I was really excited at the prospect of entering Tallinn, so I don’t want to be a wet blanket and rain on my own parade or anything, but if I’m being really honest, I’d have to say navigating the Estonian public transport system at 7am after a 16-hour bus ride from Poland was not something I enjoyed doing. And I enjoy most challenges.
I woke up this morning bright-eyed and confident I would make it to Melnik – the tiniest town in Bulgaria. Upon boarding the first bus to Sandanski, I promptly noticed that no one spoke English.
We got off the plane in the dark, caught the SkyTrain to the city, and walked up three staircases to the American Backpackers Hostel, just as someone was being kicked out because management found his needle stash under the bed. Hello, Vancouver.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where I contracted dengue, but I’m fairly sure it was somewhere in Vietnam, and I am so, so glad I wasn’t alone when it happened. I’d been travelling around India and South East Asia for a few months and had dealt with one or two weird viruses and bugs, but nothing big enough to really knock me out for more than a day or so. It’s funny because everyone warns you about food poisoning and malaria, so you get shots, buy a lifetime supply of Doxycycline and get all picky about where and what you eat, but it won’t necessarily stop you from getting sick. Not once did I think I’d get dengue. It began when I was in Hoi An trying to go to sleep, and my arms and legs started to ache. It started off pretty mild, but as the night…
It’s both comforting and surprising to know that tourists generally don’t die in Iceland. Beautiful as it is, most of it looks like the opening of an 80s horror film. You get out of the car, look around at the magnitude, splendour and isolation of the place, and think ‘well, this is how I’m going to die’. It’s like the opening of The Shining.