I hate that my first post from India is about food poisoning, but it’s sort of consuming me right now, so I don’t think I could really focus on anything else.
I felt the first swirls of discontent in my stomach when we were waiting to board the overnight train from Agra to Varanasi. Fourteen hours of rail travel, sleeper class all the way.
Jared had been feeling off all day, so he climbed straight into his top bunk and prepared a plastic bag, just in case.
I suspected things were about to get ugly.
I was right.
After an hour of sleep on the rocking train, I heard Jared whispering.
“Lauren,” he said. “Lauren.”
I grunted in response.
“I threw up,” he said, displaying an ominously full plastic bag. “I don’t think anyone heard me.”
“I’ll watch the bags,” I said.
As I waited for him to dispose of the vomit, I realized that I needed to throw up, too.
Jared pulled himself to the top and I frantically pulled my shoes on so I could climb down.
“I didn’t know what to do with it,” he said. “So I threw it out the window.”
“I can’t,” I said, clutching a plastic bag of my own and sprinting down the aisle.
Mildly curious passengers watched me go as I lurched towards the first sink I saw and vomited my heart out.
A kind Indian man showed me how to use the tap so I could dilute the stuff in the sink.
I came back, head hanging, cuffs of my pajama pants inexplicably soaked in urine.
“I threw up,” I said. “There’s pee on my pants and it isn’t mine.”
“I have to throw up again,” Jared said. “Watch my stuff.”
And so it went, tag-team vomiting for the rest of the night.
I’ve never experienced such a wretched train journey. Eventually, my stomach ran out of solids, but that didn’t stop things. We progressed from bile to clear stomach acid. We introduced diarrhea into the mix. We went through all of the plastic bags and all of the emergency toilet paper.
By the fifth trip out of my bunk, I gave up and just vomited in a corner of space between carriages, then tried to cover it up with the cellophane wrapping that covered the toilet paper.
All of this on a furiously swaying train with epileptic seizure-inducing lights on a sleeper car crowded with 72 passengers.
Apologies for the graphic descriptions; I’m not really sure how reading about this might help someone, unless you’ve experienced it yourself and want to commiserate.
That was two nights ago. Yesterday we drew the curtains and slept. Today we went out for two walks and felt like champions.
India. I’m learning that there’s no ‘gradually’ getting used to it.
It sucks you in and spits you out, but if one billion people live in this chaos on a daily basis, I’m sure we can manage three weeks.