So, I guess that one of us (or probably both) was bound to succumb to some sort of strange, ancient-sounding tropical illness at some point in time.
One month in Asia and we can consider it done.
Thursday morning Jesse and I headed out on a little motorbike trip over to Balian, which is a small surfing town located on Bali's west coast. It was a somewhat harrowing and traffic clogged two-hour drive, but the destination itself was absolutely lovely. Quiet and fairly untouched, the town catered mostly to the small groups of surfers who had traveled north to escape the Kuta madness and enjoy the water in relative peace. With a few quaint restaurants, various homestays and pretty incredible waves, Balian looked like a fantastic place to spend a couple days.
Unfortunately, after only a half-day there, I woke up early Friday morning with a high fever, chills and a complete inability to uncurl myself from the fetal position, let alone enjoy a fresh coconut on the beach. There began two days of self-described feverish misery, doctors visits, blood tests, and car rides ultimately culminating in a somewhat surprising (and very Oregon Trail-esque) diagnosis: typhoid fever.
A little scary yes, but ultimately not the worst thing out there.
The major fear here is coming down with dengue fever, which has fairly similar symptoms to typhoid and often quite serious complications. It can also take many weeks to recover from. Typhoid, on the other hand, while definitely unpleasant and also sometimes long-lasting, seems to be quite easily controlled with antibiotics, which I'm now choking down by the bucketful.
No question getting sick on the road is all a part of travel - and long-term travel in particular. We were lucky to stay almost completely healthy in Mexico, but Asia presents a whole new host of strange bacteria and challenges. Of course we always choose bottled water and don't eat from sketchy looking food carts, but when living abroad for a long period of time it's pretty hard to stick to every rule while still taking advantage of the opportunity to experience each country's native (and often very delicious) cuisine.
What I mean to say is that we're doing our best, but these past few days have definitely been a wake up call to increase our vigilance about what we're putting in our bodies. We take for granted that we can assume in the US that a high fever is probably just a flu, while here it's often cause for a battery of tests and strong medication. All of which we'd obviously like to avoid, if at all possible.
No doubt this is only the first of many health hiccups we're going to encounter over the next months, and I just feel fortunate to be able to convalesce here in Bali in our airy bungalow, with a very kind travel companion / nurse who makes sure I'm never without a cold towel for my forehead, a salty cracker or a Pocari Sweat. I'm crossing my fingers it passes quickly and I'll be feeling well enough soon to fully enjoy our last couple weeks in Bali and have a last few spicy delicious tastes of soto ayam.
Also feeling inspired to give the Oregon Trail another go - apparently it still exists! I'm excited.