05 October 2009

Normandie and the seasickness

Get ready people, this post is PG-13 for gratuitous diarrhea. But, before you gasp, let me set the scene. (Lindsay, the first part is about throwing up so you may want to skip that part)

I am walking home after a long three-hour law class ready to enjoy the fruits of the weekend. As I am mid-stroll, I spy a cafĂ© that has long since attracted me. The smell of waffles in this place is intoxicating and the presence of nice old ladies guarantees its a worthwhile stop. S, I step in and purchase, after a cursory menu glance, an appetizing sandwich with honey, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and apples. (To give you an idea of where this is going, I feel nauseous already ). I also bought a waffle and they both tasted excellent. Fast forward to the whole Furman group on the bus barreling– and I do mean barreling because this had to be the driver's maiden voyage on that coach– toward Bayeux. Six hours into the trip, I notice a sincere change in my stomach's constitution but blame it mostly on the nose-pickers poor driving. However, as I snuggle in between the sheets, I realize that I will not be sleeping tonight. With cramps that made me sympathize for anyone who experiences the menstrual cycle, I laid motionless in the fetal position waiting for dawn to break. Dawn broke and with it the vomit came. And by vomit, I mean seriously undigested food parts hurtling out of my mouth... and nose. Moreover, because I was apparently also dehydrated and the food was so undigested, the "leftover log" of that previously enjoyed honey and goat cheese sandwich STUCK to the back of my throat. Now, as I proceed to choke on this regrettable food mass, I realize that I must put my hand in my bily mouth and withdraw said lodged food item. I will not be eating sun-dried tomatoes for a while. After a few more dry heaves and about five tooth-brushings, I walked downstairs to get breakfast and join the group for our tour of the Normandy beaches. Well, breakfast, as you might already be thinking, was a bad idea and only popped right back out a few minutes later...in the hallway, outside of our room. I felt awful for the hotel staff. Probably because I could not justify that 8 hour bounce-fest along French highways without at least seeing the D-Day beaches, I convinced myself that all was passed and that I could continue with the rest of the group. Fatigue was the name of the game for most of the morning but I was able to check the various museums and beaches. After a lunchtime nap on the bus with sir-smokes-a-lot, we went to Point-du-Hoc, the only D-Day spot that still preserves the original shell craters. As we exited a urine-scented bunker, I fell to the ground and spewed whatever liquid and bile was left as the rest of our group and throngs of old people walked by, helpless-and thankfully not stopping to watch the show. There is nothing like vomiting into a plastic bag/ your clothes at the top of Point-du-Hoc to make you empathize with the D-Day soldiers.
Speaking of clothes, let me fast forward this narrative to its highlight. We are visiting our last stop, the American WWII Cemetery above Omaha Beach– which was both stunning and moving, might I add– when I felt that I was on the up and up. While still pooped (foreshadowing...), I was able to walk around and gain some perspective on the numbers of losses and the German advantage at Omaha. I walked back to the bus a touch earlier than everyone else and took my seat. As people began to file back into the bus, I began to get comfortable in the back row that was so kindly offered me. Right as I used a bit of force to scooch back down onto the chair, I realized that force had been allotted to a lower part of my body's inner turmoil... Yes, just as the day was coming to a close and I was preparing myself to climb back into my bed, little old "diary" snuck out for a quick "HEY!". So, I then got to squish over to the Cemetery bathroom, remove a few articles of clothing, and get back on the bus, simultaneously smug and disgusted.
I slept off the rest of the ailment and enjoyed day two of our Norman adventure, including a great visit to the Bayeux tapestry, but the thought of any cheese or tomatoes on a piece of bread gives me the heeby-jeebies.

My apologies for the lack of photos, but, given the subject matter, I can't imagine you would want any.


  1. David, I find myself in quite a quandary. Do I share this little nugget of a story with my wife knowing that it will be both shocking and appalling to her? OR do I appreciate the narrative for the purpose it has served me (that purpose being a source of uncontrolled laughter alone in my living room)? These are the tough decisions that define a marriage my good man. You could learn a great deal from my example in this matter. I will most definitely share this glorious account with Lindsay and will enjoy the horrid look upon her face as I read it aloud to her acting out each repulsive scene!

    Thank you David. Your brief yet extreme agony has given me an opportunity for an evening of laughter at the expense of my wife. While she will undoubtedly look upon me with pure hatred for a short while, I know that your Nauseating Narrative of Normandy will go down in Wantland Family lore as the one single story that pushed your sweet sister over the edge. Well said my friend. Well said. And thank you for your glorious word-smithing. (Note: word-smithing is definitely not a word. Ironic?)

  2. That was gross and yet completely hilarious. I feel guilty for laughing, but I feel that this may have been somewhat of your intention. Plus, this is yet another story of the digestive phenomena that you often experience.

    Oh, and I am quite excited to see you in a few weeks. Let us plan to keep the food delicious, yet without gastronomic excitement.

  3. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard. There are tears streaming down my face. Hang in there and avoid getting yourself into such gastronomic situations.

  4. Adam read my your post as i was eating a tomato and cheese pizza and i felt gross for the rest of the day. Thanks buddy.

  5. Every single time i get on here to check your updates I am brought to a wonderful place of joy and sympathy at these subsequent series of unfortunate events! you have the most outlandishly miserable tales to tell in the most entertaining of fashions...like adam and erika i am crying tears of laughter alone in my room! detailed account of body processes, why am i not surprised?? misssssss you! shelley

  6. So now you finally know how I felt at that Lake Highlands football game back in the day...

  7. some wonderful pictures in the other posts. the one with the horse is particularly spectacular. i am reminded of your statement that often we find ourselves thinking we are not cool enough to be friends with the people we are friends with. i said as much to michael already, and i repeat it to you. i can't believe my that you are a friend of mine. i am incredibly blessed.

  8. Eyemeeshewe.

  9. a story for you about travel & planesickness:

    senior year of high school i went on mission trip to peru. we had just gotten off the plane in the peru airport, and i started to feel terribly awful. i barely made it through customs, but i managed to throw up in the bathroom. feeling a little better, quite deceptively--i thought that after throwing up once i was done--i went to baggage claim.

    in the airport, you carry your bag to this spot, where you press a giant button (yes, a giant button) and it turns red if your bag has to get checked and green if it doesn't. so i'm praying that mine doesn't turn red...and i make it through. but just as i'm about to leave, i start to feel super queasy again.

    so, what do i do? run back through the restricted area (people are yelling in spanish that i can't go back through there), and throw up all over the middle of the floor in the airport in peru. i don't speak spanish, i don't know what the airport people are saying to me, and i'm crying.

    the evening continues with me throwing up in a plastic bag about every 13 minutes for a 4 hour bus ride.

    then, i got to sleep in quarantine. all by myself in a huge room in a strange hostel.

    needless to say, it happens to the best of us.

    i'm glad europe is treating you well!