Wednesday, February 06, 2013


I opened my eyes, blinking twice as I tried to snuggle into my warm, borrowed bed and return to sleep.  I frowned when I could not, turning all my attention to my head and deciding that, yes, it did indeed ache. 

With a sigh, for my body has not served me particularly well on this European jaunt, I rose to acquire tablets, swallowing them with some Coke Zero I had leftover from my train journey.  I returned to bed for mere moments before hurrying to the bathroom to begin what ended up being about 120 minutes of illness. 

I have thrown up in places somewhat exotic, I decided.  Seoul, looking out over the Korean city as I dipped my head over the air conditioner to try to cool my fever-heated head.  Montreal, using the bathroom phone to beg for medication that would stop my misery.  And now Paris, perched in an adorable room with slanted ceilings and throwing up salmon tartare and gambas with risotto that I'd eaten to be polite the night before.  (French food is not my forte, I'm afraid.)

 The spasms would ease for blissful moments, giving me a chance to clean the bathroom and myself, to try in vain to swallow another tablet, before returning to misery until my eyes watered pitifully and sides ached mightily. 

I managed to alert my colleagues that I would miss the morning's meetings.  Finally was able to climb in the shower and wash.  Then tugged on the dress - forgiving and lightweight - that I'd planned to wear to the office and climbing back under fluffy covers to sleep fitfully once again. 

There is - for me - something visceral about travel.  Life reduced to the basic needs - to sleep and eat and breathe - while surrounded by someplace strange and wonderful.  That my body responds with sickness in some cases (5-10%, I'd estimate) should not surprise me.  Nor does it when my left calf cramps after carrying luggage a mile across Paris between train stations.  (Worth it.)  When I gulp (still) water with more appreciation than I'd have for the finest of wines.  When I'm dazzled with delight and subsequently felled by migraines and vomit. 

There is another constant - much as I love spending time here, sorting out accents and apologizing that I don't speak the local language - I'm always ready to return home. 

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