Monday, July 28, 2008

Travel disasters: When things go wrong

I know it has been ages since I have posted on my blog. Unfortunately, the last few weeks have been very hectic, internet access has been erratic and I've had a few major dramas along the way that have spiced things up a little. So I hope that this blog explains at least one of the reasons for my lengthy silence.

When it comes to travelling the old saying, "hope for the best, and plan for the worst" rings true. Because, in spite of the best laid plans, things can and will go wrong. While most travel frustrations can easily be navigated around, as I recently discovered, there are those unavoidable bumps in the road which can quickly turn a fun, relaxing holiday into a stress-filled nightmare.

In all the years I've been travelling for work the most that has gone wrong has been a delayed flight or two and the odd case of traveller's diarrhea. (Mind you, I did once almost get arrested in Transdniestr for arriving at the border crossing half an hour later than I was officially allowed – but that's another story!). This time, however, not only did my luggage manage to go missing on a short 1-hour flight from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi, but, en route home I unfortunately got waylaid by a nasty three-day stint in a hospital in Jamaica after picking a severe case of salmonella food poisoning from something I ate in Cuba.

The drama all started the day I was leaving Cuba. Sitting waiting for my flight in the departure lounge of the airport in spite of searing outside temperatures I suddenly began to feel very cold, my head started throbbing, my stomach turned and I began to visibly shake. Not wanting to get stranded in country where I couldn't speak the language, I simply boarded the plane and buried myself under a blanket for the 2-hour flight back to Jamaica hoping that whatever was wrong with me would soon pass.

By the time I made it through immigration and to my hotel room in Kingston, however, I could barely stand. Still not wanting to draw attention to how sick I was for fear I'd miss my flight the next morning to the US, I thought that it would be best if I tried to sleep off my illness. When I woke up three hours later and realised I was getting worse rather than better, I finally decided to call reception to ask for a doctor. With no doctor available and the on-call nurse MIA, the hotel's duty manager came up to check on me, though, after taking one look at me he decided to rush me to emergency room of the nearest hospital. Luckily for me he did as by the time we made it to the hospital my temperature had reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit and I was verging on delirium. Needless to say I was immediately admitted.

Landing in hospital wasn't exactly how I envisaged I would end my trip (yes, that is a picture of the view from my hospital bed above), but I suppose I should consider myself lucky – at least it didn't happen at the beginning and stop me from enjoying the journey. What's more, I was so inspired by this latest [mis]adventure that I contacted one of my editors and have now sold three separate story ideas for a short series of articles on "What to do when things go wrong"!

So what are your worst travel disaster stories?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My God Kim, they've been talking about that here (first tomatoes then jalapenos) for the last few months, glad you're okay