Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

I'm not entirely sure why I should start with this, I guess there is something of laziness in the decision, although i am of the opinion that approaching anything directly is the dullest method you can employ, for what it's worth anyway, today I am extremely tired. I have been eating fried sausages on white bread with Heinze Tomato Sauce on them for the last two days and nursing a cold into the world. My arms are so weak I find it uncomfortable lifting them both off of the couch. it so happens the nights have been unbearably close the last two and i haven't enjoyed a full sleep in days. Put together with everything else and I'm barely here at all, a spectre in all but appearance.

Last night Kate fell down with something as well. She has a stomach pain that is cripplingly painfull for short periods of time then dissapears. No idea what it might be. She hasn't been drinking that heavily and neither have I. She has been a bit discomfitted and needed the bathroom but it seems to hold no answers to what has gotten hold of her. Last night she spent a lot of time jumping out of bed and kicking me. Today she has skipped out of work and lain on the cushions watching one after another interminable film and trying to ride out whatever is going on. She's faceing the decision of wether or not to go to the doctor and all the palaver that involves.

A long time back now, almost a year in fact, she went down very hard with Dengue fever. One of the tropical things that sound good to talk about long after you've had them. "Ah, yes, that time I had Dengue fever. I'll never forget the visions....." all told to rapt attention from whoever it is that you are drinking with. At the time however it was quite crippling. It did eventually result in a night spent in the French Hospital. "Beware the French Hospital" we were told, "It's where the first case of Avian Flu died." Kate spent the night locked to a drip being revived with bottle after bottle of viscous liquids. By her accounts the hospital was one of the best she had ever been in. Better in fact than any she encountered in Australia and the first she had ever been to that had staff dressed like hotel bell boys with gold piped jackets and trouser seams you could cleave a bullock with. It was however an expensive experience. Nothing to compare with the ludicrous and obnoxious SOS clinic where we first went but rich enough to make us broke for the rest of the year.

Now she is sleeping and I hope she will awake feeling a bit better. She has eaten, though nothing more substantial than toast and watermelon, and I wonder if it will make enough of a difference to avoid the doctor altogether. It's difficult judging just when to best go to a docotr. Were it me I wouldn't go unless I couldn't sew back on the arm myself, or that head wound was making me too dizzy to ride around. But its not me and you can only take chances so far. Just now in fact as i write this she has staggered in again clutching her mid section. It seems like it comes once every hour or so and theres no pain the rest of the time even when poked and prodded.

A bad stomach is nothing new here of course. Both of us have had the affliction more often than we would like. We try to eat everywhere but its not as you would expect, the more expensive places tend to be the ones that turn you inside out rather than the ones slapped down in the gutter. Nothing brings it on quicker than going somewhere 'safe'. Its a little part of life here unfortunately. You do get used to things and less and less affects you, or the affects get less and less, but there is always a time here and there where you are dropped to the floor by a salad or a spring roll that's been through someones hands.

There is therefore no real cure for it. You get sick no matter where you go. And there is no way to tell when it willl happen. We of course avoid the warm meat in the sun and that fish the woman on the corner has been trying to sell all week but we eat out most of the time and there is no way of knowing how your food has been prepared or who by. You step into the factoring of chance and blindly hope that nothing bad will happen.

Kate has gone back to sleep and will see how she feels afterwards. I'll get rid of the cleaner and sit down with a book then see how she is when its over. Hopefully everything will be back to normal.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Break that rusty chain

You rattle the chain. You turn the lock. Rust stains your hands as you walk the spot along laneway tiled with grease past smoldering cauldrons that spit and hiss and slip out the front into the street. There looks that measure and find you short line the roadside in jeans and shirts and you sweat. A line that’s seems to get repeated and repeated again through every day now.

The corner flowers rot and fill the air in a drainsides grim wet with greenish hair. A swarming runoff an over worked drain, chicken’s feet, the flies, the meat and basket ware, the calamity of the streets and the traffics blare. Don’t pause or consider hesitation there’s traffic here that entraps anticipation. So move through streets, and jumping sounds and hustling bikes heaving you round with the softest breeze to unfix the air. The sense that order has skipped might be there for a moment. And so the trees, bewildered, stand in somber contemplation of a wandering careless fool in streaming chaos that has the streetlamps devout limbless attention. The wind its got a move going on between the arms and through the fingers shaking the leaves making them limber. A second here a moment there then it leaves, disappears, dieing to renounce the shiftless air, loudly, alone in a bar somewhere.

The school rises from the street like a giant concrete flea. Felled by a stroke of deliberation on the part of an omnipresent politician who has become a city somewhere south of here. Filled with baking forecourt, miniature transportation and over run with children shrieking. Colours and numbers and numbers and colours then around and around a gain. Colours and numbers and numbers and colours and numbers and colours and colours and numbers. Break a moment and hide from hello’s beside the streaked and clipped teenagers in the photo studio.

Make it through the day. The crisp air conditioner the perfect reflection of the wine glass at dinner. You hunt through memories for adjectives. You sort through ends and scraps and second hand deliver something you might once have thought or remembered. Perhaps.

By night the air is the trucks roar. The prostitutes impersonate roadside repairs and you wander home dragging yourself three feet behind. You rattle the gate and throw open the laneway black as a hole in the ground. Walk the bike into the mouth of darkness and close its teeth behind you. Rattle the chain and open the inner gate and the rust is there to stain your hands again. Climb the stairs and flash a green spark from the fans switch. Struggle through mosquito net into coma-less sleep sweating on the sheets.

Friday, June 17, 2005

A little bit of nothing really

Work has accelrated of late and we are both being pushed hard. The early morning which used to belong to us to squander in bed has now been overtaken and I'm up every morning before 8 and sometimes before 7. I'm getting my first class of "what colour is this?" or "In the morning I brush my teeth" before I have even recovered from whatever dream I was shaken from. It's good for the money and to be truthfull it does make me feel like I am using the day a bit more, however too early is too early regardless.

Kate has taken on some more work with a company and is doing tests for all the students. She complains that it is too much work getting it started but eventually will pay off I'm sure.

I realise that I haven't added much to this blog for a while and this is not becaus we haven't done anything. This stuff about work is an indication though of whats been consuming so much of our time. Other than that we have gotten out of town a bit. We went to Bat Trang just the other day and rode around there for a while. We managed to find a house with a flat concrete statue of a Mig fighter jet on the roof and a chimney shaped liked a concrete rocket. In a village that was basicly no different architecturaly from any other. They did specialise in ornamental plants and the fields were covered with them. The plane on the roof could have been a celebration from the past or a homage to some fallen soldier it was impossible for us to know. Just down the road from there was the cemetary, a section of which contained the war dead, the rocket however makes me think that it was a celebration of sorts. Long before many countries, other than the USA and Soviet Russia, had been to space Vietnam had sent a cosmonaut, a fact celebrated on stamps and posters of the time, and perhaps here in a chimney.

In the house we have flowers again. Lotus blossoms both white and purple are in the vase over the fireplace and orchids and small flowers i have no name for but look nice anyway. Soon we will be heading for Dalat where flowers are grown en mass and will have the chance to ride along the old Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Central Highlands in early July should make a nice cool change from Hanoi's humidity.

That should be enough for now to keep this blog ticking over. I gues this has really been the equivalent of running a car round the block to keep the battery charged and I'm sorry for that. I will try and write again soon, something a little more interesting.