I have been out of touch for a while because I have been really sick with something, not sure what. I am all better now, though. I either had food poisioning (my preferred diagnosis) or dysentery (doctor's diagnosis). On the 12th at around 8 PM I got really nauseous, and ended up sick all night... no need to go into the distgusting details. But about every 30 minutes or so I was in the bathroom. The food at the guest house isn't too fresh, and at lunch I felt ill and then at dinner even worse, so I think it might have been the food. The next morning, I didn't really want to get out of bed, since the vomiting had finally stopped, and I just wanted to sleep. But Dr. Das called for me to go to the travel agent to book tickets, which I of course was unable to fathom. So instead I told him I was too sick, and they insisted that I go to their house to be taken care of. So Mrs. Das and Dr. Das made sure I got better- all day I was nauseous and they called a doctor and told me to go to the emergency room, about a 15 minute drive. So I went to the hospital, and the doctor said it must be from drinking bad water. I told her I havent had any troubles with the water and it was filtered, but then we realized that in Sikkim, in Gangtok, it is a hill station and the water quality is really poor, and I had water in a restaurant. Usually it only takes 3 hours for symptoms but in my case about 24 hours... I have never felt worse in my life! I never, ever want to be that sick again! But I am better now and taking some very strong antibiotics, which also make me feel nauseous. Mrs. Das was really nice, and they insisted I sleep at their house and made me eat, even though I didn't want to, and cooked special food that was mild. Then again today they insisted I come over for breakfast and lunch. So I eat back at the guest house tonight... I can't tell you how excited I am about that. I am having a good time here, but this bout with whatever it was has made me a little homesick, that's for sure.
Anyway, my next plans are to go to Meghalaya State to collection Passiflora perpera, I hope. We go on the 16th, flying from Bagdogra to Guwhati, then going to Shillong (BSI herbarium) then back to do field work on 17th, 18th, 19th and then fly back to Bagdogra on the 20th.
then, on 21 I can catch up with stuff, and on 22 we leave for Chennai. I fly from Bagdogra to Calcutta, then to Chennai. Then we stay there until 28th, and then I return to Bagdogra. Dr Das returns on the 1st, so I will try to move up my tickets for the 2nd to fly to Calcutta. Then I need to visit the BSI herbarium and then I'll be leaving Calcutta for Bangkok - Tokyo- San Fran on the third, i hope! I have to see if I can change my tickets, however.... the Indian and BAngkok flights are not a problem, but maybe the united airlines flights will be.
At any rate, I may be home on the third, at least its about 10 days earlier. This is contingent that everything goes as planned, which so far hans't really happened!
Thanks for your emails... I appreciate them greatly!