Manila Vanilla

What it's like to be a U.S. Fulbright scholar, basketball player, journalist, and the whitest man in Metro Manila.

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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

New Yorker by birth, shipped across the globe to the world of malls, shanty-towns, patronage, corruption, basketball and a curious burnt-toast smell that wafts around at dusk

Friday, February 03, 2006

Sweet Dreams are Made of These

Headache, nausea and dizziness. Do you want these? N0, but you can probably handle them. Especially if it will prevent a life full of cold sweats and malaria fevers.

How about difficulty sleeping, anxiety, vivid dreams, and visual disturbances? Now I'm starting to feel queasy.

Will my anti-malarial dreams be heaven or hell?

I don't like vague side effects that can mean nearly anything. Difficulty sleeping and anxiety -- that's pretty weird. But vivid dreams and visual disturbances, what do those mean? Is there any way to tell? Are my vivid dreams going to be of lovely Filipinas like Heart Evangelista and Angel Locsin eating strawberries and playing badminton on the white sand beaches of Boracay? Or will they be of Gary Busey wearing a chef's hat and "Kiss the Cook" apron while boiling my cat Sparky (R.I.P.) in a bubbling cauldron while he smokes a girthy Cuban cigar and laughs maniacally?

Which will it be? Call me paranoid, but the CDC probably wouldn't be warning anyone about the dreams if they weren't more like the latter.

Don't go anywhere. As Sticky Fingaz said, "B-b-but wait it gets worse!" It's time for what the "serious" side effects (what does that make the hallucinations and night terrors?). Seizures, depression, psychosis and in extremely rare circumstances, increased suicide rates.

On the bright side, that line-up definitely explains why the freaky dreams and apparitions of Lawrence of Arabia butchering camels aren't included. There are some people who enjoy having freaky dreams and hallucinations. But I haven't heard of any new druggie trends that involve foaming at the mouth, swallowing your tongue or deciding to listen to the voices urging you to lather up with some kerosene and turn yourself into the human torch.

The best of both worlds. Lariam -- it's like having malaria and tertiary syphilis at the same time!

What is this wonder drug? Lariam, also known as mefloquine. It's one of a number of anti-malarial drugs you can take when you're going to be traveling to tropical regions where the disease is present. And guess what, if I'm going to fully enjoy some of the wondrous rural areas of the Philippines, I'm going to have to suck it up and see if taking the drug will have no effect on me or send me through the proverbial looking glass.

Lariam is effective against a few strains in Africa that have developed resistance to other drugs, but for the Philippines, it's as effective as Malarone, which has milder potential side effects.

While the chances are slim, if you're unlucky, Lariam is the only malaria drug that will make you feel like you have malaria and lose your mind at the same time. I have weird enough dreams already. Just the other day I nodded out while reading a magazine on my couch and all of a sudden I was watching cockroaches dance on my lap. They were making little circular movements with their long antennae and then suddenly they hopped on my face. I could feel them circumnavigating my face and head and I could see their silhouettes through my eyelids, but I couldn't get them off. Luckily, one of my neighbors stopped by to pick up a bill and woke me up. But I don't need some pill that's going to make dreams like this worse and/or more frequent.

I also can't figure out why my doctor prescribed Lariam over the other drugs. Various members of my family have gone to him for check-ups and general physician type-stuff for years. The man should have taken care of me. To his credit, he did tell me that Lariam had some awkward side effects, but he didn't sit me down tell me that a handful of people have had long-term neurological side-effects like impaired balance and fine motor skills. I need to play basketball, man! If I can't, I'll really lose it. I guess I'll still be able to play, I just won't be doing a lot of dribbling, shooting or threading the needle with cross-court bounce passes on the break. Instead, I'll just be stumbling up and down court, guarding an opponent who looks unmistakably like Foghorn Leghorn and whom only I can see.

Great. If you see me out on the court like that, don't do me any favors and pass me the ball. It'll just smack me in the face, and I'll run off chasing the man-sized, biped rooster with the southern accent who just clocked me.


Anonymous Greg said...

Sticky Fingaz is a saint. A saint, I say! It is a horrible shame that they canceled "Over There," where he excelled. And I don't think he'll show up on "The Shield" again.

3:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

angel locsin...dear lord, at least find a hotter filipina. hehe. when char said you had a blog, i HAD to google your name and find it. dont think i'm a stalker now. hehe. you should dedicate an entire entry to tony roma's, bubba gump, outback, and italianni's. just a thought. hehe.

-deep throat of philippine basketball =P

10:33 PM  
Blogger RafeBoogs said...

Excuse me for being careless in my choice of random Pinay pseudo-celebrities. I'm honestly not up to speed on who's hot and who's not. I'll be sure to consult an appropriate arbiter of taste such as yourself before making the same mistake.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous El Knobber said...

Malaria? Camel meat butchered by Larry of Arabia? Wait a minute--they got camels in rural Philippines? Water buffalo? How about tropical spiders? What do you take for those beauties? Lariam
sounds like it could be legal LSD.
So when do you eat this stuff? Before you get bit? Or after? And are people sleeping in mosquito nets everywhere? Or is it open season on human ass? I mean, for the mosquitoes, of course. Man, the Lariam/malaria issue opens up all kinds of angles & questions--not to mention the possiblity of being trampled to death in some human stampede over there in Manila--what's up with that?

3:07 PM  
Blogger Good Guy said...

Good info.

Best Regards

7:33 AM  

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