May 21 2021
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Reminiscing about getting sick and travelling by boat from Thailand to Malaysia 2001 style.
I'd been on Ko Lanta for a few days. But it was time to leave. I took the ferry back to the mainland.
I recall buying 3 eggs from a seller on the boat. The 1st one tasted dodgy. I took a bite of the 2nd and then threw it overboard along with the 3rd one. What I should have done was to put my fingers down my throat to get rid of it. Lesson learned.
There was no public transport back then to get from the dock to the highway. This was how it was in early 2000.
I watched as all the vehicles left me standing there. WTF.
I stood for a moment to collect my thoughts and a lady on her moped who was slow to get off the ferry stopped and gave me a ride to the highway.
Then began my disgust at eating eggs.
The belly gurgled as I rode a bus to Trang and then another to Satun.
I found the hotel listed in the Lonely Planet.
I was in need to empty my bowels but the guy wanted to follow protocol and check me in first. I pleaded with him to use the bathroom. Eventually, he relented.
I laid on my bed and crashed out. I awoke sometime later to the sound of the guy banging on the door.
I staggered downstairs. Gave him my passport and the room charge. My belly cramped. I ran for the street. I sat on the curb and let nature take its course. Such is life.
I collected my passport and returned to my room. I flicked through the Lonely Planet.
Getting sick that quickly and from eating eggs requires an urgent solution. Ciprofloxacin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic. I found a pharmacy. Thankfully the pharmacist spoke English. She doled out some pills with some instructions and I returned to my room via the 7-11 for 3 bottles of water and some Coca Cola.
This was life back then. When you got sick you got sick alone. You didn't call a friend. You dealt with it. And despite being delirious, I was still sharp. I had to rehydrate. Number 1 priority!
I slept well for 10 hours. I popped some more pills and somehow I got myself to the ferry terminal at Tammalang.
I was feeling crook but still, I travelled. A bit of sickness never slowed me down. It's how I did it back then. The joys of travelling alone.
I was taking a ferry across the border to Kuala Perlis in Malaysia.
This was my first ever land border crossing. Until then I'd always arrived in a new country via an airport. Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand. And so began my love affair with overland travel.
I arrived in Malaysia. I followed a local to a shop where I changed some money. Took a ride to Perlis town and found another Lonely Planet hotel, ate some bananas, found some dioralyte, popped some pills and went to bed. The night was long.
The next day I took a bus to Butterworth via Kedah and the ferry to George Town. The hostel to stay back then was the Travellers Hostel (?) on Lebuh China with a Le Routard sign hanging outside (the whole block has since been demolished).
I had a dorm room for 6RM a night. A fellow Brit showed me the ropes. Took me to a restaurant and ordered me the least spicy option available. Roti with no sauce.
I stayed there a week. Slowly recovering. I walked up to Penang Hill a few times. When I could stomach a Roti Canai I took the ferry back to Butterworth and backpacked the rest of Malaysia.