Blame it on the Doctor

Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let’s just blame it on the doctor, shall we?

A third throat infection and ongoing headaches instigated yet another trip across the border for a consultation with the doctor. His very basic examination resulted in a diagnosis that ranged from acute sinusitis to brain cancer, with diabetes and TB thrown in for good measure.

After a negative for diabetes was confirmed, he was prepared to book me into a South African hospital for a brain scan - but why in the world would I agree to that? Quite certain that it was nothing more than sinusitis, I clutched my packet of antibiotics and seriously began to contemplate my immediate future. Recognizing that I may have been pushing myself a bit too much of late, and also acknowledging the fact that the second year of grief can at times be extremely difficult and lonely, I made the decision to leave Lesotho for a few weeks of R & R.

Returning to Canada was not an option, as it would undoubtedly result in anything but rest. So why Vietnam? I met Laura and Debbie just a year ago in Laos, (TravelPod entries 162 & 163). Laura is currently teaching English in Vietnam and Debbie’s travels in India are about to take a detour this way, so what better way to relax, than with two very good friends on a quiet Vietnamese beach. Mind you, a bit of needed adventure might be thrown in as well!

Unfortunately, getting here wasn’t quite as simple as I had expected. The first obstacle was dealing with my guilt at leaving Hilda and the kids at Rachel’s, especially when Hilda threatened to put me in handcuffs to prevent my leaving!! Booking a ticket was the next concern, as my internet connection would invariably cut out just seconds before a confirmation was about to appear. Ticket finally booked, I was left with only one major worry - obtaining a printed copy of my Vietnamese VISA confirmation letter before boarding the flight. But as Murphy’s Law would have it, that’s exactly when I lost my internet connection and all access to my emails for four days!                           

Arriving at the airport in Johannesburg with some trepidation, I quickly realized that an innocent smile wasn’t enough to convince the airline officials - a boarding pass as far as Singapore was the most I could hope for. After a twelve hour flight, the wireless connection in the Singapore Airport allowed me to display the VISA confirmation letter on my laptop (thus assuring me of a boarding pass to Ho Chi Minh City), but all attempts at printing it out met with failure. My heart sank when I observed the absolute bedlam at the “landing VISA” office upon arrival in Vietnam........but after an hours wait and a stern warning, my passport was handed back to me, complete with a one month VISA.

Within an hour of leaving the airport, I knew without doubt that I had made the right decision to come here. Although the zillions of motorcycles seemed to be coming at me from every angle, I could already picture myself being part of the frenzy on my own rented bike. Vietnam, here I come!

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fran mowbray on

Hi Sharon,
I hope you get better there. Grief can wear you down. I hope you find support and fun. It's a strange world.
Are you coming back to Canada this summer?
Love, Fran

Chris on

Sharon - am glad to read that you are listening to your inner voice and taking some time to rest - with great friends. I kept checking for a recent update - and am glad to read this news!

Doreen O'Sullivan (Cankiwi) on

Hi Sharon,

I do hope that the R&R will be what you need to feel better.
I have been following your travels and admire your courage to go it alone.
For sure there are fantastic and kind people around the world to meet.
So glad that you made it to Vietnam.

We are going to Peru this summer so I will check out your blog and you can send me any tips. We are walking the Inca trail in August. Any tips/advice will be appreciated.

Take care of yourself.

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