Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Missing: Dignity. Last seen in Barcelona

I owe you a lot of pics and writing on Paris, Roses, Pamplona, trains, how not to break your camera, and maybe a million little tidbits in between (especially how I got a pic of the top of a bird of prey's wings!).

But I think this needs some discussion first.

So, New Year's Eve; two days before we're scheduled to leave Spain, we left Pamplona and took the four or so hour train ride back to Figueres, where Dali and Jaime were born (years apart). Jaime's family lives about 30 minutes away, on the Mediterranean, in Roses. The towns and region are beautiful. I think my love for the Navarre region that I acquired this year is nearly equaled by my love for the Costa Brava. Each is beautiful in its own way. And when I have the camera on me I will post more on this.

But we come back to Roses for New Year's when we can because Jaime's parents attend a gala party for New Year's eve that involves some of the world's greatest cooking along with some fun and dancing (which I do on my own because Jaime says he can't).

On the train ride, I realized my ear was hurting. It was bugging me all the way down to my jaw. So, after some prodding I asked Jaime's dad, a doctor, to look. He said it was the beginning of an infection and prescribed me some antibiotics to be begun immediately because I was flying in two days.

I hate antibiotics. I don't know anyone who actually likes them, but really, you have to be serious to get me on them. I had two whole sips of champagne on New Year's Eve because I took my first antibiotic that evening.

New Year's Day, we traveled to Barcelona, one of the loveliest port cities on the planet, and one we haven't had much chance to visit (been there twice and only for a day each time) because we were flying out the next morning. We walked the Rambla, which its name should tell you is the whole point of what you are to do. We bought some last minute gifts. We hung out at the bar in the hotel, eating patatas bravas (one of my favorite tapas) and watching a recap special on the World Cup. I'm in love with most of the Spanish team--probably because I knew from the start they would go all the way and they didn't let me down, though their looks help, too.

The next morning at quarter till butt-crack-O'-dawn we got up and I felt a bit heartburnish. I bought some mineral water (with bubbles) because it's got the same stuff in it that heartburn meds do, and figured I'd put the whole thing behind me.

Only it wouldn't go away.

Within the hour, we were standing in a mile long ticketing queue, because Delta wouldn't let us get early boarding passes. I turned to Jaime, "I don't feel good," I told him. He asked, "How?" My answer: "Kinda pukey."

Now, I am one of those people who would pretty much rather die than puke. I know. I know. You feel better getting it out, it's better to let your body get things out if it wants to, you never know if you have food poisoning, you may actually die. I've heard it all. To hell with it! I would rather die than puke.

We were nearly at the front of the queue with me complaining, and Jaime trying to keep me together when I grabbed the bag with the leftover sparkling water and part of a cake his mom had given us and began.

The bag had holes. But I didn't find that out until I came to, on the floor, with puke in my mouth and the sudden realization that if I didn't roll over I would choke and die. I rolled straight into the puddle coming out of the bag, and added to it.

And then I felt better.

I'd still rather die than puke.

Ok, I didn't feel completely better, just better enough to stand and tell the people staring at me I was ok and thank the woman who handed me a packet of tissues and refused to take them back. They let us get boarding passes anyway--don't ask me why. Jaime and I just knew they were going to tell me I couldn't fly. But we told them about the ear infection and the antibiotics.

We got our passes and I went to the toilet to clean up, change clothes and throw away my Salamanca University hoody (Damn!). And proceeded to the gate.

I spent the 10.5 hours on the plane flitting between the toilet and a semi-coma. That is after I showed the head  flight attendant my antibiotics to prove I was on meds and would live.

Little did we know. My ears are fine now, thanks for asking, but this had nothing to do with antibiotics or ear infections.

In Atlanta, as we were about to go through passport control (that post soon, too!), Jaime said, "I don't feel so good, honey."

Thankfully, by then I was mostly ok. Thankfully, too, his food poisoning which we think may have been a patatas bravas thing was far less acute than mine. Most thankfully, I have phenergan (promethazine) an anti-emetic at home because I take terrible meds that make me sick.

I made it to my meetings the next morning, but none too happily.

It's good to be home. It's bad to fly sick. And it should be better to puke than die.

But even though I know my dignity got cleaned up along with that puddle on the floor of a ticket queue in the Barcelona airport, I still say it:

I'd rather die than puke!