Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bangkok: The good, the bad and the ugly

As those of you who have been following along already know, Z and I are in Bangkok for the last leg of our journey. We are staying near Kho San Road - a street in BKK (and the surrounding four blocks) whose entire economy is supported by dirty western backpackers - what my enlightened brother Joey would call a "hippy crack fest Mecca."

The city is great and we have been eating some fantastic food. The shopping is also incredible...we visited the world famous BKK weekend market today, but I will get to that in a moment.

Z and I are budget travellers, especially since we are at the end of our trip and our travel funds have been dwindling. This translates into us choosing the fan room at our hostel for $4 per night instead of opting for a more pricey AC room. The hostel is what you would expect - if you have experience traveling the globe then you know what I mean, and if you haven't yet had the opportunity - it is simply something you must experience yourself. Haven't seen any vermin to date and that is a big plus for this place.

Anyway, I wake up this morning and discover that some sort of insect has been feasting on my back all night as my back is COVERED in quarter-sized bites. I am actually awakened by the itchiness. Given the not-quite-4-star-accomodations, my first thought was "shit, bed mites. Now we are going to have to pack up our stuff and try out a different room." After traveling for a bit one gets pretty blase about that sort of stuff.

But after checking Z's biteless body and seeing that the bites are limited to my back I assume that some very large mosqito decided that I was the perfect place to camp out for the night. AWESOME.

By the time I am showered however, I suspect that these in fact are not bites, but rather hives and I am having a reaction to something here - either in the room or the city.

Z gives me one of his claritins and we hit the weekend market. The weekend market is pure insanity. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of vendors all packed together selling absolutely everything and anything you can imagine. Clothes, kitchen and housewares, PETS!!!! What??? (imagine an area the size of Crossgates [for those of you familiar w/ Albany consumer action] all on one level, outdoors, no AC and wall-to-wall PACKED!!)

The pet section was truly another world. Fish (of EVERY variety), dogs, cats, birds (roosters and chickens) rabbits, hedgehogs, rats, many different kinds of mice, the list just goes on and on. It was totally dirty and probably not the best move (visiting the pet section) for a girl having some sort of serious allergic reaction, but you may only find yourself in such a place once in a life time, if at all.

After roaming the market for more than 4 hours, Z and I were exhausted and had not seen NEARLY all of the market. I was itching up a storm when(unfortunately) I happen across a mirror. My arms, back and shoulders are smothered in red puffy welts. The hives have spread. A few on my legs, all down the arms, even some on my FACE! I draw a line at the face bit. I look like a freak.

Z and I decide to call it quits - we are tired and I look like a circus side show. We sort of accidentally jump on a non-AC bus (there are both, the AC buses cost a bit more) and spend about 30 minutes sitting in the muggy, sweaty nastiness that BKK can be, breathing in pure exhaust, praying that the driver will tell us that the next stop is ours.

We do finally make it back and promptly make a bee line for the closest pharmacy.

I have omitted Z's health/medical concerns- let me explain. He has been suffering from what the pharmicist identified as an infected mosquito bite since last night. Although he has had a cut-type thing on his knee for a week now, it was only last night that it started to swell and develop severe sensitivity. By bedtime we were worried that the infection was serious enough that it warranted Z taking some Cipro (a VERY strong antibiotic we have been traveling with just in case...).

By morning the infection seemed to have changed a bit, but it was still hot to the touch and fevery (not Z, but his knee). (As an aside - this situation may appropriately be called an Otter's Clam Bake as well - good that the knee is fevery and taking care of itself - but bad in that it might be more serious than we thought.) He took another Cipro and we headed to the market. By the time we returned from the market - i was an itching and swollen freak-show and Z has a slight limp.

Thus, we head directly to the pharmacy. "You first" I tell Z. He shows the pharmacist his injury and she immediately diagnoses it as an infected mosquito bite and tells him to take antibiotics. He explains he has Cipro and she says good, to continue with it for 5 days. Seems like a lot, but we plan to run that by some of my parents' Dr. friends.

She tells me claritin is what i should be taking and that is it. We are out the door, still in agony, but at least we are feeling a little bit better that we have accurately diagnosed our inflictions.

We grabbed a bite to eat and are currently hiding out in an AC internet cafe hoping that our wounds will heal. We have been so lucky not to be ill at all in the last three months (excluding a little food poisoning in S. Korea) we are a bit astonished to find ourselves falling apart at the seams on the second-to-last-day of our trip. Go figure. Hopefully the hives will deflate and Z's knee will be better by the time we return to the States.

Bangkok - the good, the bad and the ugly. But don't get me wrong, we both love it here and loathe to say goodbye to it.

7 Comments:

Blogger SAVAGECORP said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:16 PM  
Blogger SAVAGECORP said...

Haaa HAAAaa.. Where's the picture of your face?? I hope you got one. I can imagine you with quarter size 'pocks' on your face and Z limpin around saying 'just one more row erin'... 'ok ok lets go'. Did he not tell you about the hives spreading down your arms and onto your face? or was he just 'protecting' you from the truth?

Glad you're feeling better. BTW - Where ARE you staying?

9:18 PM  
Blogger SAVAGECORP said...

The first post had some spelling mistakes. :p

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Shoebanger said...

Oh Zak, confuscious say, "he who doesnt tell beautiful tall mean jewish woman she has marks on face, will have marks on soul for rest of his life"

Good luck Butterfly. where you all now?

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