One of the things I knew nothing about before moving to Hanoi was the reality of the climate here. Speaking completely personally, and no, I’m not an expert (!) – it’s awful! We’ve been here almost a full calendar year having arrived at the very beginning of March 2012, February is the only month we haven’t experienced yet.
Apart from November which was a lovely month (am I biased because I had friends to stay and it was my birthday?), no weatherwise it was pretty good, really every single month has been a challenge for me. When I first arrived I was pretty soon struck down with Hanoi Hack (a medical term folks, I’m not making it up for dramatic effect), that took weeks to clear up before a short period of respite and another bout of coughing, bronchitis, sinusitis …..
Add to the challenge of keeping my body healthy with all the pollution here, the climate itself and really I’m amazed I’m still here! March was very grey, April started to brighten up, May – August were so unbelievably hot that going up a flight of 10 steps inside the house seemed like a gargantuan effort. Oh you get the picture …
One of the things I love about the Vietnamese, and expats now I come to think about it, is their willingness to share information. And this is particularly so when it comes to medication. I have drunk all sorts of herbal concoctions and teas which were absolutely guaranteed to cure a cough (and no, I don’t know what was in them but they looked horrid enough to perhaps work!), I’ve spooned down all sorts of hideous syrupy liquids, taken tablets, antibiotics, anti histamines …. However, I think all of this has been a waste of time and my latest venture – to a Vietnamese lady who practises traditional Chinese medicine – pretty much sums up the state of play.
After listening carefully to everything I have tried so far (and to be fair, only giving the very faintest of smiles), looking at my tongue, taking my pulse and blood pressure and then feeling around various key parts of the body she gave her diagnosis: My body was fighting itself, it is not in harmony and really the fighting is too much. So, I must start yoga, only eat food that is fresh and in season, gargle and sniff sterilised salt water twice a day, take exercise, relax more and stop struggling against my own body but let it find it’s own path to healing.
And the bill? A big fat Xero. She said there was no charge for her advice because really it was just common sense that I had forgotten and there is nothing wrong with me that my body won’t sort out for itself if I just give it a chance and lay off all the medicines.
A tip here that could result in some impressive savings for the National Health system in the UK perhaps?!