Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Another day, another sunrise walk along the beach. This one was a bit of a challenge, actually, because I've been struck by a malady I'm calling Ho Chi Minh's Revenge -- I'll spare you the details but let's just say my intestines are not happy.
I'm surprised, because I'm very careful about what I eat when I travel -- no iced drinks, no salad, no unpeeled fruit, no street food. But something got through my defenses. Was it the fruit juice "welcome drink" at one of our hotels, perhaps cut with tap water? The Thai basil I stirred into my hot chicken noodle soup at an airport cafe? My martini from Monday night, no doubt shaken with ice? Who knows.
Fortunately, I think the worst of it has passed, and I suppose overall it hasn't been that severe. But I've felt pretty knotted up for the past 24 hours.
This morning I collected these plastic objects on the beach -- I think they're floats from fishing nets, but I'm not 100 percent sure. They're kind of cool, though. I think I'll keep them.
Some of you remarked on the amount of plastic on the beach in my photos yesterday. There is indeed a lot, at least in the areas that are not routinely swept by the hotels. It looks to me like about 75 percent of it is either single-use plastic bottles or fishing gear.
We're going to have to move toward a world where single-use bottles will either be made illegal or will be better managed (reused or redeemed for deposit), because something's got to give. Plastic bags, same thing. The question is, how much time is going to elapse, and how much environmental damage will we allow, before we take those steps?
(I wrestle with a sense of personal responsibility for this problem, because Dave and I have gone through countless plastic bottles of water since we've been here. And I still got Ho's Revenge!)
Things are not all doom and gloom, though. I found this beautiful purple shell on the beach this morning, and I found several bright striped snail shells that still had critters in them. (I threw those back.) I also saw numerous jellyfish and lots of crabs. So there is plenty of life out there.
In terms of seabirds I've seen one sandpiper, but otherwise nothing -- not even a gull. This part of the world just doesn't seem to have many.
So the plan for today is to lie around, finish my Ian Rankin book, have a beer or two on the beach in the shade of an umbrella, and take it easy in general. Tomorrow I hope to motivate myself to get into the city of Nha Trang.