1994 Holiday

Now with a short overseas holiday not so far away, I have been thinking about other trips I have been on with K.

Our first trip overseas together was in 1994 and we went for six weeks. We were to go from Melbourne to Singapore then to London. We also had a short trip to Denmark on the agenda.

Before we arrived in London we had a three night stopover in Singapore which was great fun despite the huge blisters I got on my feet from wearing pretty but useless shoes. Lots of people, rain and interesting food to sample. I bought a portable cd player for the princely sum of $400 and I still have it. Although I never use it.

We went to a place called Newton Circus (I think it is called that) where I ate a dish of chicken curry and rice washed down by warm coconut milk.

When I embarked on the plane that would take us from Singapore to London, I carried some extra baggage in the form of a food bug. However, it took about two days to actually acknowledge to myself that it might be food poisoning. The reason for this delay in self diagnosing was because my unsympathetic husband thought I was plane sick and attention seeking.

Once on the plane I felt ill and was unable to eat for the entire 12 hour flight. I was, however, able to visit the toilet at least 18 times. In between those visits I would vomit in the air bag or lie in a semi-conscious state with my head against the cool window. I thought I was air sick and was wondering how on earth I would get back to Australia at the end of my holiday as there was no way I was getting on a plane again if this was going to happen.

When we landed in London, my incredibly sympathetic husband said the following:

“What is your problem? 399 other people on this plane are perfectly okay and you are just being sick”. (Oh, he did live to regret those words).

Once in London we had to drop our luggage off to the hotel and kill time for six hours until we could book into our room. We managed to freshen up and feel a little more presentable after that long flight. I was still terribly unwell, pale and weak but determined to enjoy myself.

Now, my husband had lived in London fifteen years earlier when travelling the world and was going to show me all the great places to visit. The trouble is, when you revisit a town the memory of distance and the interconnection of different areas can get a little mixed up. This mix up resulted in us walking all over London to find Harrods. At one point I threatened to crap in a toilet if he did not get me to one urgently. Walking and having a seriously upset tummy is very, very difficult to do.

When we finally arrived at the door of Harrods, the only place I wanted to go was to the toilet. And I had to pay money. It cost me $5 to use to toilet but by that stage I would have donated a kidney to get into the cubicle.

K then suggested we go to Covent garden. We took the tube and, despite being unwell, I was able to enjoy the whole journey through the underground tunnels. When we disembarked, we then had to make our way up to the street. You could either take the lifts or use the spiral stairs. As there were so many people waiting for the lift K talked me into doing the stairs. All 150 or more of them. By the time I got to the top I was incapable of speaking. All I could say was “toilet – NOW”.

Perhaps I was imagining it, but there was an extreme shortage of public toilets and we had to walk for quite a distance before we finally found one. It was one of the first automated public toilets I had seen and was situated in an area buzzing with cars and people. I think that I may have had to pay to use it.

Anyway, I was sitting rather miserably upon the throne with my head in my hands for what seemed like a long time when I casually looked up to see a little sign that said “Warning, door automatically opens after ten minutes”. What the! I had been sitting there for at least eight of those minutes. I panicked and grabbed the toilet paper. It was double sided shiny paper and came out of a little unfriendly cardboard box one sheet at a time and I had to pull it out as fast as I could to get enough to do the job.

I just want to say this. Nothing is worse than wiping your bum with shiny toilet paper when you have been suffering from food poisoning AND you have to be out of the toilet in approximately 45 seconds before the door opens and allows the passing world to view your helplessness. I managed to make myself decent before the door opened. To top it off I could not get the tap to work or the toilet to flush. Apparently all that would happen upon my exit.

When I stepped outside I said to K that we had to go back to the hotel now.

Once back at the hotel K went out and bought me some Imodium with the thought that perhaps that would help my stomach. I took four of them with the thought the more is best.

Then next morning I was still unwell and we had to go to a Doctor’s and get a script for Lomatol. I was duly informed that I had food poisoning and was not air sick at all. The entire trip to the doctor’s and paying for the script cost us $360.

I took the Lomatol as advised. Then I took some Imodium as a back up.

I did not have a crap for the next seven days. Without a doubt the combination of those two drugs completely dehydrated my body.

