In the Life of a Fickle Intern

April 17, 2011

Thai Massage

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 11:26

Being the huge massage fan that I am, it is not surprising that one of
the first things I sought out in Thailand were spas. Curious to try the infamous Thai massage, my friend and I blindly chose one of the many massage parlors to test the water. Not knowing what to expect, we were in for a big surprise.

No, no it was a legit spa but nonetheless, we both left feeling a little molested. Apparently personal space does no exist in Thailand. Despite being two girls, they placed us in the same room, not unlike a couple’s massage. That wasn’t a big deal, but when the massages started, I definitely felt otherwise. Starting on my back, they definitely massaged areas that were off limits leaving very little surface area untouched. Weird, but not terribly freaky, yet! Things were going well until they had me flip over. Keeping my eyes covered, the masseuse uncovered my whole chest and abdomen and started massaging things that should NOT be touched other than by me, my future husband, and my doctor! Being completely immature, I, of course, started giggling. Though I was able to suppress if then, I literally bursted out laughing to my total embarrassment when they had me sit up, pretty much naked, with my friend in the next bed, for some stretches. I was mortified at both the awkward positions I was put into but more importantly, the fact that I couldn’t stop laughing. The masseuse kept on saying “You shy? Don’t be shy? All the same.” Through some motions of tugging at the sheets, she finally understood and let me at least wrap a sheet around my body as she continued to pose me in these positions.

Overall, the massage felt great, uncomfortable at times, but it felt nice. After the session, my friend and I rehashed the whole experience because despite being in the same room, we were both pretty speechless during the whole thing. We will have to be more specific next time to what they can and cannot touch!

April 12, 2011

Silence

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 03:36

I am a talker. I can pretty much talk to anyone or anything. Yet, unprepared, I’ve been thrown into a situation where silence is my only option. Unable to speak the language, I find myself in a situation not very unlike a home stay in a foreign country. As my English speaking companions fulfill their sole purpose of stocking up on whatever Indian goods that they need, I’ve been opting out on these shopping expeditions (after joining them for one too many) to stay back with the relatives. Unable to communicate to anyone, I’ve felt a little trapped and helpless. We have been using a lot of body languages to try to convey information to one another, but for the most part, I just sit and smile. Though I’ve been abroad many times before, I think this is the first time that I have no means of communicating with anyone. It’s a bit frustrating unable to do anything on my own.

Trying to stay positively, I’ve been using this downtime to read and whatnot, however, I won’t lie, I’m going a little crazy. I don’t remember the last time that I’ve kept this quiet for such an extensive time, nor do I recall being so
idle. I will be glad when this portion of the trip is over. Three more days.

We are currently in Ahmedabad, and luckily, I’ll at least have cable and wireless for the next day to pass the time. It’s a bit sad how excited I am to have something to do apart from having internal dialogues with myself.

April 8, 2011

Street Food

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 08:05

I think I am getting old. A month-long trip in my younger and more adventurous years would not have caused any doubt or discomfort. Now, barely two weeks in India, I have encountered an endless array of ailments ranging from insomnia, GI problems, headaches, nausea and vomitting, just to name some. I had no idea that aging came so early!

Worst yet, my medical school years have forever changed my outlook on life. Despite my love for street food, seeing the way the dishes are prepared have prevented me from fully enjoying what I’ve eaten. I reluctantly have tried to block out my knowledge of all of the creepy crawlers that inhabit the food that I’m consuming, but despite that mental repression, I am physically reminded of what I have learned afterwards. Luckily, street food is not as widespread here as it is in Vietnam, or else I would be tempted to put my poor digestive system through more torture. This will become more of a problem in Thailand where street food is a more established part of the culture, or so I’ve heard. For the love of food, I will just have to suck it up!

We are currently in Rajkot, India. My friend has some family in this area, but the main purpose of this portion of the trip is for her to shop. I like to shop, but when Indian people shop in India, it’s serious business. I have had my fair share of saree shops and fabric stores and tailors and shoe stores. I am trying to be a good sport about this whole thing, but in all honesty, I kind of wished that I knew what this last week in India was intended for earlier on so that I could have planned something to do instead. Luckily, I brought a lot of books.

One more week until Thailand!

April 2, 2011

India

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 10:07

India. Where to start? It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s crowded and congested. Its dirty and polluted. Yet, amongst all that, it’s such a vibrant and colorful place, filled with an undeniable energy. Though culture shock is not the appropriate word to describe my feelings, this trip to India is definitely opening my eyes to a whole new world.

This past week has been busy. Doing a southwest tour of India, we started in Bombay, headed south to Goa, and are now heading northward going through Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, and Pune. As the complete tourists that we are, we have hit up many if not most of the major sites within these cities from old Cathedrals to open markets to the beautiful beaches along the Goan coast.

However, it does feel like half of our time has been in transit between the cities. The roads here are lane-less, rule-less and constantly congested with cars, rickshaws, bikes, animals, and people. Moreover, we somehow managed to get the one tour guide who just started. Not only does our tour guide not speak English on this English based tour, he is not familiar with any of the cities. A good portion of our time has been getting lost and asking for directions. Luckily for him, he is very friendly. You can’t really dislike a friendly person, even if they are clueless.

In addition to the expected gastrointestinal problems, I’ve been having a lot of motion sickness issues. Those windy, narrow roads through the mountains have not been kind to my apparently weak stomach and head.

Apart from my personal ailments, this trip has been very interesting, to say the least. The people are amazingly friendly, though they have no qualms about staring. Not surprisingly, I stick out like a sore thumb. However, surprisingly, I think I’ve been the first Asian person that many of these people have seen in some of these smaller towns. In addition to the blatant staring, I’ve been pointed at and photographed and whatnot. It’s totally weird!

The landscape that we have witnessed have ranged from beautiful mountain valleys to piles of trash along the roads. The social inequality is so noticeable in the everyday life. There are tarp and tin shacks juxtaposed to billboards for condominium developments. There are beggars begging next to nice cars and shopping centers. The poverty in some of these areas are so real and tangible. It’s almost unreal some of the living conditions of the people here.

One week in and so many stories to tell and pictures to show. Will update as soon as possible.

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