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09/10/2008

The Kashgar Runs

11am – Day 2
These are the ramblings of someone suffering from 'Man-Diarrhoea', a particularly dire illness (signified by my capitalisation) that women seem to be only vaguely aware of. This can be the only explanation for Isabelle's relaxed attitude towards my predicament. Ever since the mountains before Korla I've been a bit run down and ended up catching a really annoying cold which I only shook off a couple of days ago. Getting caught in the snow wasn't exactly good for it but hey...these are the trials and tribulations of a long distance cycle tourer.  The one thing that I didn't expect was 'the shits' – I haven't had it since Africa in 2002 despite travelling all around SE Asia and India and always drinking the tap water and trying to build up my immunity wherever possible. I am now going through the recovery stage of a really vicious attack. I started to run out of energy a couple of days ago as we travelled by bus round the Taklamakan desert and just put it down to that thing where you always get ill at the beginning of a holiday. Why is that? - it's as though your body switches off your immune system for a few days because it needs a rest from looking after you on the road or at work.
 
2pm: I write this not because I think anyone really wants to know the details, but because it's damn boring lying here burping and farting, waiting for the next urgent trip to the toilet, whilst drinking copious amounts of flat coca-cola, rehydration salts a couple of times a day, and knowing I should eat but not wanting anything to go into the maelstrom of my digestive tract. I wait breathlessly for the magic drug Ciprofloxacin to kill all the aggressive little bastards multiplying in my intestines. Without going into too many details I haven't urinated for 48 hours but still need to drink constantly...I've had a fever of 38.5ºC for the last 24 hours, thankfully that's now subsided and I can stop breaking out in cold sweats in my 27ºC hotel room. I'm sick to death of lying down but every time I sit up, the gurgling starts again so I lie there watching endless CCTV5 repeats of the Chinese Olympic triumphs, table tennis and weight lifting being a couple of the less riveting favourites. The worst bit is the endless segues between segues advertising more of the same later in the day. I've discovered XJTV10 which is just Premier League football, although I'm even getting bored of that now. I have this dream that if I watch the TV for long enough I will eventually be able to speak Chinese fluently, although I also had this dream about French when I met Isabelle.

6pm: My biggest problem is that after a couple of days of lying here I'm getting crabby and uncomfortable, I'm not really tired but I feel exhausted, I'm hungry but don't want food, I want to go out but can't face it, I watch TV but I've seen it all before and I really need a shower but water frightens me. I'm not even ready to wear pants yet which says something about my state, so I sit here typing this with all on display, hoping the cleaning lady doesn't use her key-card to get in without knocking first. It must be tremendous fun for Isabelle, who kindly buys me the things I desire and then sits there looking as bored as I feel. At night I've been watching films on our impossibly small laptop sent out by my friend Rob in the UK. Janette, who chose the films, has excellent taste, but why are today's offerings all about death and loss!? I need cheering up not constant crying and blubbing.
 
7pm: After no visits to the toilet for 4 hours, I've just had to rush, I'm disappointed but I'm still hopeful that tomorrow I'll be much better. My sense of self pity is beginning to piss even me off. I'm bored of it now. And worst of all I'm sick of Isabelle saying 'Does that mean I'm stronger than you because I didn't get ill?' I have no answer, which bugs me,the question is so obviously irrational and makes no sense. It's like her other questions - 'How many ants do you think there are in the world?' or 'How many blades of grass are there?'. I try and explain using complicated scientific gobbledygook how only strong immune systems can face such harsh bacterial infections but she sees through me almost immediately. I end up muttering about the things that I ate that were different to her while she sits there and grins smugly.
 
8.40pm: I've now reached the stage where I am embarrassed by the state that I am in. The hotel room is a shambles with rubbish everywhere, there are plates of barely eaten rice and Isabelle says that I smell of illness. 'Nature' is clever, I now want to clean everything, a sure sign that I am ready to look after myself again. I've just had a shower and brushed my teeth, I even cleaned the outside of the toothpaste tube and used bottled sterile water rather than the tap water (which Isabelle seems to use with impunity). At this moment all dirt seems to disgust me. 
 
10pm: Another landmark, Cipro number 3 is now inside me. I am absolutely confident that I will be completely better tomorrow. I might even leave the hotel room. Now it's time for another film, I will not be watching one about illness or death. 
 
I think we'll watch 'Run Fatboy Run' or is the title a bit too reminiscent of my predicament? (not the Fatboy bit)


1 comment :

  1. Your last bracketed comment made me laugh. :)

    ReplyDelete