Dec 1, 2015


Well, I don't try to present an all-glossy version of our travels, shiny perfection only and always, so this happened, too. We knew we had a tough day of travel from Can Tho to our spot in Thailand. Strangely, there are no flights from Can Tho to HCMC or Bangkok, so our plan was to be up at 4, take a cab to HCMC (estimated to be 4.5-ish hours), then fly to Bangkok, then during our long layover we thought we might leave the airport and get some real food, then back to the airport for the flight to Trat, then a car was picking us up for the hour-long ride to the hotel.

Although I didn't think it through specifically, if I had, I'd have also added long lines into each travel point: long lines leaving Vietnam, then immigration in Bangkok, and long security lines in each place too. Retrieving our suitcases in Bangkok, finding our way to departures and checking in there, another round of security lines.

But here is what happened. When I woke up at 4, I felt really really bad. Really bad. Like I'd been hit by a mack truck bad. Like after the truck hit me, a speeding train hit me. My head hurt so bad I could hardly stand it, my skin and hair and muscles and bones hurt, and my stomach was in trouble too. I tried to sleep in the car on the way to HCMC but was in such pain it was hard. We got to HCMC much more quickly than anticipated -- maybe because it was Sunday? -- which turned out to be good because of the lines. We pulled up to the curb, I dashed into the bathroom while Marc paid the driver and got our luggage, and we entered the airport.

We'd checked in online and only needed to drop our baggage, so Marc found the appropriate line -- not too long, really, considering -- and I found a place to sit because I just couldn't stand up. But it took forever. Really, I think he stood there for nearly an hour. Finally our bags were checked and we went to the security line, which was extremely long and snakey and very slow-moving. I just kept feeling like I couldn't do it, I was in such pain. I sat down on the floor, and stood up when the line moved and then sat back on the floor. Finally, a young Australian couple pretty far ahead of me asked if I wanted to get in front of them, and I gratefully accepted. I think I must have looked as bad as I felt.

I slept on chairs at the gate, and the flight from HCMC to Bangkok was only an hour long, and I tried to sleep there too. Sleep didn't help, it just got me away from the pain. Then the immigration line in Bangkok was horribly long, and the place was hot, and there was a patch of sun that was painful every time the line snaked back into it. I kept sitting on the floor, and felt like crying. Finally, a Thai man grabbed an airport employee and pointed to me and said something, and she allowed Marc and me to move nearer the front of the line. Such kind people looking out for me, pinpoints of light in a miserable day.

I don't remember the flight from Bangkok. I don't remember the Trat airport. I kind of remember the kind young driver who picked us up. I don't remember the drive to our hotel. I barely remember Judy, the woman who greeted us and ferried our bags from the cab, through the fishing village, and to our room. They had dinner waiting for us -- a crab curry -- but I just crawled into bed and passed out. Marc tucked me in and went down to the restaurant to eat the dinner they'd prepared, and he said it was amazing. Judy told me they'd have papaya seeds for me the next morning, which the locals eat to fix bad tummies. I barely remember Marc coming back to the room, and in the middle of the night I had to make a fast run to the bathroom, where I re-encountered that green onion/garlic/sprouts dish I'd eaten in Can Tho.

yeah. this one. saw it again.
The next morning I felt so much better, but never quite as good as I kept thinking I felt. I was overly optimistic -- upon waking, YES! All well! Then a bit of breakfast, and ugh maybe not yet all well.

So yeah, that happened too. Blessings to the kindness of strangers along the way, and to Marc who was so very kind and helpful to me the whole terrible day of travel, helping me with tenderness and kindness.

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