life is very strange indeed

Published: November 16, 2005
Updated: November 16, 2005

We have just spent three days in Cambodia with Bianca and Emma wandering through the temples of the ancient kingdom of Angkor. I have many things that I want to write about tourism, hospitality, people, sights, grievances, all the normal stuff that comes from traveling, but we had not been home for more than thirty minutes when I received a phone call from Australia that made all of our experiences seem insignificant and our travel grievances very trivial.

On Saturday night, Dutchie’s daughter Belinda found her father in the midst of a violent seizure. He had collapsed onto the floor of his bedroom and was in the throws of a fit that had lasted for at least one hour. What has happened is that a blood vessel had burst in Dutchie’s brain just under the optic nerve causing a stroke of major proportions.

An ambulance rushed my old mate to Southport hospital where he has remained unconscious until yesterday when he was transferred to a hospital in Brisbane for an operation to try and stop the bleeding from his brain.

What irony life presents. Dutchie had made a commitment to undertake his English teaching certificate course and was determined to come to Viet Nam and teach English. He was so moved by things that he experienced during his month here with us and, like so many others have done, he fell in love with this place and its people while all the time rebelling against so much of what he was seeing and feeling.

Dutchie and Lisa having lunch during our recent trip to Nha Trang

I won’t deny that having Dutchie living with us for a month was a challenging experience and the two of us argued like cat and dog, as we have always done. Lisa and Bianca refer to us as ‘the odd couple’ because we will argue until we are blue in the face about nearly anything. But at the end of the day we love each other as only two friends of long standing can do and I am severely upset by what has happened. Dutchie has always been a big strong guy and I thought he was indestructible.

So I will write about other ‘stuff’ that happened to us during our recent travels, but right now it all hardly seems to matter.


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