If you’re keeping track via Twitter, you saw yesterday in 140 characters at a time just what freaking out while you’re traveling alone abroad looks like.
Stupid, adventurous me decided to walk a different way to the beach yesterday. What’s the worst that could happen?
Getting bitten by a stray dog, that’s what.
Clearly I’d entered a territory they didn’t want my kind in, and as I tried to break through the three dogs who came barking at me, one of them socked his teeth around the back of my right knee. What didn’t seem too bad at first has, I assure you, swelled itself into a mess of a bruise and teeth marks on my innocent leg. Ugh.
I came right back to my hotel where they put me on a rickshaw to the hospital nearby. Sheila, the oldest and most motherly of three nurses who greeted me, showed me to a washroom where I scrubbed the wound (wound!) out with soap and water, then waited for the doctor. He didn’t seem troubled at all by the incident (Sheila was the one who tried graciously to calm my frenzied tears) and simply administered the first round of a rabies vaccine I’ll have to follow up on for the next 28 days.
Rs1400 ($28) later, I was back at the hotel and in for the night. My hosts took lovely care of me, including strong pours on the gin and tonics that kept appearing in front of me until I was tipsy enough to fall into bed and sleep the trauma away.
I promised myself I wouldn’t let this scare completely ruin my trip, so while I’m still extremely skittish about all these dogs running about (there is no such thing as pets here, no cottage industry of pet stores, let alone vets to fix or vaccinate them), I was determined to have a day on the beach. Making wide circles around any animal in my path, I found a chair and umbrella on the beach that I made my own for a few hours this afternoon. Trust me – I have the sunburn to prove it.
By the law of averages, by karma, by whatever it is you believe in, I knew something less than ideal would happen to me this trip. I figured I might get sick from the water or something I ate and shouldn’t have. I thought I might miss a plane or train or get in the wrong cab to get where I was going. I suppose any of those things could still happen in this last week.
But hopefully this run in with an ornery dog, a trip to the hospital and the mother of all bruises to show for it will be the worst thing that happens while I’m away. It’s not pleasant at all. But it’s also, once the initial fears of imminent death subsided, nothing I can’t handle.