Lessons of the road details the things that don’t quite go to plan on our trip. Anything from the little mistakes to the big fuck ups.
I had hoped that lesson two might not come for a couple of months or so but no, it’s been about two weeks. So sit back, enjoy, learn from us and try not to itch for the next few minutes.
So we’ve left Hangzhou now and moved onto Xiamen, we spent the last 6 nights in a dorm and despite having a great time with some other travellers, we were looking forward to some private time.
We booked into the V-inn hotel in advance as it was a similar price to the hostels thinking it would be a nice treat. We arrived okay and the place looked great, the room was fine but once we shut the door behind us it all went dramatically downhill, for me anyway, you’ll be glad to know that no Kirstys were harmed in the making of this lesson of the road.
We were in the room for a bit, make of it what you will, before deciding to go out and get some food. Kirsty noticed what looked like some bites on my rear end/arse/ass/bum bum, nothing out of the ordinary there so we went out and ate. When we got back to the room the redness of the ‘bites’ had calmed right down but after sitting on the bed again for a few minutes they came back even worse than before – this led to shower number one with the aim of washing away whatever was causing this. After the shower I covered myself in bug spray and sat up on one of the chairs hoping that would be the end of it. Nope, the redness began spreading to my legs and lower back and the itching began, this is about when the swearing began yet I still has no idea what was still to come.
It’s about midnight by this point and we were forced to go down to reception and change rooms. The hotel was fine with this – which was worrying, why weren’t they concerned? – I thought after changing rooms I might be okay. I had another shower in the new room to try and start fresh but mainly to relieve the burning feeling of the rash, I repeatedly washed with soap etc just trying to be as clean as possible. After jumping in my sleeping bag liner I got in bed and tried to get some sleep without itching. I managed to sleep for around an hour before waking up with the burning feeling once again so I went to the bathroom to check it out.
“Shit!” My back was covered, as well as my arse, my legs and all down my sides from right under my arm pits. This is about when I started to go a bit mental, I was sweating loads and even slapping myself where the itching was at its worst as the feeling of normal pain was relieving against the burning I was feeling all over. It sounds stupid now but the feeling was indescribably irritating. I knew the showers weren’t helping but I didn’t know what else to do other than try and cool down under the freezing cold water. I had to get out of the hotel, the rash was getting worse and I felt very trapped and getting very angry (which doesn’t happen easily at all) We went on the netbook (which was already on ready to listen to the Tottenham game at 3am China time – needless to say I didn’t listen) and found a hostel with 24hour reception. We weren’t sure if they would let us check in but just getting out of the hotel even to be sent back again was better than remaining there any longer.
By now it’s about 2:30 am but the moment we stepped outside, freedom! The walk to the hostel was around 15 minutes and this being China there were still plenty of people about. We never felt threatened on the walk despite the hotel obviously not being in the nicest part of town.
We managed to get checked into the Hostel after waking the lady up who worked/slept there, first of all though she pressed the buzzer to open the gate so we could enter, however the reception is located in what looks like a summer house so walked right passed it, wondered round the hostel for 15 minutes before we realised and had to wake her up again. She seemed a little surprised that we wanted to check in during the middle of the night but was very helpful and got us sorted quickly.
We got in the room, much bigger than the hotels, I might add and after being up most of the night and feeling relieved to be somewhere else we both went to sleep. I of course woke up about an hour later and guess what, it had spread more, I’m now bright red and swollen from my neck to just below my knee’s including down my arms and everywhere in between and the pain has moved from irritating to full on OWWWWWW.
Half an hour in the shower again did nothing and by this point I was shivering, sweating, pacing up and down and using all sorts of language a respectable young man like myself should not. There was a pharmacy just round the corner and we knew it wouldn’t open until at least 7am at the very earliest so I had to sit it out for at least an hour.
I know what you’re thinking right now – why the hell haven’t you gone to the hospital yet? Well part of the reason we didn’t go was that sitting still and waiting to be seen would have been impossible and we had also read that there were only English speaking doctors available at certain times – not the middle of the night.
This is when suicide watch began – the pain is just indescribable, even writing this now I can’t describe how it felt or begin to imagine how it felt at the time – I remember thinking that knocking myself out seemed like a good idea so I wouldn’t have to deal with the pain. We went to the pharmacy at 7 to find it didn’t open until 8, perfect! Kirsty sat, I wriggled as we waited for opening time, I must have looked like a heroin addict going cold turkey to all of the school children and parents going past and I felt like one too, shaking, sweating and feeling as though I was about to be sick. This is by far when the pain was at its worst, sitting outside the pharmacy window knowing that there was something in there that would relieve the pain but not being able to get to it, I could have quite happily taken sandpaper to my legs.
We finally got in and the woman in the shop took one disgusted look at me and quickly grabbed two boxes, some tablets and some cream. One of the tablets was in my mouth before we had paid. We rushed back to the hostel and I covered myself in the thick cream. It began to soothe my skin straight away and with the relief of having something at last – I fell asleep after a horrible night.
I will warn you now after all the pain and suffering this is a very short ending.
I woke up around an hour later to find most of the redness had gone and two hours later it had pretty much cleared up altogether. I am still amazed now at how good the cream and pills were after a terrible night it seemed like such an easy fix, we honestly expected to have to go to the hospital later as we didn’t think anything that could be bought over the counter would be strong enough to get rid of whatever I had. It seemed to good to be true and I was convinced after the cream and pills had worn off the rash would come straight back but as I sit here now a few days on there has been nothing at all. I took only one pill and applied the cream only once and whatever I had seems to have gone for good.
Writing this now has also reminded me I meant to stock up on the cream for future issues, I’m convinced this cream can solve anything – global economic crisis? Put some cream on it. Shame I completely forgot on the way out of Xiamen.
So lesson of the road 2:
– Hotels don’t mean luxury.
– Don’t be a douche bag – if you find some magic cream – stock up on it!
Sorry for not including any pictures of the rash, I was too busy thinking of ways to kill myself while Kirsty was trying to prevent me from doing so. There are however some of my bum in the early stages which will be available from the No Place To Be shop in the near future, framed and signed (enlarged poster sized)