I did (small of my back) because I didn't bother to spray the back side of my tank top (covered by shirt) and when I got swarmed, something got between my layers.  Nothing landed on me though compared to my guide who was quite well covered.  On departure day, I wore a top that wasn't sprayed and no repellent and the mosquitoes in the airport hovered over me like a mobile.  So I obviously hadn't lost my touch.

Dengue is something to be concerned about as there is no cure and those mosquitoes carrying it are out in the daytime verse malaria which is transmitted by mosquitoes at dawn, dusk and evenings.  You are going to find mosquitoes in washrooms, inside cars (like the taxi that picked me up from the airport).  My driver was probably thinking "Who is this strange person frantically putting all this somewhat smelly lotion on her neck and face this late at night?" when all I was thinking was "No way I'm getting malaria the first night!".

I already described all that happened on my first full day, but it was a split second moment of not paying attention that made the ending of it quite painful.  I slammed my foot against a concrete lip while walking and managed to (now know I) fractured it.  You should have heard the words that went through my head and out of my mouth.  What a way to start a trip.

I know enough to know there wasn't anything anyone can do for me other than brace, splint and immobilize -- Something I have A Lot of experience with (4th fracture, least serious).  Should it be your first (even suspected) fracture, go and get professional help as it can take up to 10 days for it to show up on x-ray.  Error on the side of caution.  Believe me -- Having something not heal properly can haunt you for a long time.  Not worth taking the risk, especially when it comes to your mobility.

Squashed in there on a ferry to Mekong Island.

These are not recreation vehicles but
permanent housing for entire families.

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