i never really thought about how hard it is to fall asleep until i started having sleep problems of my own. when i go to bed at nights i'm definitely sleepy, but its easy to jar myself back awake it seems. it might be too hot underneath the comforter. i could suddenly have psychosomatic sensations of itching. i start thinking too much. any of these things can stir me back to lucidity, in which point i usually just turn back on the television and try to get sleepy again. last night i didn't fall asleep until almost 5am. 4 hours later i had to wake up and go to my travel clinic appointment.

they don't seem like they get a lot of long distance travelers, or at least not to that part of the world. i raised all sorts of flags with my itinerary through a lot of rural china during peak mosquito season and with the threat of avian flu a very real possibility. the doctor showed me a map of dangerous asian hot spots and just so happens they're all the places i'll be visiting. i don't know which is more dangerous (in terms of exotic diseases): southeast asia or southwestern china. i'm starting to think it's china because of the greater possibility of outbreaks due to the large population. the doctor even suggested i wear a mask and avoid eating food that might be unsafe. what a buzzkill! that's the whole point of going, to eat through china! i got my hepatitis A booster and my hepatitis B vaccination, one on each arm. i was also supposed to get vaccinated for japanese encephalitis but they didn't have any available so i have to come back another time. it was probably for the better anyway, since the encephalitis vaccine also required me to stay for an extra 30 minutes in case of anaphylactic shock (they haven't worked out all the kinks in the vaccine yet apparently).

i visited the garden this morning to water my wildflower seeds. i bumped into maddy, the woman who had my plot last year. she showed me the boundaries of my garden and griped about how it was really hard to water. i also met her friend ginny who also has a garden; ginny told me if i ever want any fresh herbs, i could help myself (she must've had 20 different things growing in her small plot).

i noticed it this morning but i had this throbbing headache on the right base of my skull. was this a migraine? it wasn't a sharp pain (almost like a nerve pain), but it definitely throbbed, which made it more annoying than just a continuous hurt. i thought maybe it was a stroke but i was still able move all my toes and fingers. then i thought maybe a brain aneurysm, but if that was the case, i would've probably been dead already. it pretty much comes and goes, and i'm not sure what's causing it, maybe my recent lack of sleep. also because of the hepatitis vaccinations, my arms felt sore and i felt really worn out. i tried to do some work but only managed to squeeze out a bit of productivity after a tremendous showing of will power.

in the late afternoon i went to the cafe briefly to drop off the external drive my father wanted me to test for him (i ran scandisk on it, it passed without any problems). i picked up some dinner at as well, and came back home - only long enough to retrieve my camera equipment and head out towards harvard square. i was surprised to see so many cops everywhere, and i almost got bagged for not stopping completely at a stop sign but the SUV behind me was the unfortunate target. i must've passed 4 different speed traps. then i realized what day of the month it was, and figured the cops were all out in force in order to meet their monthly quota. i parked the bike and walked around the charles river a bit (trying to find some night herons which i occasionally see when i go running) before returning to the globe bookstore to get a map of central china (the area covering the final few weeks of my china trip). back at home, i laid out the china map and tried to imagine my route, using mexican turtle ornaments i bought in cancun as markers.