“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” - Lao Tzu
Monday, 1 November 2010
The Doctors and Tailors of Hoi An
So I wake up the next day (Sunday) feeling terrible with a full-blown cold. Rats.
Oh well, if I'm going to be stuck somewhere unable to get out and do much, Hoi An is one of the better places to be. The ancient town is a small, quiet, beautiful place. Sitting at a coffee shop having a drink, watching the world go by and blowing my nose is still more fun than being healthy in Australia.
There was a shop across the road that had a little "pharmacy" sign on it, and I tried my best to ask for something to dry up my nose and soothe my throat, but the language barrier prevented me from being so specific. What the lady did end up giving me was "Siang Pure Oil", some kind of miracle oil that supposedly cures 5 different ailments - including farting!
It's an oil with a menthol and peppermint base and a bunch of herbs.. and it basically seems to work along similar lines to Deep Heat or Vicks Vaporub in Australia. Either way, it did actually help! The smell cleared my nose and head, and the oil really soothed my nose too. Seems to be great stuff, and the packaging is fantastic.
The only thing I did have to do on Sunday was go back to Tailor Tam's and a nearby shoe shop for a fitting of my new clothes and shoes. I managed to drag myself out of bed and got down there at about 5pm.
Tam was there, cheerful as ever, and she handed me a bunch of shirts and a suit to try on. They fit amazingly well. Great job.
But as I was trying them on, Tam looked at me and said I looked sick.. she then sees that I have a cold sweat and before I could protest she had picked up the phone and called a doctor. Right she says, doctor will see you in 10 minutes. Follow me.
So I walk out the front and she's nowhere to be seen. 20 seconds later she pulls up beside me on her motorbike. And whether I like it or not, I'm going to the doctor! So I jump on the back of the bike for another little impromtu ride through Hoi An.
Sure enough, 10 minutes later I was in the doctor's office being seen to by no less than the head of medicine at the local hospital. And sure enough the diagnosis was a common cold. The doctor gave me a bunch of drugs to treat the symptoms, thoroughly checked out a bunch of other things, then sent me on my way. Total cost $25 (which included 3 lots of drugs), and took no longer than 10 minutes from picking up the phone to speaking with the doctor. It might be a slightly ad-hoc health system, but it was certainly effective and efficient, and the doctor totally competent.
And through all this Tam was still waiting for me! She's a legend! But by now it was getting too late to finish trying on the clothes, so she went back to close up her shop and I went in search of some dinner.
So I went down to the waterfront with my camera to take some nice photos and find a restaurant to eat in. And who should I stumble across, but my Polish friends Marta and Ulrick!
We chat a bit more and then decide to go and grab a meal together, and so spend a couple of hours at a restauruant overlooking the river discussing all kinds of things before I head back to my hotel to sleep.