When You Bleed, You Think About Life

Hospital bed

Facing Truths

“How long has this been going on?”

I couldn’t see the doctor from my position, on my back, as light pierced my eyes.  The only visible shape was the outline of her body, a white aura bleeding around her face.  Just a disembodied voice tinged with disapproval.

“Six days.”

I lied.  Maybe I just didn’t want to face the truth myself.  It had really been seven days of spotting on and off.

I knew it was stupid to leave the problem so long.  You prolong knowing. I drank too much in my early thirties, smoked a heap of cigarettes.  My age is a factor.  Even my sexual choices cast a shadow.

Somewhere in the recesses of my memories, I kept wondering if this was happening well before my last intimate encounter, and I chose to ignore it.

I had just got in from Udaipur that morning, threw my bags at Mystique Moments, and rushed out again for this dreaded appointment.

The rickshaw driver had no idea where Fortis La Femme was; I was late, then barreled in sweating and exhausted.

With barely time to breathe in the stifling 40-degree weather, she uttered something that woke me from any travel anxiety.

“We need to do some tests, probably an ultrasound to see what might be going on.”

I gulped.

Everything Flashes

As she prepared me for the ultrasound, instructing me to lie down, placing a towel across my stomach, everything rushed at me.

Staph definitely rattled me.  Yet, that can be annihilated with strong antibiotics.

This could be much worse.  I knew it, could not ask her out loud.

This could be the big C.

The specter

This is Why I Love Travel

Just met an amazing South African woman who is involved in education and community development.  She’s helping disadvantaged women who normally work as domestic help in the townships by jump starting cottage industries in honey producing and crafts that sell in Switzerland.  Her and her husband are buying a property to live in and want to convert the existing one into a homestay for backpacker/budget travelers.

YOU CAN WAKE UP TO THE SOUND OF THE OCEAN.  COME VISIT.

Nah, not interested (lie).

She recounted her dream to travel all the places her deceased mother wanted to go.  Next is Israel and Egypt.  What struck a nerve most is when she talked about her family.

“I’m taking care of my brother.  He’s 38, now brain dead and paralyzed.  It was a motorcycle accident.”

Self-pity just got tossed out the window. Her brother will never be able to travel again or ride his free bird (motorcycle).

She called Buenos Aires a cheeky, sexy city.  And is hankering to see Tanzania and Madagascar someday.  She always, always travels solo, leaving her scientist hubby behind.

Claire

Dorm rooms: not always, what you think.

In our daily lives, we thrive on assumptions.  Hell, I use to.

It’s a choice to dismiss talking to that old, boring person.  Don’t dismiss.  Open yourself.

You, too, might end up staying at a house with a full kitchen, a garden and ocean view in a-effing-a South Africa.

Time to adjust my travel plans for 2012.

Nearly Trampled at Ram Navami

Yesterday began normal enough when I set out to visit my doctor in Delhi.

I think his name is Shashi Mohan.  See, I get them mixed up since I’ve seen five doctors in the last two months.

Dr. Mohan’s office is way out in southeast Delhi, a stone’s throw away from Lotus Temple.

After my appointment, I thought I’d slip over to investigate the temple.

High-fives all around because the doctor said I’m 99% well.  Oh, yeah!  And these days my brain is working on all four cylinders for a change.

I was in a good mood and commandeered an auto rickshaw to take me to the temple.

Where I meant to go - Lotus Temple

How strange, the rickshaw got surrounded by a large crowd.   A wall of humans hit us.

“What’s going on?  A festival?”

When I listened past the constant honking of Delhi, another sound distinguished itself.  The ringing of cacophonous voices.

I’ve been so holed up in my hotel room; the outside world has been shut off these days.

“Yes.. some festival.”

We got to Lotus and it was dead.  The fence sealed shut.  A sign hung outside telling me it’s closed on Mondays.

Damn.

I then asked him to take me to the nearest metro, thinking I pushed it too far.  I may be 99%, but that 1% is unknown.

