The other afternoon I hopped in the last minivan of the day leaving Chiang Mai for Mae Hong Son. As someone who got carsick on the 5 minute drive from the farm to IGA in Waterford, on a flat, straight road, the 6+ hours drive from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son via Pai, on a mountainous highway with over 1,000 curves, is an exhausting test of stomach control. Not only does the road contain a large number of gut wrenching turns, the minivan drivers usually careen through the mountains as if they are trying to place in the driver-from-hell time trials. Yet, surprisingly I’ve never gotten sick on this drive before. Queasy, yes, every time. Barf bags filled, zero.
Unfortunately my luck changed on this trip. I wasn’t expecting any trouble because I had an unusually courteous driver whose driving didn’t give the impression that he wanted to launch our minivan off a cliff, but just 50 km from Mae Hong Son I couldn’t contain the queasiness anymore and my stomach revolted. All I had with me was a zippered plastic bag that had encased a set of pillowcases I’d bought years ago and use to keep my assorted chargers organized. I quickly yanked out my chargers and emptied my stomach as quietly as I could, as I didn’t want to gross out my seatmates. I instantly felt better and thought, great, the rest of this trip will be a breeze now that my stomach is on empty. Well, my post-puking relief was short lived because after running my hands down my front I realized that the bag had several holes in it and the puke hadn’t been contained as neatly as I’d first thought. I had dribbles of barf from my scarf to my pants. Ok, that’s not so bad.
Then I felt a warm dampness spreading across the top of my thigh and realized the bag had a hole in the of corner it and puke was slowly leaking out onto my lap. I almost opened the window to toss the bag out, but was worried about the driver yelling at me and and I really didn’t want to litter. So I thought, oh, I’ll tip everything into the other corner, oh shit, the corner had an even bigger hole in it. So back the the original corner the liquid went and I pinched the leaky corner shut. Problem solved, right. Nope, I noticed the towel I had previously spread on my lap, to use as a blanket to fend off the arctic air conditioning, was slowly getting damper and damper too. After a quick assessment I found that the bag was also leaking from an even smaller hole further up the bag. At this point I didn’t want to risk getting sick again without a barf bag and decided there wasn’t much else to do but wrap the bag in my towel, gripping the bag closed at the top and pinching the corner tight, and hope it held up until I arrived in Mae Hong Son. After 50 long kilometers I emerged from the minivan a damp, stinky mess and, after dodging Tee’s hello hug and kiss with a quick explanation, I dashed off to the toilets to get rid of the evidence of my stomach’s displeasure with the ride.
What’s traveling without a story or two about puking?