Care needed at the ‘Coffee Culture’ shops, where even the black coffee with ice has some sort of sweetener (sugar or syrup) added.
That cold sweat from stomach cramps. Glucophage or as a result of the water in Ho Chi Minh?
Not being sure of what would be available on the train to Hanoi (1700km and 36 hours), we stopped at Annam Gourmet Market for a picnic French-style meals of cheese, pate and nuts.
Trolleys of fast food and drink were constantly moving through the train. The coffee, shaved ice with some sort of coffee syrup, which we skipped. Settling for the occasional beer we could get at the main stops and plenty of water. Food was available a couple of times a day. Plastic trays with rice served with some sort of meat looking thing, a bit of green veg, sauce and Pho. One of the meals also had tofu, and pickled egg. Completely manageable if one avoids the obvious rice and noodles. Eat around them. The hidden sugars (from sauces etc) seem to be nominal and diluted.
High 6.6 mmol/L
Low 5.3 mmol/L
Beer. The double whammy of carbs and alcohol. Nectar after five hours of pavement pounding in the heat and humidity. Nothing that could compare to the iced coffee at The Coffee Factory, with its ice foam, which in reality was ice-cream, that slowly filtered its way into the black coffee, at which point I stopped drinking. The iced Jasmine tea, refreshing and delicious.
Scrambled eggs and bacon to start the day with a typical Vietnamese dinner at Mon Hue. Pho, with beef bits. Infused with lime, ginger, and chili flavours. Served with a plate of fresh green bits, which I ate separately and did not add to the Pho. I left the noodles and skirted the meat bits. Far too frightening to negotiate.
Water melon (less than 60grams) my new favourite.
36 hour train journey North next.
High 7.8 mmol/L
Low 4.4 mmol/L
Heading to Vietnam for the next six weeks.
First airport security check in George not at all concerned at my bag of needles, insulin and other bits.
I did expect that there would be some level of scrutiny at OR Tambo, and more so in Dubai, for the International flights. However, there were no alarms or questions.
The timing of my insulin jab needing a bit more thought with time zone changes and flight schedules.
The inflight ‘diabetic’ meals offered boiled fish, a tad bland. Broccoli and carrot colour spots. The bread and muffins seemed odd, however easily avoided.
Sugar levels a tad low. Nuts and low carb bars in the travel bag not quite making up for the missed meals during the journey.
Vietnamese food the next step.
Security training for working in conflict countries, a ‘Grab Bag’ is a mandatory item. This is your emergency survival bag that accompanies you everywhere.
Having been caught on a few occasions without my meds at the times I should have taken them, and not being able to determine my blood sugar as I didn’t have my meter with me, I decided that I needed to have a ‘Grab Bag’.
Carrying my camera, to capture ideas and inspiration for my paintings, meant that I already had a functional light weight bag (montbell) that was water resistant and comfortable enough to tote around with me. All it needed was adaptation to the life of a diabetic.
It’s soft and small enough to fit into my daypack, or into the tote bag for shopping so that I’m still only carrying one bag that leaves my hands free.
Blood-sugar meter, lancets and test strips
Glucose tablets and carb free snack bars
Spare needles for insulin pen
Diabetic emergency information card (doctors contacts, blood group, type of diabetes, medication, medical-aid details, emergency contact)