I am looking forward to the days I can pick up my backpack and travel again.
But for now, I’m trying my very best at being a junior doctor.
After 2 weeks straight of working 18 hours per day, I’m finally “off tag” and no longer need to shadow any doctors! YAAAYYY!
However, the thought of being on call alone, taking care of 3 wards and the responsibilities that come with it is extremely daunting. One of my patients passed away on my 5th day of work (not my fault.) but there was a whole team of specialists and MOs there coincidentally to supervise as I resuscitated. If I’m alone with the nurses at night, I call the shots before the big guns arrive…
And here is what I’ve learnt from the past 5 months;
Family does not necessarily mean blood relations.
Blood relations do not necessarily mean family.
Painfully true and obvious as it may be, it’s a contrast to what I’ve been raised to believe, that nothing is more important than family.
Upper Yubeng Village, Deqin, Yunnan.
My home for a week, with no street lamps, no phone connection, minimum hot water and lots of donkey and pig poo on the roads (the village is inaccessible by vehicles, ride em’ donkeys if you don’t wanna hike 20km up the mountain) it really was like paradise.
My family for 2 weeks; Miss Linda Lee who acted as my surrogate mum taking care of me while I had food poisoning, nagging at me for my own benefit and other general adult things I lack, translator during communication barriers, confidant during girl talk/hugging sessions and of course, navigator for I have no sense of direction;
Mr. Gregorio Avanzi who acted as my surrogate brother whom would tell me the ways of the world (such as the reasons I should eat proscuitto or have sex, “or better yet, have proscuitto WHILE having sex”, a topic argued upon on many hikes), teacher as he taught me how to roll my first joint (and many more after that) and smoke up, dancing partner on evening dances with old ladies, food/adventure expedition member (We had possibly the best yak momos in the world!) where we’d have crazy intense talks about books, religion or architecture while exploring tibetan temples, finding best spots to watch the sun rise and star gazing.
I could not have asked for better company and better scenery. I am truly blessed.
Shangri-la, Yunnan, China.
(Crouching tiger) Hidden dragon.
Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China. 4th July 2013.
The 6-7 hour hike ended with a night’s sleep in a small hostel on the mountain side before continuing another 6 hours to the very end the next day. That night we sat on the balcony, drinking, eating and having good conversations with strangers and friends with the beautiful mountains as a backdrop. They passed around spliffs and some of us played drinking games until one by one everyone surrendered to exhaustion and sleep.
Large boulders fell from the mountains onto the low path overnight due to heavy rain and we got word that they closed the park due to danger. My friends started to panic and tried other ways of getting us out of there without having to hike the rest of the trail but to no avail. The path was small and slippery, and it would have been a long tumble down the slopes. Cold and soaked to the bone, we made it out of there in one piece. On the way out of the gorge, there were rocks big enough to take out buses lying by the side of the road (locals have already pushed it out of the way by then) and some parts of the road were smashed to pieces.
That photo of me would have been my last one if the rocks fell on us while we were hiking the trail. No regrets though, I met some of the most interesting people and saw beautiful views through this gorge. I joked with my mum later on that if I had to die, I’d rather go when I’m climbing a mountain or doing something I love. She was not amused. Needless to say, she has trouble with letting me go on another solo backpacking trip.
Meili Snow Mountain, Deqin, Yunnan, China. 13th July 2013.
I love traveling because through it, I am free.
Erhai Lake, Dali, China. 30th June 2013.
I cycled around the lake for 3 or 4 hours. It was massive! I was taken away by how beautiful it was, made lovelier with Cashgan Mountain as a backdrop.
Cashgan Mountain, Dali, China. 29th June 2013.
I was already backpacking for 30 days alone. I crossed the border of Vietnam via Lao Cai with a fever of 40 degrees celsius into China. I took a night bus straight via Hekou to Kunming, where I stayed indoors for 3 days with vomiting and a fever that would not go down. I took a night train to Dali on the 3rd day of being in China. By then I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I dropped my bags off at the youth hostel as soon as I arrived in Dali and decided to go on a hike. Best decision I made.
My second attempt to face my fear of heights.
(yes, the sky was THAT blue, and the trees were THAT green. It was beautiful beyond words)
I’m not dead, just running around Vietnam, mainland China and Tibet and
avoiding internship. I’m mostly traveling alone, but have met wonderful people on my trip and my best friend Dinah was ever so lovely enough to meet me in northern Vietnam.
I started my trip in Saigon, Vietnam. I went down to Can Tho and around the Mekong delta and moved up to Bac Loc, Da Lat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, Hue, Dong Hoi and Phoong Nha, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and Sapa and Cau Lau. I then crossed into China via Hekou and went to Kunming (I skipped Yuanyang rice terraces because I had a terrible fever of 40 degrees celcius. sad). I moved west to Dali and now I’m in Li jiang.
I’ve jumped off a 15m cliff, rappelled down 25m waterfalls, saw coffee plantations and the whole coffee-making shibang, saw (swam at and got yelled at) the biggest cave in the world, learnt a traditional Cham dance and sang at one of the oldest Cham temples, kayaked with my bestfriend (and again, swam even though was told not to…I’m not good with rules) at one of the most beautiful bays in the world. And tomorrow…I’m going hiking in the world’s deepest gorge.
I hope you guys are ready for A LOT of photos.