when Travel gets messy: (**)it happens

You know what? Sometimes it does not matter how well you have prepared, travel plans do not always run smoothly. People tend to not tell you this stuff, they gloss over the facts and seem to want to make out that their holiday was full of sunshine, lollipops, rainbows and unicorns. **it happens though, and India, for us, is a perfect example of this.

Let me begin by saying I LOVED India. I loved the colours, the sights, the people, the chaos, the scenery, the contrasts. And then things started to go wrong.

  • Arrived at hotel in Delhi. Somewhat of a dump. Mum, oh let’s call her Pam (because that’s her name) cried.

  • Hit the shops. Ah-maze-ing. Bargains everywhere. Decided to employ willpower and resist purchasing until return to Delhi in two weeks. Big effort. Nearly cried.

  • Sleeper train to Jodhpur. No doors to compartments, only curtains. No deterrent for local man hell bent on climbing into bunk with me. Cash donation to conductor solved problem. Slight inconvenience of squat toilet overflowing into corridor as we boarded. Good times, good times. Pam cried.

  • Arrived at hotel in Jodhpur. Not the one we booked. Realised mistake but taxi driver already gone with pocket full of commission. Pam cried.

  • Hiked up local track to Mehrangarh Fort as this adhered to our rather lax rule of be a traveller not a tourist. Big mistake. Walked through human excrement. Whilst wearing sandals. Oh joy. Saw alleged perpetrator on track ahead. Dressed in only a shirt and with dirty derriere. Pretty sure that’s our man. Pam cried.

  • Ventured into town and markets before winding way back to hotel. Not the only ones having bad day. Resident a few stories above street level threw open shutters to spew onto road below. Lady luck had us right in middle of bullseye. Direct hit. Word of advice – do not, I repeat, DO NOT look up if this ever happens to you. Can guarantee there will be more coming. Pam cried.

  • Glamping in Rajasthani desert. Luxurious tents- tick. Once in lifetime camel trek across desert- tick. Delicious food- tick. Max* feeling sick- tick. Max being sick – tick.

  • Had been expecting this since baptism by vomit episode.

  • Could soon hear my father John* and husband Peter* in same situation as Max. Knew I would have to listen to heated debate in morning as to who was sickest. Could also hear Pam crying.

  • Sunrise saw me running like deranged hysterical mad woman looking for camp manager. Through deep soft sand. Hard work. Was buggered after 20 metres. Wearing vomit stained clothes, had unbrushed hair and bad breath. Cried.

  • Van prepared with mattress for Max to transport to hospital. John and Pete claim mattress. Good one. Pam cried.

  • Max taken to hospital and placed on drip. Meanwhile doctor keeps consulting and examining other patients. In same room. Awkward much.

  • Max recovered. Continued journey to near border with Pakistan. Go on leopard spotting safari. Guides give us two baby goats. ‘Aww how cute’ we say. ‘Bait’ they say. Wait, what? Pam cried. Rose cried. I cried.

  • Not bait. Just lure. Does not work. Leopard obviously played this game before. Dark and cold and sick. Hours later give up and head for home. Two baby goats intact. See leopard casually sitting on rock next to road. Smug smile on his face.

  • Staying at old palace of Maharajah. Opulent to say the least. Dinner served. Everyone sick and gone back to rooms. Pete and I feel we should make effort as spread is huge. Don’t want to be rude. Struggle to keep eyes open and vomit down.

  • Silently pleading with Peter ‘please don’t ask what it is, please don’t ask what it is’. Telepathy skills not up to scratch. Pete asks. Answer is ‘goat’. Oh god please no. ‘In fact it’s…’ Do not hear anymore as have fingers in ears la la la la situation. Too exhausted to cry.

  • Invited into drinks room bigger than some small countries. Old sepia photos of maharajah with royalty and various dictators cover walls. Every type of alcohol you can think of available. Les, I mean Peter, too sick to drink and declines. Worst moment of trip for him. Peter cried.

  • Max, Peter and John sick all night. Back to hospital. Not enough room. Hotel rooms converted to hospital ward instead.

  • Max hooked up to drip. Notice lump in arm. Lump gets bigger. And bigger. Drip not inserted correctly. Big water balloon under skin. I have to remove drip. Feel faint. End up prostrate on bed next to Max. Crying.

  • Boys sick in bed and on bed. Busy changing sheets and towels and buying them new underwear. Lost count of how many times I heard ‘oh no, I’ve done it again’.

  • Room smells. Open window. Outside smells. Close window.

  • Max well enough to travel. Decide to get the hell out of Dodge.

  • Never did go back to finish shopping. New life motto – buy it when you see it.

As you can see it was a trip of good times and bad times, triumphs and tribulations. Is this the only trip where things have not gone to plan? Nope. Les has been detained by customs in Dar es Salaam, Zach had his arm sliced open in Egypt (fyi the hospitals are better there), we were questioned by armed police in Vietnam, just to name a few. Would we ever let the bad times stop us from travelling? No way. The good times make it all worth it. Would we go back to India? For me it’s a bit like childbirth – nothing you want to rush back to the next day, but time has passed and I am ready to do it again.

(* names have been changed to prevent possible embarrassment)

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