I took the night bus back to Siem Reap, and managed to knock my ankle against the sharpest metal piece of the seat. I’m nursing what I’m hoping is a cold. There are mosquitoes here and there, and dengue fever is a risk here and in Phnom Penh. I’ve never had dengue, although several friends and former roommates have. It starts like your average flu, with a sore throat or aching muscles or tired feeling, and then it deepens into a week of exhaustion and fever. Dengue is sometimes called breakbone fever, because it can be accompanied by severe muscle and bone pains. Most of the time, it passes after a week or two, but it can become hemorrhagic. I’m less worried about bleeding and more about wasted time.
I think it’s human to become complacent about horrible things that don’t affect you personally. Six years free of dengue must translate into some kind of immunity. Six years without theft must mean that I can sling my backpack over one shoulder.
Right now, I’m sitting in a cafe drinking a chocolate milkshake and listening to a man next to me try to explain his coffee order: “Milk on the side. Milk on the side. So – I take – you bring me the milk and I pour. Long black, milk on the side. Milk – milk on the side. Long black, milk on the side. Long black, milk on the side. You bring me the milk like this, I pour. Long black, milk on the side. Thank you. Long black. Milk on the side.”