Tuesday, May 6, 2014

When parasites come calling...Vietnam

It took me a while to find an image that would convey my message in the nicest and simplest way possible. Trust me, when you are diagnosed with a species of parasite, which is somewhere in your body, and then go on a google search of said parasite, you are in for a shock. With a case of information overload, I backed out of the image search as quickly as I could and decided to stick with text.

Now here is the thing, a few weeks ago, my very able fitness trainer, asked if I was having regular blood tests for parasites. I wasn't and I panicked...sort of. I have been living in Ho Chi Minh City witha few minor tummy grumbles and count myself lucky. Let's just say I have been knocking on wood, frequently, since moving to Vietnam.

I made an appointment to see the doctor. I asked about a blood test, wondering if I needed it. He asked if I was sick, did I have any symptoms? etc... I said no. He said..you don't need it if you are not showing symptoms. Since I needed a blood test for something else, I asked if we could still order the test, more for my peace of mind than anything else.

Three weeks on, the results are in, the little buggers are there. So...I am sending this message to those of you who live in Vietnam, expats, like me. Speak to your doctor about parasites, ask about having a regular screening. I know I will...from here on out.

My doctor said it is most likely resulted from consuming fish, possibly that was not fully cooked. We eat a lot of sashimi. I am rethinking sashimi while in Vietnam. I am very selective about where I eat and how food is prepared. You have to be. It just goes to show, you never know.

With thanks to Stephane for bringing it to my attention. It is one of those occasions when your trainer  knows best and I am glad he suggested it.

I am currently packing for a four month trip to the USA with a 21 day supply of medication. I have 40 boxes to contend with. I think a re-pack is in order. Dratz!

If you would like to prepare for a trip to Southeast Asia, you can start here .

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Two birds taking flight at Chateau Mango

From my favourite chair...
From my favourite chair,  I caught it out of the corner of my eye, a little flash of motion and a chirp...then silence. I was so involved with what I was writing that I thought it must have been my imagination. It could not possibly been a bird, not in a house that has barely seen the crack of a window in months.

scribbled thoughts...
I went back to my writing and then it happened again, a little sparrow bird, a baby, was flying frantically looking for an escape. I did what any person would do, I opened all the windows and doors hoping for it's safe flight home. I turned off the AC and put on the ceiling fans. I now recognise that was not one of my wiser moves. No, I did not accidentally take the life of the wee thing.

an open window...

Fortunately for me, it sought safe haven on my bookshelf..it is WHERE it took haven on my bookshelf that astounded me. I have three iron birds, dipped in gold, who travel with me from country to country. This clever little bird decided to queue up right behind the third one on the left. If ever there was a Kodak moment, I had it...but I did not have my camera.  I was to busy flapping about trying to encourage the little fellow to take flight..and he did..a happy moment.

Once there were four...

As I collected myself and went along to close the windows, I thought how rare an occasion it is to see an open window at Chateau Mango. If we are lucky, we might catch a few semi-dry breezy days in December but certainly not now, with the rainy season looming. The days are as hot and sticky as they come.

On the times I have opened the windows, Huyen, our helper, has been on my heels closing them again, warning me of mosquitoes..the kind that bring dengue fever. She explained that in our compound we are relatively safe, the management is regularly active with pesticides to combat mosquitoes. I always assumed that living in Ho Chi Minh City, we were safe from the ills found in the Mekong and other rural areas of Southern Vietnam. The only time I wear bug spray is when we are sitting on our veranda at the end of the day, when the little nips come out to play. I have been fortunate to have steered clear of mosquito bites. You only need to pick up the local Vietnam English newspaper to see that it is a very real threat in other areas of the country.

a view from our window..

So...on this Saturday morning, as my little friend took flight, I enjoyed looking around our rooms of open windows, took a few photos before locking them up. I could see my little friend happily chirping from a ceramic pot in our garden...we were both ready to start the day.

That's my morning, from Chateau Mango, along the Saigon River. The red dot is where you will find me..at least for three more days before I take flight to the USA for four months. From there I will contend with more mosquitoes and black flies..nasty little nippers, but fortunately, you will always live to see another day.

Chateau Mango...along the Saigon River, Vietnam

Friday, May 2, 2014

Finding beauty in Vietnam...

I love looking through Asian fashion magazines. 
I do not understand a word but that's ok.
The images speak for themselves.

In a recent issue of

A fashion shoot in the northern region of Vietnam,
mixing the earthen elements of the land with
the vibrant colours of the culture.

If you understand Vietnamese, 
the following will tell you more.

If you are like me, 
you will just enjoy the beauty of each image.

Finding beauty in Vietnam. 

Fall/ Winter 2014