Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tropical Fever

Every time I travel in equatorial South-east Asia, I can guarantee that at least a couple of days will be lost to some kind of illness. As much as I hate to admit it, I don't really have the right constitution to ward off the murky spill of bacteria and viruses that spawns in the clammy humidity.
I've spent most of the past week in bed. In between sleeping or ordering bowls of clear onion broth and bottles of Evian water from room service, I've been sketching and catching up with my life. I finished an acrylic on paper study of my next Dangerous Career BabeThe Mother, pictured above – and edited excerpts from my notebooks to be published in a new English magazine, Case. I've also been corresponding with Julianne Schultz, editor of the Australian literary journal, Griffith REVIEW, about a contribution to its Sex, Money, Power issue, to be published later this year.
I keep the curtains of my hotel room closed. The pool is just beyond the terrace and even with the door closed, I can hear the splash of guests swimming in its too-warm, over-chlorinated soup. Occasionally there's the high-pitched squawk of a maid's two-way radio or the digitized chirp of a mobil phone. I open the door only in the evening, around four p.m., when the sky darkens and a heavy, monsoonal rain sets in. It sounds like uncooked rice being swished around a wooden bowl, a soothing white noise that sends me to sleep – again.

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