I am so hungry. I have this pit in the bottom of my stomach because every time I start to eat I get full too soon to really fill it up.
It has been accumulating for days now. Maybe weeks. I have no real sense of time here, so I don’t know how long I have been hungry. I don’t know what day it is or what month or what week. I forget sometimes where I am, what country, what city, because they all start to blend together after a time. One city and then the next, one cuisine and currency and language follows the next.
The hunger is a side effect of traveling. Well, for me, of taking malarone. I know it does this to me, makes me lose my appetite, but I have it and I was told to take it and I am paranoid of getting sick from all the bug bites that I get every day, so I don’t stop taking it. I don’t stop taking it and I learn to eat as much as I can before giving the rest of my meal to the guys that I am traveling with. That is one of the perks of traveling with guys: they are always happy to finish my meal when I cant, so I feel less bad about not finishing my food.
There are moments while traveling where I forget what real life is. Where I forget that I have a home and friends and family besides the bed that I am renting in an eight-person dorm and the people that I am traveling with. I forget what I did before, what I am doing after, what month it is, what year. I forget how old I am and where I come from, all I know is that I am on the road and I have been for months and I will be for months to come.
It is a calm feeling, but confusing.
But then we rent motorbikes and make our way down the coast of Vietnam from Hue to Hoi An and it is the most beautiful and exhilarating things that I have ever done. And I am giddy with the adrenaline brought on by the speed and the wind swirling around and against me and the views that pass me by as we make our way from the jungles and the rice paddies to the mountains and the stunningly white sandy beaches and the views of the trains weaving their way through the valleys at the base of it all.
And while we are doing this I forget how hungry I am just for the time being. And everything else slips away from me. It is me and this country and the wind on my back. It is the sun when we stop, beating down on my bare shoulders. It is the bright greens and blues and browns lining the view. It is the curves as the road hugs the mountain and the sound of my bike as we climb higher and higher over the pass. And it is the speed as we race along the straight city highways, going faster and faster until we can’t go any more and we finally stop.
When we stop this time it is just for one night in Hoi An. One night turns into two, though, and then three and then four as we lie by the pool in the sun, taking the time to relax in a sort of vacation and holiday from the traveling.
It is easy to stay in Hoi An. Everyone who comes to the hotel there (the Sunflower Hotel, the only hostel in town, and where all of the backpackers end up staying) stays for longer than they mean. Kateryna refers to it as the Bermuda triangle. Because everything is lost there. Days, time, everything. Every morning we eat the buffet breakfast before going and sitting by the pool and promising that we are going to do something that day. Instead though we end up lying by the pool, meeting new friends, soaking up the sun, reading our books. And we leave again when the sun leaves and we go to eat.
The other thing we do is we go out and we buy motorbikes. Because we can’t get over how beautiful the drive from Hue to Hoi An was, and so we are blaming staying in Hoi An for so long on the fact that it is taking us time to buy the motorbikes, and we cannot leave until we do.
And so when we finally leave Hoi An we have lost more days, again, and the week has started to fly by, again. The time here gets lost into the sinkhole of traveling, and once again we will head off to a new city, to new things, to new people, but also to the same people who are traveling in the same direction. And new meals and new foods and new sites. And more days flying by, cities and countries flying by and getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle of traveling.