Disclaimer: I am not officially diagnosed (what’s the point?), so feel free to disregard my complaining below and write it off as me being a giant wussy blaming my weakness on the little guy – mosquitoes.

I’ve held off writing about this for a while because family are always the first to read it and I didn’t want anyone to worry. Now that I’m sure I’m officially on the mend I’m putting it out there: Dengue bites the big one. For the last ~9 or so days I’ve been feeling pretty terrible. It’s been quite humbling in many ways I don’t want to tell you about, but the worst has been the body aches. My neck, shoulders, spine and lower back constantly hurt. I’ve never been hit by a truck or found myself at the bottom of a tidal wave, but in my mind I think the experiences might be similar. The pain in my eyes never really went away and the elevated body temperature wasn’t exactly comfortable in temperatures of 30+ degrees with humidity hovering around 80%. After this experience I’m not sure if I am pleased or disdainful of the naivety of continuing Buddhist ahimsa practices of not killing mosquitoes.

Good news is that today seems to be a better day! This morning was rough – really rough – but after my Spanish class I finally ate a real meal for the first time in the last 3 days, took a rest, then went out to swim – which is where my story gets exciting.

There’s a little island off the town of Flores and I decided to chuck myself in the water and swim around it. I just google-pedometered it and found that if I swam more or less straight (unlikely), it is just under 1.5km round trip. Not 6km, but an okay start. When I returned to my jump-off point in Flores I had no idea I would be greeted by a welcome party of 15 Guatemalan gentlemen who had been watching my progress. One man, Hector, came up to shake my hand, ask me if I’d been in the Olympics, and take my picture. As I left the dock various people smiled, gave me high fives and waves.  Flattery is cheap, but I lapped it up after feeling more like an elephant in an aquasize class than anything resembling a swimming, living (breathing) human. For the rest of the afternoon those that saw me swimming have  come up to say hello and share little confidences together. It’s Day 2 in Flores and I feel like I’m becoming part of the pueblo.