Friday, October 16, 2015

Tropical Diseases and Bamboo Needles

I left Langkawi sick as a dog and in complete denial about it,  convinced that the burning fever, nauseau, and aching everything would quickly pass. After a bit of googling I'd found I matched a lot of dengue symptoms but dengue is a tropical mosquito borne disease that doesn't happen in the western world. Yes four months in and my stupid brain still thinks like that. Then the missing symptoms (dengue rash and burning itchy palms and feet) appeared and my denial got a lot tougher. I barely remember my night in Trang and my first 3 nights in Koh Lanta I was miserably healing and severely antisocial. In between the endless hours of feverish resting and nappinh I unfortunately had time to think and that led to extreme bouts of homesickness for my parents and sister. I don't know how some people go for years without seeing their family...I thought I'd be immune since I've been living on my own since I was 17 but I didn't even move cities so I'm now realizing that it prepared me for nothing. Luckily the dengue did finally end, I regained strength, joined people again and the busyness pushed the homesickness down. The one saddest part was that I didn't even see the beach till my 3rd day in Koh Lanta.

My dengue rash 
In Koh Lanta I was doing another volunteer thing where this time I was working at the Clayzy House which was this funky place practically on the beach with little huts on stilts. The work for male volunteers was hard stuff but us girls definitely got the easy work there, something I was extremely grateful for my first few days of work when I was still weak. All yhe work was pretty decent except my last day of work...I had to clean the shelf the chickens have been shitting on seemingly for the past 20 years. Through helpx I have now been covered in worm poop at the Layog Country Farm and now chicken shit at Clayzy. How did I go from working a 9-5 at a desk to knowing that worm excrement smells better than chicken?

The other volunteers there are fantastic and I've spent so much time with Ben, Esteban, Luisa, Joy (who pretty much lives there) and so many other great people. Together we've taken motorbikes around the island-no still haven't worked up the courage yet to drive one myself- seen beautiful waterfalls, trekked together, drank buckets (literal buckets) of booze together at Jackie Bamboo, and sang off key karaoke with a crazy awesome girl from Alberta for free shots.

One more notable thing! I went with Esteban and 2 french girls and while they got tattoos I finally got mine retouched after saying I'd do so for 3 years. The homesickness is still there and since I was missing my sister it seemed like time to finally fix it since it was a sister tattoo. To retouch it in Canada - $100+, to retouch it here - $18. My one retouch took more time than all 3 tattoos since the guy wanted to make sure it would not fade so easily. I can now say my tattoo has been done with a tattoo gun AND bamboo and fuck does bamboo hurt! My sister and I got tattoos in Sweden and she said it was the most painful tattoo she's gotten...well I hope to god she never retouches it with bamboo!

Before it starts...

Yup. Finger tattoos and bamboo hurt.

Lesson learned: Dengue sucks. Wear mosquito repellant

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