My head lay on the pillow, slightly propped up by my elbow and forearm that acted as a pillar beneath. The tiger balm that I had momentarily ago rubbed into my shoulders, dabbed on my temples and beneath my nose had begun to sink deep into my skin. The intensifying heat a symbol of recognition. A remaining mosquito darted around the room, it was almost impossible to keep them all out. Somewhere, someplace, a tiny crack must grant them entry. I'd written a realisation in my phone at breakfast and I reflected upon it. A faint headache still troubled my mind. I had assumed it was dehydration that was the instigator, yet being reminded of the inclusion of MSG in the local food made me point the finger elsewhere. I wondered of the clothes that were being stitched and sewn together someplace near or someplace far. Would the money be worth it? I was slowly accumulating materialistic items as my travels progressed, torn as I am between wanting to rid myself of desires and excess and yet adorn myself in tailored threads, leather shoes and handwoven bags. The two worlds I have long danced between epitomised by this very scenario. I thought of the old coins that I'd let swim between my fingers down in the Old Town while the setting sun offered it's final shards of light which penetrated paths between the bustling tourists and Old French colonial buildings. The scent of raw seafood which lay open in baskets on the sidewalk had dominated the air. Vegetables in every colour provided a rich and diverse contrast to the natural toned, hand-woven baskets that hung from the roof of a stall on the opposite side of the esplanade. Glimpses of a river revealed itself when granted the opportunity. An ever-flowing fixed object, reflective of the incessant stream of thoughts in my stationary mind. Water, large masses of it, have always held the ability to keep me grounded, just as the ocean had successfully achieved the previous day. Perhaps it's rooted in my up-bringing, but I can only think it has this effect on most people no matter their narrative.
Bạch hổ Hoạt Lạc Cao (White Tiger Balm)