I was packing my bag for Croatia today (last Monday; this is a scheduled blog whilst I’m out enjoying the sun) when I reached for the medical bag to check its content. I laughed to myself. How could I forget the toilet incident in Vietnam…. Ahhh…
So it was about this time last yet, the wife and I were suffering a little after a few crazy nights out in Hanoi (definitely read First Stop, Hanoi to understand my state of mind a little bit…). The food that I had consumed over the past few days was quite happily making its way out of my body any which was it could. This was largely due to alcohol over indulgence (oh damn you, Brits abroad) and partly due to having a brilliant freeking time.
Anyhow, the bouts of sickness disappeared as quickly as they came and all was good again. Panic over and no gruesome stories here.
A few days later and we’re in Da Nang airport, ready to leave Hoi An for a few beachey days in Nha Trang. Its a quiet airport and we notice a chemist. “Ah ha!” I thought, “might as well restock on those diarrhea tablets… you know… just in case”.
Now I’m sure you’re aware that asking for directions to the diarrhea tablets can be a little bit embarrassing at the best of times, however in a shop where every shelved item is written in Vietnamese its all the more daunting. I mean, is it even called diarrhea out here?? Is that a medical term? I have no idea… I approached the young, 4-foot-nothing, white coated chemist and was surprised she spoke English well.
“Excuse me, I need some help. I have a…. a…. I have an upset stomach” (Upset stomach?? What am I, five years old???) as i said this I did an actual sad face whilst actually rubbing my belly
“Oooooo….. I see. You are constipated?”
“Actually…. quite the opposite,” I said to a blank face. My wife, who was standing next to me, squeezed my hand; almost as if this was terrible news. Life threatening, even. Of course, I wasn’t ill; this was just a back up.
“I have diarrhea” I finally admitted after an inordinate pause. My fake sad face now looking undeniably even sadder.
“Ooooooooooooooooooooooo” the ‘ooo’ was much longer this time, as the clerk took two steps back and went to hide behind her counter. Fantastic. So it turn out diarrhea is a world known medical term and yes it still draws the most exaggerated of reactions. After she finished her long ‘oooooo’ and decided her hiding strategy would no longer work she handed me two pills. “Take one now and one after your next movement”.
Ha. The girl doesn’t know I’m not actually ill. She might be completely horrified, but she hasn’t a clue… We paid and left, skipping with joy. We’re sorted for the holiday. No problem.
No sooner had we turned our backs that the lady closed the store and put a large Vietnamese sign out. Confused, I joked to the wife that she’d shut down the shop to decontaminate it. Jokes on her- we’re absolutely fine. No illness here….
We’re about to board so the wife takes to the bathroom. This part of the airport was virtually empty. Except one person. The one person who used the one cubical next to my wife. That one person was, of course, the diarrhea fearing chemist.