The asthmatic budget traveler

[editor’s note: this is a post in progress]

My husband and I recently retired from our Silicon Valley engineering jobs, and have settled in Malaysia. ‘Gecko Poop’ are posts about living in retirement and budget traveling in Southeast Asia.

Why ‘gecko poop’? Soon after moving to Malaysia, we discovered exotic geckos everywhere. But so was their poop. Geckos are good in that they eat bugs, but they’re also an indication that, well, you are living with bugs. Geckos and their poop are metaphor for life and travel in SE Asia.

The poop is everywhere in dashed expectations and inevitable setbacks. In all of this, it’s easy to miss the geckos. But if you keep your eye out, you glimpse the fantastic and experience vibrant life.

It’s easy to miss the geckos and see only their poop. Just like in travel, it’s easy to get hung up on the inconveniences, but if you keep your eye open for it, you may spot a sweeping vista or person being authentic and kind. These are the geckos.


On a scale from one to allergic, I’m orders of magnitude beyond the uppermost limit, clearing the ‘explosively allergic’ hash mark by hectares. The sight of mold, dust, unwashed linens, old mattresses,cats, dogs, horses, mildew, pollen, grass, hay and pretty much anything otherwise natural and good, sends my hackles up as I prepare for hours of snot-drenching throat-itching alveoli-wheezing dysfunction.

Luckily, we live in a time when numerous biological weapons are available, and I stock my arsenal with them all.  I start my day by deploying daily cluster bombs in the form of histamine inhibitors, aka loratadine.  It’s a preventative measure just to make sure the the local and hostile histamine worshipers don’t get any ideas.  And oh how I love the smell of monolukast sodium in the morning!  Just as lit napalm terrorizes the flesh, so does my monolukast antagonize all of those little bitches known around town as leukotriene receptors.  Take that immuno-response system!  Make all the stupid leukotrienes you want mo-fos… and then suck it, because all those stupid leukotrienes won’t have anywhere to lock on to after I’ve swallowed that little square pill with rounded edges.  Oh yeah, that’s right you jerk-offs, that pill’s real easy to swallow and guess what, there’s more where it came from!

If the enemy takes up position in my lungs, they can’t hide for long, what with all that tell-tale wheezing and coughing they can’t help themselves but set off.  For these mo-fo’s I’ve got my AGM-114 Hellfire missles aka  Levalbuterol HCl, aka Xopenex.  Those hostile beta2-adrenergic receptors don’t know what hit ’em when this broncodilator goes boom!  Yeah baby.  I could go on: I’ve got Nasonex, Qnase and Symbacort.  And oh, what is this?  What’s that sitting there in my pocket?  That’s right, it’s the nuclear option: predinsone.

I take this weapons cache with me every where I go – because there is one thing I’m sure to encounter when budget travelleing, and that is filth.  And along with filth comes everything I’m allergic to.

Here’s a post about couchsurfing in Banda Aceh Indonesia, where my arsenal came in handy.

2 thoughts on “The asthmatic budget traveler”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.