Thursday, 23 June 2016

Why am I always ill abroad?

I arrived in Bangkok at 9pm in the evening, and I was in excoriating agony – my stomach felt like I was being repeatedly stabbed and my bladder just wasn’t working. I’ve had it happen a few times in the past, and I’ve actually fainted from it twice before. I can’t even describe how painful it is, I was crying walking round with my backpack, desperate to find somewhere to lay down, eat paracetamol and just wish it away. 

I eventually found a rather dingy but very cheap hostel just down from the Lomprayah office. It was called Aris hostel, and was 150 baht (£3) a night for an A/C dorm room. But the rooms have no windows in so you have no idea what time of day or night it is, or what an earth is going on outside – it was really isolating and depressing, especially when I already felt retched. I eventually fell asleep and awoke at 6:30am, still in some pain, though far less than the day before.

I really wanted to go to the floating market, but it was about a 2-hour drive out of Bangkok and I was running low on money and it would have been expensive to get there. I decided to go to the week-end market to pick up some last minute gifts. A tuk-tuk said he would take me and then detoured along the way to some tourist shop trying to get me to buy hotel nights (despite the fact I told him I only had one day left), and so he told me he wouldn’t take me to the weekend market and hailed me a taxi instead – the taxi driver told me it’d be 200 baht! Instead, I decided to try my luck at the Bangkok bus service. It only cost 15 baht to get there in the end, though hard to navigate. The market was absolutely huge, there’s no way you could ever see everything, and it was so hot and crowded. I ended up getting a few items but my stomach/ left hand side below my rib cage started to get the stabbing pain again so I decided it was time to leave after only an hour. I spent the rest of the day just chatting to people in the hostel and making friends, before calling it an early night.

The thing I hate most about Bangkok is the humidity. It is also hard to breathe and feels like there’s heavy smog about all the time. You can’t walk more than 2 minutes without dripping with sweat and feels like you need a drink and a sit down! So honestly, so many people just hung about the hostel all day. It wasn’t exactly cool there either, but it was marginally better than outside and didn’t require movement so it suited us just fine. There were some very heated political discussions going on though, from Trump to the Brexit, it got a bit out-of-control at one point.

Anyway, I hung about all that day too, leaving only to grab my usual lunch of a toastie and Gatorade from 7/11 and for a trip to the pharmacy. I ended up getting tablets for my cystitis that are only usually sold as prescription drugs in the UK, and later found out they’d actually been discontinued now due to dangerous side-effects, oops. I managed to get some cheap Valium too to help me sleep better. If you try to get it on Khao San Road the price is now insane – it’s 500 baht (£10) for 10 tablets, but I got 10 for 200 baht (£4), though they are in a dodgy seely bag instead of a real packet; least they’ll do the job. I was glad that it relieved some of the pain, and that the allegoric reaction I was having to the sunlight in Koh Tao was finally going away a bit.

I am a medical walking disaster as you can tell. When I finally got back to the UK, I went to the doctors about the pain in my side, and the problems associated with it, and he was very concerned about what it could be so ordered blood tests, urine sample and an ultra sound rushed so I could get the results back within a week so I could hear before I went to the USA. All the tests came back okay though so I never got to go back for more advice/ testing on what else it could be. So, don’t be surprised if I end up in hospital in the USA as it still keeps playing up even now and is a huge inconvenience!

The flight home sucked, I lost my debit card in Bangkok. Thankfully it wasn’t stolen – though do note I met 4 people in my hostel alone that were robbed in the 2 nights I was there on Khao San Road!! Stupidly the ATM’s in Thailand give you your money before they return your card, and you have to press a button on screen to get it back. But, I forgot and just accidentally left it in the machine :(. That meant I couldn’t get any food, or duty free, and the flight ended up being delayed by 3 hours so I was starving. They did give us a voucher for free breakfast, which was very generous, but the breakfast tasted awful; worst scrambled eggs of my life! I was just so glad to get home and return to the comfort of my own bed away from the mayhem of Bangkok to give myself time to recover before I head off to Canada next week.

Keep me posted on your adventures in Bangkok, whether you love or hate it, and what you think others shouldn’t miss!
Lots of love,
Scarlett x

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