Readers share more tales of travelling sickness
Marble to behold
In 2015, we were travelling with a very large tour group on a rugby/farming tour of South Africa. All was going well until the dreaded "Delhi belly" started through 72 travellers.
After watching my husband for 24 hours, I thought I was "bomb proof" and gaily went into dinner at a flash hotel in Swaziland, the Garden Court Umhlanga. It wasn't long before I felt the rumblings and said to my husband: "Get me outside quickly!" We didn't make it, so I vomited all over their foyer's beautiful marble floor with a very interested but caring staff trying to guide me to the nearest toilets.
It didn't help that I had partaken of a beetroot salad! There was a very colourful mess to clean up but the local staff were so compassionate, maybe they were used to it. I am enjoying the stories of others and their travel woes — you can never be too careful when in large groups.
Thank you for the Travel magazine — it's top shelf.
The Travel Editor replies : Thanks for your kind words, Olive. Two things: 1.) You never go full beetroot. 2.) The thing that posh hotels know about about marble is it looks classy, but it's also "easy-wipe".
Channelling your suffering
In about 1960, I was crossing the English Channel on a night ferry from Dover to Ostend. It was quite a blustery night but nothing to get excited about even in those days when ferries didn't have stabilisers.
Once past the breakwater and into a "slightly" rolling sea I went inside to try to find somewhere to have a bit of shut eye during the four-hour trip. There was nowhere inside that you could get away from the smell. I swear that every one of the 400 scouts who were also on the boat had had "greasies" for supper and had deposited them everywhere.
Must be crackers
Back in the 1970s, we were living in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, and had leased a copra plantation on the south coast of New Britain. Airstrip facilities were few and far between then, so our maiden voyage to our plantation was on a 23-foot jet boat that we had just bought. Small coastal trading ships plied the coast, taking supplies to the outlying plantations, and returning to Rabaul laden with copra or cocoa for processing at the local factories. Because we were in the marine engineering industry, we had heard from various skippers that Wide Bay was a notorious piece of water, prone to heavy swells, and part of a coral reef system that for size, rivalled Great Barrier Reef. Nevertheless, we decided we would take our jet boat for the 14-hour plus journey. As we were unfamiliar with the south coast, it had been arranged that we would pick up a plantation worker on the way, who would navigate us through the reef system to a safe anchorage at our plantation. Off we went, on our way, soon leaving Rabaul harbour for the wide open sea and ultimately our new plantation, many hours distant.
The first few hours passed without event, and then we picked up our navigator from a small village. Getting out into Wide Bay was worrying as it had a reputation for wild seas in a storm, and big swells at ordinary times. So there we were, fizzing along in the boat, and heading out across Wide Bay. We could see rain clouds in the distance, and knew that worse weather was coming. Into a rain storm, the sea was glassy, but with a huge, long swell, and so we had to slow down. My guts were starting to heave and rumble, and I felt as if I was going to be sick. I knew it was motion sickness; I'm not so good at some forms of travel, especially on boats. We knew that there was an abundance of seafood from the reef right in front of the plantation house, and had packed only a few basic supplies, Coke, beer and crackers among other things. So I grabbed the crackers and started munching… I'd have a few, things would settle, and then I'd wait for the next wave of nausea to start… munch the crackers again…
This pattern continued over the course of several hours. Out of crackers, we had eventually crossed Wide Bay, feeling much more comfortable, and searching for the anchorage at the edge of our plantation. By now dusk was falling, and it turned out that our navigator from the village didn't really know the coast at all. We kept inshore, and as darkness fell, were still looking for the plantation, and avoiding the coral reef and rocks within. It became a case of someone with a torch on the bow of the boat, and our progress slowed right down, backwards, forwards, reverse quick, to avoid the rocks that we could have so easily run into — all without the benefit of current modern navigation aids.
We could hear waves crashing on the reef, and I was seriously contemplating abandoning ship on a Lilo and paddling to shore. But which way was shore? My biggest worry was that we were going to hole the boat, and not being a good swimmer at all, I would probably be drowned and that would be the end of it. Eventually the decision was made to anchor, and wait for morning, to get our bearings again. With daylight we found we had to back track for an hour to where the plantation actually was.
With safety, came the realisation that we had to cross Wide Bay again on the journey home, and serendipity, the plantation trade store sold cabin biscuits, the antidote I needed to comfortably get back, and so I did!