In the category of worst night ever, the nominees are:
1) November 2001 – Intense belly ache during an overnight flight from Yemen to Amsterdam, with a 6 hour layover in Abu Dhabi airport, voted second worst airport for a layover by some independent survey (for real, I’m not making this up. I don’t remember where the worst was, but I can’t imagine worse than Abu Dhabi). No place to lay down, rude people, metal seats and cold tile floor, all in a “mushroom” shaped building with dirty toilets, no foot, no water and armed guards at every corner. My God that sucked.
2) February 2004 – Somewhere in the Tunisian Sahara, staying with some “bedouins” who took Chuck and me to their shack in the desert. Because I’m a woman and didn’t want to sleep in a room with 15 sweaty, horny Tunisian men, Chuck and I ended up in the camel shack, with one blanket too small for the two of us, bugs crawling off the thatched walls and out of the sand onto us. No stomach ailment there, but very sore ass from riding a camel all day to get there. The shack stunk, we froze our asses off and the night went on and on and on. Somewhere around 3 am, Chuck and I found ourselves discussing in all seriousness if it would be worse to stay there or to try and cross the Sahara on foot to the nearest town, even though we had no idea where it might be.
3) March 2012 – Explosive liquid diarrhea in a “guest house” in the Indian Himalayas. The only toilet available was an Indian style pit toilet. It was too cold to go outside, especially since my shoes were soaked from trekking to that point in unforeseen snow. I was up all night burping rotten eggs and repainting the toilet. The room was filled with smoke because our guest house neighbors had a fire going in their room, but we couldn’t really leave the door open because one in my party was afraid “the bears would come into the room”. I was too sick to argue. I had to go every 15 to 30 minutes, which actually was manageable until another one of the 4 people in the room also got sick and that toilet had to be shared. The only redeeming 30 seconds of that night was when my sick friend, sometime after a particularly epic visit to our shared toilet, said to me very quietly and in a dignified voice “Your aim is terrible”. Laughter is always good medicine.
Who gets the award? I really don’t know.
I haven’t been able to keep much food in for a couple of days (actually, it’s almost a week now). The 10 hour drive each way to the Himalayas on narrow twisty bumpy roads also rates pretty far up in the suckometer, even though following the Ganga most of the way up afforded some pretty views. I would like to say the trip was worth it, either in time, effort or money. I never ever want to be one of those jaded people who cannot appreciate what is at hand because they are constantly comparing it to what they’ve seen before, but when one has flown over the Cascades in John Scurlock’s little plane, when was has in full good health sat at the top of Eldorado Peak, or slept on Baker, or partaken in any of the other Pacific Northwest activities I sometime take for granted … when all this, it’s hard to get impressed by some snowy peaks in the distance.
Well. I wanted to see the Himalayas, I saw them.
I am now back safely in Rishikesh. I feel “long” from all the weight I’ve lost. Even my tight yoga pants hang sadly over my butt. I was, however, able to keep a full bowl of fruit in this morning, then I met a lovely lady in the corridor who gave me some electrolytes, I slept a full night with only minor trips to the toilet. I’ll probably spend the rest of the day sleeping on the beach by the Sacred Ganga. I feel stronger by the minute already. All is well, all is well.
Actually, all is always well. Even on sucky nights, I would not want to trade my Bobcat life for anything else in the world. Even at the worst of it, I felt at peace with the ways of the world. Some days feel rough, others feel wonderful, but they’re still all part of the experience and I wouldn’t want to cheat myself by having only half of it.
Love to you all.
Ana, get that roast chicken ready. 🙂