And we're back with the latest (and greatest?) installment in the Hott Honeymoon Adventures. Hold on tight because things are about to get explosive.
And yes, I DO mean diarrhea.
As we left off in the last post, we boldly feasted upon some tasty, if risky, street meat in Hanoi before drifting into the peaceful sleep of the innocent. Oh, if only we knew what lay ahead!
The following morning we had an 8:40 AM flight from Hanoi to our next destination: Hue, Vietnam's old imperial capital city, about an hour flight away. (PS it's pronounced like Hway...like, you know that weird fancy accent some people put on their W's?) Brian woke around 4 feeling unwell, but reassured himself he was just imagining things...for about fifteen minutes, when he realized that nope, the pain was real. Then I began to feel the twinge. I thought it was my usual morning trots (yes, I have issues) but quickly realized we were in entirely new territory here, digestively speaking. Brian and I took turns in our hotel's tiny bathroom which, by the way, was about eight feet from the bed and oh yes, had GLASS DOORS.
This here is the view we're working with, I texted this to my friend back home with just a whole bunch of poop emojis as the caption. Yes, OK there was a curtain you could pull and though that did obstruct the view it did little to protect from the sound. Our marriage crossed a whole new boundary that morning, guys. I don't think there's any going back.
And this is just the beginning!
We managed to shove down some dry toast and water and made it to the airport without incident...well poop-related incident, that is - our driver may have taken us to the wrong terminal, leaving us scrambling around this foreign airport, light-headed and delirious, but that's neither here nor there. Brian had vommed, big-time, before leaving the hotel and was feeling pretty in the clear. Me, I was hanging by a thread. We boarded the plane and strapped in our seats and proceeded to sit in this stuffy tin can on the terminal for what seemed an eternity. All of a sudden I was cold and fuzzy and sweaty all at once and before I knew it, I was puking...all over the aisle floor.
It was so bad, guys. Because of the language barrier I wasn't able to fully convey what was happening to the flight attendants and I was just mortified. I was also quite ill. I spent what seemed like an eternity crammed into a ball on the bathroom floor in the tiny space between the toilet and the the door, scared to venture too far from the john and lacking the energy to even try. Eventually I made it back to my seat and spent the rest of the trip asleep on Brian's lap.
Best part of this whole thing: across the aisle from us was a Vietnamese gentleman who looked like a business traveller and next to him was a youngish couple, the guy in the middle and his girlfriend at the window. I guess the girl was a nervous flyer because as we began our descent, SHE threw up! HA! The poor, poor, POOR man between us was just like, fuuuuuuuck my life. Just trying to do a little Thursday morning business travel and these idiots are literally vomiting all around him.
Even in the midst of our food-poisoning-induced hazes, Brian and I managed a chuckle.
We landed in Hue and were through the one-room airport in about 2 minutes flat, where a driver from our hotel met us in a gloriously air-conditioned van. I slept the entirety of the way into town and fell into bed the moment we arrived at our hotel.
After an hour nap, showers and about 80 bottles of water, we were feeling somewhat refreshed, so we decided we'd venture out into town. Though the flight did add an extra layer of pain and complexity, this day really was the best of all days for us to be out of commish. We didn't have any activities planned, except a self-guided tour of Hue's Imperial City. My friend Anton had visited Hue and recommended we take a guided tour, as the City is huge and hard to navigate. I don't remember why we didn't take her up on her advice, it's so unlike us NOT to have something planned, but it turned out to be a weird blessing not to have any sort of schedule.
We grabbed a picnic lunch of two loaves of plain bread and yet more giant bottles of water and trekked from our hotel to the Imperial City, about a mile walk. The majority of the City was destroyed during the American War (which is what it's called in Vietnam, if you were curious!), but some parts still stand and have been renovated, so it's a strangely sad, beautiful mix of palaces and ruins.
We did our best, I really think we did. We wandered a bit, taking frequent rests to guzzle water or pathetically nosh on bread and were OK while we were in the more restored section, with its benches and plentiful shade.
