When Life Comes Crashing Down

“Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land.”

Most people with tonsillitis get over it within a week. Mine, of course, lasted longer. Then instead of disappearing with the antibiotics I was prescribed (which, by the way, didn’t work), the infection spread. I ended up with swollen gums, open lesions, and a very painful case of gingivitis. I spent two weeks, stuck in a tourist town, unable to cycle. During this time, the temperature started to drop, the snow appeared in the mountains, and my time to spend weeks cycling through the Indian Himalayas came to a close- before it had even started. Then, to make matters worst, the infection in my mouth increased to the point where I couldn’t eat anything (besides a banana lassi).

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Sick as a Street Dog: 3380km

“The most poetical thing in the world is not being sick.”

In addition to my lovely pounding headache and fever, I have now acquired a very swollen sore throat and a pretty intense ear ache. After lying in bed withering every time my pain meds started to run low, I figured it was time to check out the Ladakhi medical system. Though the “senior doctor” was out, I was able to see his “junior”, whatever that entitles. In any case, he was a sixty year old manwho knew how to put the batteries in the apparatus to look down my throat, and see that my tonsils were extremely enflamed with white bumps covering them. He proceeded to prescribe me an antibiotic (amoxicillin) and told me not to eat hard foods (even swallowing water at this point is very painful so I will definitely be heeding this piece of advice).

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Books and Bed: 3380km

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”

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Well unfortunately my cycling had been postponed a few days because the morning I was set to leave, I came down with a fever. At first I was frustrated, I wanted to be on my bike again, camping, out of the city of Leh which is such a tourist hub. I realized though, that attempting to cycle up a pass with a pounding headache and fever is just about impossible. My health is crucial to this trip as I am relying on myself, and only myself, to get me from place to place, and with three years of open road ahead, I guess taking a few extra days off really isn’t that bad. So I decided to look on the bright side and spend a few solid days reading great books, and listening to interesting podcasts. For the first few days it was nice, like a little vacation in a vacation. I thought I would have ample time to read everyday throughout this trip, but bike touring has turned out to be a full time job (in the best way possible) so it was nice to have a few days to get some reading in. By day three though, I was sick of always being too hot or cold due to my fever, and I wanted nothing more than to get rid of my constant pounding head ache.

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