It’d be fair to say that the tail-end of our trip has not exactly gone to plan. Hue was a blow-out and then, to top that off, I got sick – really sick. It looks likely that I’ve had a relapse of dengue fever (which I managed to get in Battambang) with a side of bronchitis, but, of course, I haven’t gone to get a blood test to confirm that. My family and closest friends know full well about my deep-seated and wholly irrational fear of blood tests. At 32 years of age, I am yet to have a blood test that hasn’t required me to be physically restrained, sedated, or both. I didn’t have a blood test without my Mum present until my mid-20s (before that I would have to wait until Uni holidays, or drive home especially, if I ever needed a blood test), and my first solo mission only resulted from a particularly demeaning experience where I worked myself into such a state that the nurse had to go to the childrens’ playbox, dust off a miniature Casio keyboard and sing me a soothing version of Silent Night before I would let her take my blood. With that as background, there was no way in Hades I was taking myself down to a Vietnamese health clinic to offer up my veins. Conversations about whether we needed to go to the hospital ended in a definite ‘no’ for the same reason.
Irrespective of what specific health issue I’ve had, one thing is for certain – I have had the best doctor in the business looking after me. Dr Cam Medicine Man has been a stand-up legend this last week, and I actually couldn’t have done it without him – he has done early morning and late night drug runs, woken up in the middle of the night to get me another cold flannel, dealt with all life/trip admin, wrangled with hotel staff to have chicken soup delivered to our room, carried the bags/me everywhere we’ve needed to go, let me set the AC on arctic even though it meant he was freezing, and even helped me get dressed on the really shit day when I couldn’t manage that on my own. In short, he’s been amazing and, while this week hasn’t been a stand-out from a travelling perspective, from a relationship perspective it’s been rock solid. After ten months of travelling together, I’d call that a big win.
After five days in bed, I was finally ok to get up and go for a little excursion on Wednesday. First stop was the tailor in Hoi An, where we wanted to get some new clothes made for our return to work. Thankfully Mum had hooked us up with a recommendation from one of her clients, so we bypassed all the street hustlers and the Tripadvisor reviews and went there directly. It should be said that neither of us are really great shoppers – Campbell has a shopping tolerance of about twenty minutes (he generously pushed this out to half an hour the day we bought his wedding suit), and I shop almost exclusively online, because I hate trying on clothes in those awfully-lit sweatbox changing rooms during my lunch break (much better to do it at home where I can ask Henry his opinion).
We approached our trip to the tailors pretty much the same – we went armed with pictures (highly recommend), I picked out the fabrics for both of us (to Campbell’s male eye all the suit fabrics looked the same), we got our measurements taken (resisting the urge to suck in the extra holiday pounds) and that was that. We went back for a fitting in the evening, and were super impressed with how things were shaping up. We requested a few minor alterations and agreed on hem lengths etc and picked up the finished product mid-morning the next day. All in all a pain-free and successful mission.
I was still feeling ok after our morning trip to the tailors, so we took our scooter for a little spin around town so I could get some fresh air. Campbell hired a scooter for our entire stay here, so that he’s been able to get out and do some fun stuff while I’ve been in bed. It’s been really great – he’s been to Danang twice to play golf, which he’s been waiting a long time to do. It also meant that I didn’t feel guilty about being stink company, because he could still get out and about while I snoozed or watched reruns of America’s Next Top Model on cable (I loved this, because it reminded me so much of Friday nights in my old student flat with my flatmate Geemo, where we would eat ready salted chips and kiwi dip for dinner and recite all of Tyra’s lines along with her “13 beautiful young girls stand before me, but I only have 12 photos in my hands. . . “).
Today was our last day in Hoi An, so we made a big effort to get out and about. We had a lovely lunch at a place on my “must-eat” list (a definite sign I’m on the mend) and then a gentle wander around the streets. Hoi An is so much quieter now than it was when we were here with Mum and Dad, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot more as a result. There are far less tourists, and a lot less people screaming at you competing for your business. Without all of that madness there’s more time to take in what a beautiful little town Hoi An really is. Consider my opinion of this place significantly softened. We took one final stroll around the night market this evening, polished off a ritzy meal and are all set for the trip to Ho Chi Minh, the launchpad for home, tomorrow.
The next few days will be a whirlwind – we have friends to catch up with in Ho Chi Minh, dentist appointments (so much cheaper than home!) and I have booked myself in for a bumper spa session to address the fact that I currently look like a sack of dogs’ bollocks. They’ll be just enough time for some final souvenir shopping at the market and then we’ll be on a plane and winging our way to home sweet home. See you soon!