Fully expecting him to drive 10 kilometres, he swiftly turned around and stopped.  A concrete set of tracks rose up in the distance, the metro logo that harkens to London’s underground tube stared me in the face.

Oh, we’re here.

I got out, but kept seeing trickles of people gravitating towards this one spot off the road. And cops.  Men in tan

By |April 12th, 2011 |Categories: New Delhi |2 Comments

Uh, I’m Sick So…

Sick pig. :(

Okay, I’m officially bored.

Delhi is an uncracked egg and all I can do is sit in my hotel room until staph from hell goes away.

I saw Lodhi Gardens the other day, found a mall with Lush and The Body Shoppe (two in one!), but after a day of flying back and forth on the metro my neck and arm were pissed.

What are you doing??!! We’re itchy!!!

So, I sit here.

What I’ve done so far:

1) Checked flights to Sri Lanka and Thailand.  Indecisive!

2) Cut all my toenails.  Now working on fingernails.

3) Stayed in pyjamas all day.

4) Reading Five Point Someone, released as the Bollywood film 3 Idiots.  The writing is clunky and juvenile.  The White Tiger was 20 times better.

5) Flood my Twitter stream with nonsense.  My followers wonder if I’m crazy.

6) Drink heaps of guava juice.

7) Pretend to nap, but really worried about writing posts or site maintenance.

8) Download movies I missed six months ago.  Currently: Black Swan and The Fighter.

9) Brush my teeth at two in the afternoon.

10) Skype everyone I know.  Hi, how are you?  Entertain meeeeee!

How do you occupy your time when you’re sick?

Photo: Ollie Crafoord

By |April 9th, 2011 |Categories: New Delhi |19 Comments

Photo Essay – New Delhi

The reason why I love cities are the stories they reveal.  Everything from traffic patterns to public behavior or even utilitarian architecture forms a narrative.  Delhi is the epicenter of India.  It’s home to diplomats, entombed kings and the average Indian trying to scrape a living.  In terms of atmosphere, Delhi is a swirling tornado of buzz.  Every corner or alleyway generates just as many questions as answers.  It’s a city that’s actively alive.  This bored, sick person tried to capture that energy on the streets.

Citizens watching the ICC World Cup:

India captured the cup with 6 wickets.  An emotional win, since it’s been a dry 28 years for them!

Garbage sorters:

I can’t escape them!

He was fascinated when I showed him the photo on my camera:

An obvious reason why this is here.  Like a sticker on my forehead:

Can you believe they knelt down and touched my feet after snapping this?

By |April 4th, 2011 |Categories: New Delhi |24 Comments

When You’re Down, Someone Will Rescue You

I’m going to die here. Perish in a steamy room that smells like an open sewer, in a city planned by schizophrenics, in a hotel where the only scenery next door is a junkyard for defunct cars.

I opened my eyes, staring at the ceiling fan whirring above.

I survived SARS in Vietnam.

I emerged unscathed from a dengue fever outbreak in Brazil.

H1N1 never came knocking.

I can’t shake this.

After my birthday, it reappeared. The burning hotness on the back of my neck. The fissures forming on my arm.  Dammit, it was time to do something.

But when you’re alone in an unknown country, sometimes you freeze.

I didn’t know what to do.  I come off brazen, an impulsive adventurer who gets on that boat with no lifejacket or hang-glides even though she gets vertigo.

Nah, this time I was scared.

Nothing was right.  By now, I should be in Rishikesh, not waffling in Agra.  By April, I wanted to be in either Sri Lanka or Thailand.  It’s now March 31.

The blog is suffering.  Who has time to craft words under duress?  Shit, no.

Back to panic mode, I did what I know how to do best.  Decided to leave.

I was supposed to stay at a Mystique Moments in Delhi earlier in March, but that got nixed because my Scottish travel companion convinced me to stay in the horrible Pahar Ganji area.  Sure, it’s central.  If you can endure tout after tout badgering you non-stop.

I remember the owner of Mystique oozing with niceness from his previous emails.  I recall his guesthouse

By |March 31st, 2011 |Categories: Life, New Delhi |50 Comments