Prelude to a Southeast Asian fling

6:21 PM

Before I left my heart in Bangkok, I had to go through some hits and misses during my first lone flight abroad which included begging from the Malaysian police after reckless accidental monetary loss, and taking fright on a missed flight. Prior to all those casualties, I already had a doze of obstacles before I finally got my very first passport stamp for the year. Bouts of diarrhea and a typhoid-like high fever almost held me back to lose every plane ticket I had booked and melt away all the imaginations I had fancied a couple of sleeps before this much awaited trip even commenced.

Then 10 days of getting lost, meeting aliens, talking in gibberish, and eating as much as I could rolled by. As my trip was about to end at the river bank of Chao Phraya, I reminisced all the crazy and the un-crazy stuff that made me reevaluate how much I have learned of myself on traveling alone. Things had been bitter at some points summoning all the fun I had to keep from this trip and uncovering the fact that the realities about my inner self bite the worst.

Conceiving the Wanderlust
Actually, 8 years and a few months ago, I survived traveling from Ireland to London then back to my home country with a bunch of strangers. Well, there's nothing really taxing about just riding a couple of planes and passing through immigrations; but being that innocent 14-year old good-looking kid, anything could have happened somewhere in the halls of Heathrow and Dubai far from reaching home. My mom thought she was brilliant after giving me away to some guys she just met somewhere in the huge London airport to help me get through 2 immigrations en route the Philippines. That was it. My mom left, I followed instructions from strangers (whom I remember live in Ilocos), and reached home safe without losing a limb. Since then, a desire to wander off a good long distance from home was conceived. Now, I'm 23 years old with a wanderlust, hoarding know-hows of flying in suspended carriers with no more strangers to help me get my next passport stamps. And the story goes on thus far.

The Plan
Booked flights, rescheduling, rebooking, blah--headache
So I planned for months, and I was headed to some South East Asian countries. Originally, I convinced my alter ego to brave 4 countries in 8 days, since learning of someone do it like a streak of light (which I thought was pretty fun and exciting!). But after a few Google outputs, I realized that 8 days would be too futile if my purpose was to get all intimate with each country and marry their culture. Two weeks before my flight to Kota Kinabalu, I decided to stick with Malaysia for 5 days, and another in Bangkok (not even close to intimate, lol).

A Petty Drawback
If I decided to stay home and nurse myself to drop 39.8 degrees Celsius few hours before my flight, I would have collapsed somewhere in Malaysia or get seizures on-board an AirAsia LCC. Then eventually die. Lol.

Final Diagnosis: Acute Gastroenteritis with Moderate Dehydration
Yep. I was sick. August 6, I felt all jittery all day while packing up and checking how exciting the loopholes I crafted to my itinerary. I took two tablets of antipyretics, sponged bath myself, and drowned myself with liters of water. The fever toned down a bit, but shot up to 39.8 at 11pm. So I decided to head to the ER and ask for IV infusions to hasten the temperature drop. But with the hourly loose bowels I had to go through that night, even a normalized temperature wouldn't check me in on a scheduled flight to Manila then to Clark then to Kota Kinabalu.

Koki Kojima with Sitti and Carrie - Kinabalu Backpackers
So I thought I was wise and made another decision to forfeit the promo ticket and receive mediocre nursing care at a hospital until I got all recovered. I wanted to run the IV at 100ml per hour, but I think the hourly liter of water helped more in washing off the body heat and waste away. I missed my August 7 flight to Kota Kinabalu, and my Japanese travel buddy had to brave the unfamiliar Malaysian streets by himself. I was even all nervous for him because he could barely speak English (and I planned the whole trip and dragged him along!). It would be my fault if something dreadful happened to him. But thanks to the amazing girls, Sitti and Carrie, of Kinabalu Backpackers. Through exchange of e-mails, my travel buddy, Koki Kojima, was able to get around KK with their aid.

Blah. Temperature normal. Antibiotics made effect. Won over my mom's approval to let me go for the planned. Got a cheap ticket despite last minute booking via Tiger Airways bound to Kota Kinabalu for just 1.8k (same rate with the AirAsia ticket I got months ahead). I flew. And 3 hours later from Clark Airport, I reached KK.

Now as the plane touched down and another Facebook and Foursquare check-ins were logged, my friends asked me how I still managed to pursue my Southeast Asia fling after being choked back by a petty malady. Some of them even went on to clamor why I get into far-flung trips, why I am so rich and why I have all the free time in the world. Reading all their enthusiasm and mild spite, all I knew was God intervened to heal and let me live and fulfill a childlike dream: to jumpstart a dauntless travel abroad alone before 30 :P

So I replied.

August 9: Hey family and friends, I landed Kota Kinabalu safe and sound; diarrhea didn't hit back on-board
"I'm not everything you think of. You've just got to dream and desire, act upon it, then go." NOTE: Translated from Bisaya.


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