I found it so traumatic that I ended up with neuralgia across the entire left side of my face which was excruciatingly painful and I had the urge to slap anyone who came within five feet of my aching face. That episode lasted for four days. Despite it all, we had a lot of fun and once I completely recovered the holiday took on a completely different feel to it.

But I have never eaten chicken curry since. And the smell of coconut milk makes me want to vomit even after 14 years.

15 thoughts on “1994 Holiday

  1. Awwww, that doesn’t sound like a great experience. I have my fingers firmly crossed that your next visit is a whole lot more enjoyable.I am amazed that you climbed the stairs in Covent Garden ungerground station, the way you were feeling. I have only done it once or twice and have subsequently decided to wait for the lift every time now..lol! Don’t be put off by the queue for the lifts as the actual lift carts are enormous and hold quite a few people, so the queues disappear quickly. (Next time you are in Covent Garden, you must visit the “Punch and Judy” Pub, go upstairs and enjoy a relaxing drink on the balcony, overlooking the shoppers and buskers below. They allow children there and it is a great way to take in the atmosphere).At least you can be sure that your next visit will not be as bad as your last…lol! I just hope that this horrible rain that we are experiencing at the moment has cleared by the time you arrive.Best wishes ~ Graham šŸ™‚

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  2. Graham: Looking back it was funny. And I may well climb the stairs again and race Ken and Stuart to the top (they can go via the lift) just to test my fitness. Thanks for the tip on the pub – child friendly is important when travelling. No such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.

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  3. How nice you have a holiday planned! Be sure and take your camera so we can get a glimpse. I have never been to London.I did have a trip to Jamaica that resembled your trip. The biggest difference was lots of tours buses with unscheduled stops.

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  4. Yikes! One extreme to the other – no fun.My very first trip to Mexico City was for one week. Went to eat dinner (don’t eat salsa left on the table!) and the next day to the pyramids. Fortunately, there was a great view of the pyramids from the window over the sink into which I was puking my guts. (Couldn’t get to a toilet, the line was way too long.) Spent the rest of the time trying to avoid standing up, if you know what I mean.When I came back to Mexico City to live for 2 months, I could eat anything, and even drink the water! I’ve had a cast iron stomach ever since.

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  5. Yes. It is amazing that there are almost no public toilets in London. I studied in England and remember the times when I had to run around looking for a toilet.Anyways, one time I suffered from food poisining. The doctor said that I should refrain from eating. I was starving. My friends sent me some flowers with a get-well-soon note. I sent them a reply note:”Thank you for the flowers. They were delicious”.Izzat

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  6. WOW! What a very challenging time you had in London! Stomach/gastric problems are the absolute WORST.You write about it with a sense of humour. NOW, at least.Climbing up those stairs must have made your urge to go to the bathroom even worse!I had to laugh at the scenario you described with the time-limit and the waxy toilet paper, though.

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  7. I’ve had that experience quite a few times. It’s especially painful when you’re traveling because there’s so much you want to see.It was quite an experience though.

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  8. Poor you!I just realized a few days ago that our trips to England will overlap by a couple of days, however we’ll already be out of London and in the countryside by the time you arrive. I’m looking forward to comparing notes with you afterward.

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  9. Mizmell: My camera will be clicking non stop. I actually will be bringing two – one for slides and one for digital.DD: My gut is the opposite of cast iron. I can vomit at the drop of a hat. I used to be okay – these days I am very cautious about what I eat. Old salsa – way to go!Izzat: Before I went to the doctors during the episode, I decided to eat a big breakfast of bacon and eggs thinking that would help (???). Just made things worse – what was I thinking? But I was so hungry – with not a flower in sight to nibble….

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  10. Cameron: Had I twigged that it was food poisoning I would have just stayed put, near a toilet. But because I thought I was just air sick (in hindsight how stupid of me) I just thought I had to walk it off and it would pass in a day or two. In fact, I recall my husband saying you could not get food poisoning in Singapore – go figure that statement! It still makes me laugh now when I think of it.

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  11. WHY are men so completely unsympathetic?? Then when THEY are sick, they want the world to stop. Please forgive me, but I laughed so hard at your descriptions. I have been there, but it was still funny to read šŸ™‚

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