“Dizziness, nausea, disorientation…You’re either having a heat stroke or you’re pregnant.” I diagnosed Johan with the confidence from years of training at WebMD.
“That would explain the tenderness of breast.” Johan joked back weakly.
“Are you sure you still want to go?” I asked as we were about to board the bus to the music festival.
“I’ll be fine.” Johan promised. “Don’t worry about me and just have a good time.”
“Well, at least drink more water” I handed him a bottle and watched him drain it in one breath.
Johan looked worse and worse as the day went on. The festival was entirely outdoors, and under a blazing hot sun. The “Rainforest” was not nearly as cool and rainy as the name suggested. We took refuge under tents, indoor food stalls, and hopped strategically from tree to tree for shade.
Luckily there was a particular stall that sold coconut water instead of just beer. Johan remembered from a trip to Vietnam that coconut water was basically nature’s Gatorade, excellent for electrolytes and hydrates better than water. I made a mental note to remember that the next time somebody have a heat stroke. Or just very hung over.
Soon Johan recovered enough to somewhat enjoy himself. Neither of us were huge fans of “World Music”, but it was nice to chill out to nice beats and feast our eyes of the beauty around us. This was a nice contrast from the concrete jungle we were used to.
Eventually we found a nice shaded area next to a river and laid down for a rest. I held Johan’s hands and watched him drift off into a much needed nap. It must have been days since he got a good night’s sleep with the travelling and not to mention…the bed bugs. I shuddered at the thought.
I must have fallen asleep as well, because it was significantly darker when I opened my eyes. I sat up and noticed a girl standing across the deck with a camera. She saw me looking and made her way over.
“I hope you don’t mind that I took a picture.” She explained shyly. “You guys just looked so… peaceful.”
I didn’t mind since she was far away enough that even if I looked ugly sleeping, you probably couldn’t tell.
“No problem.” I smiled at her. “Frankly I’d like to get a copy of the picture. Couldn’t have staged it better myself.” I gestured to our beautiful surrounding.
“Oh of course, this place is just gorgeous isn’t it?”
She introduced herself as Vanessa and this is her first time in Kuching as well. She travelled quite a bit as a fashion blogger, and said that even though she grew up here, the beauty of her country still managed to amaze her. Johan woke up just as a friend of Vanessa’s joined as well. So for awhile, we all sat and chatted as Vanessa occasionally snapped pictures of the scenery.
This is another thing I really enjoyed about travelling; that you can meet people from all walks of life and become instant friends. Everyone is just open and eager to hear eachother’s stories, bonded by the fact that we are all strangers in a new place. At home I would rarely give strangers a second glance, lest they think I’m a creep or a thief. Because that’s what I would think.
As the sun start to set and the temperature become comfortably cool, we decided to walk around and explore the different stages. All the trees and foot paths were lit up with multicolored lights. Heineken balloons floated brightly overhead just in case anyone had any doubt about who was the sponsor. The whole place looked like an ethereal wonderland that only existed in story books. The musicians created equally heavenly tunes and just as in a fairy tale, my prince took my hand and twirled me to the music. For the rest of the night, we laughed and danced as the sky turned from pink and purple to a dark navy blue.
Sometimes I have trouble living in the moment. A problem that I’m sure plagues me and only me. Sometimes I worry so much that I can’t even enjoy what’s supposed to be enjoyable. And vacations are supposed to be enjoyable. But throughout this trip there was always a sense of dread simmering underneath the surface. I dreaded the end of this trip, because that meant the end of our time together. All this dreading made it hard to enjoy out time together now, and this trip hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park. However, in that moment, dancing beneath a blanket of stars, it was hard to hold on to those thoughts. Drunk on the atmosphere and maybe the Heineken, all the voices in my head stopped, at least momentarily.
And sometimes not thinking is the best thing you can do.
*Disclaimer: I was not paid by Heineken to write this post. Believe me, I wish I was.