I can laugh about it now…taking anti-malaria pills

Travelers know, you have moments when your travels aren’t going quite as well as you hoped.  For any number of reasons you find yourself thrown a curveball and sometimes completely overwhelmed. How one deals with it is really important.  Nothing is ever completely without trials but we can control how we choose to deal with them.

I have decided to share a series of posts called…”I can laugh about it now”. These posts will recount those moment and the the things you learn from them.  Please feel free to send me your moments and I’ll post and retweet or link them!  Traveler bloggers have to share!!

So here we go…

Taking Anti-Maleria Pills:

I sat looking at the stray kitten that had slept with me in the longhouse at the tea plantation in Sabah, Borneo. I was avoiding getting up. It’s approximately day 10 of our nearly 100 days of anti-malaria pills. We had weeks ahead of us and I already dreaded taking the pill. It always made me nauseous. I could hear my son, Lee, in the next room already complaining about having to take his.  He had the same daily dose as his father, sister and me, and as the smallest in the group it really did a number on him.

I knew breakfast was waiting for us. So I got dressed and walked out of our bamboo accommodation, down the short path and up the long road towards the plantation house.  Borneo is beautiful. As we walked past the poison apple filled trees, I could see Mount Kinabalu in the distance rising over the vast green jungle.  The monkeys seemed to be laughing as I paused every few steps to catch my breath and wait for the nausea to pass. Mornings were rough. They told us the medicine would make us feel sick at first but that it would quickly pass.  So far, it wasn’t going away for me and the kids.  My husband seemed to be gradually adjusting so we had some hope.

We all met at breakfast and our guide, Manuel looked at us with pity. We had been traveling with him the past few days and we always looked sickly at breakfast.  We were not showing much of an appetite in the morning and I think he assumed it was the traditional Borneo breakfast that may have been a problem. Traditional breakfast in Borneo is mie goreng (noodles with any number of other ingredients added) . It was actually quite good but when you are battling nausea, nothing is very appetizing.

This morning we were having breakfast at the tea plantation where we had spent the night.  Manuel surprised us by pre-ordering a traditional “Western Breakfast”.  He clearly thought that a familiar meal from home would help us start the day off right.  The wait staff  brought out four covered platters …

Upon the unveiling, it was immediately clear that their typical westerner was Australian…. as the “western breakfast” included a large serving of baked beans supporting a big strange white/gray sausage link and some eggs on the side. We all went pale and Lee quickly and quietly excused himself from the table.  With an upset stomach, the sight and smell of beans and sausage was more than he could take.  I thanked them and tried to eat. It is safe to say we would all have preferred the Mie-Goreng over the western breakfast.  Frankly, dry toast and mild breakfast tea would have been ideal.  It was probably the hardest meal I have ever eaten. They had gone to such trouble I was determined to make a go of it.  From that day on we assured them we wanted to stick with the local traditional breakfast rather than the western breakfast!

2 thoughts on “I can laugh about it now…taking anti-malaria pills”

  1. Little town in Thailand, trying to find a tucked away local’s restaurant we had been assured was excellent but we had nothing but squiggles and dots jotted on a piece of paper to guide us. No problem, right? A tuk tuk driver would certainly know it and find it?

    Three confused tuk tuk drivers later, we were still lost and apparently now in the middle of nowhere. Last driver gave up, could offer no other suggestion, and had no interest in just taking us home. I don’t know if he didn’t know where to go or was just a jerk. Unusual for Thailand.

    So, hungry, with two young fussy kids and not sure where we were, we also gave up and started walking home. Good thing about Thailand is that communication is usually relatively easy – but not here! Trying to match squiggles and dots on signs with our map and dictionary to get home, kids start getting fussier. Mitch ends up carrying our youngest, who was about 6, while oldest tries to help me decipher signs. About an hour and a half later, we find the hotel, but it has no room service. We have crackers we fortunately had in the room and some sort of neon colored beverage and called it a night. Ah, breakfast would be better, and it was!

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