But as we began to wander through the ruinous zones the situation verrry quickly deteriorated. It was one o'clock in the afternoon, 95 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. We were both dehydrated and ill. Brian had on long pants and I, wanting to be "modest" was wearing this ridiculous long, thick skirt. I once again began to feel as though I was just seconds away from vomiting, pooping my pants, passing out...or all three. We managed to find a bathroom in the back of the City grounds, next to an immaculately restored tennis court that was there for some inexplicable reason. The bathroom was pretty disgusting but did have a lovely shaded portico attached, so Brian and I spent the next half an hour sitting listlessly in the shade on the floor outside this smelly public lavatory, popping Target brand immodium like tic-tacs.
Eventually we mustered enough energy to stumble back through the grounds to an exit, hail a taxi back to the hotel and slept the rest of the day. We awoke around dinner time and realized that some food might do us good - so far all either of us had in our systems was some dry bread and eight gallons of water - so we went out in search of something our bodies might not reject. The area we were staying in Hue was dubbed the "Backpacker Ghetto" by Lonely Planet and they were kind of right, all of the restaurants were clearly geared towards tourists with a strange mix of local delicacies and random Western foods: spaghetti, fish sticks, ice cream. We settled on a placed called Hot Tuna, grossest name ever, where Brian ate half of a steak sandwich and I ate one bite of a grilled cheese and then dry heaved in the bathroom. We went back to the hotel where I managed to keep down two small bananas and a cup of ginger tea and returned to our air-conditioned, comfy beds.
All in all, an A+++ excellent, top-notch day!! Highly recommended, would do again!
Brian continues to claim he has no regrets about that fateful dinner but I don't know, man. I still can't even think about barbecued pork without getting the shakes.
A friend of mine recently asked if our honeymoon was romantic and I came up kind of stumped. Thinking about it, don't know if that's the word I would use. It made me think back to a book I read while we were travelling (Ok, yes, it was Outlander again but let's all pretend it was something highbrow). Near the end of the book as the main character nurses her sick husband, there is the line "Not for the first time, I reflected that intimacy and romance are not synonymous." I came on this sentence a few days after Hue and had to laugh a bit to myself because we were fully in the mix of learning the difference.
So was this trip romantic? No not really! Our Fire Island mini-moon was romantic: sun, wine, sex, sleep, repeat, repeat, repeat. Romantic is not being jolted from sleep at 4:30 AM by the sound of your partner's loose stools cascading into the toilet five feet away from your head. But going through that while navigating stressful foreign situations and sleepless nights on cramped airplanes and heat rashes and bad moods and still wanting to jump each other's bones and spend every possible second together is its own beautiful thing - and I think that must be intimacy. And I'm OK with that! I'm glad we did all this together, I feel more and more like we're really and truly a team.
Navigating the territory from romance towards intimacy is something that has scared me a bit about marriage. Movies and magazines will have you believe it's a treacherous, slippery slope from butterflies to boredom. That it's only a matter of time until the honeymoon is over and you're reading 50 Shades of Grey atop the spin cycle while your fat, lazy husband watches football in his man cave. And maybe that is how it goes and what lies ahead. Who knows. But I'm growing more and more OK with giving up a little bit of romance if it allows room for the intimacy.
I mean, I still do want to jump Brian's bones like...all the time.
Anddddd, my mom reads this. Hi mom!
Anyway, that's some deep thoughts for your night! Long story long: we got the traveller's d and we got it bayd. We started our antibiotics as soon as we landed in Hue and were basically fine for the rest of the trip...if a little leery. Let this be a cautionary tale to any of you heading to parts unknown in the near future! Eat at your own risk. And locate the barf bag before you start to feel ill.
Just trust me.
I was going to continue on to our second day in Hue but this is more than lengthy enough so I'll save that for next time. I promise this is the last time you'll have to read about diarrhea.
....until now: DIARRHEA!
Grow up, Liz.
xoxoxo Liz Hott