Lifestyle General Riding The Waves
Riding The Waves

 

Now that kids aren’t leaving home until roughly early middle-age, have childhood ailments evolved accordingly? I had assumed that travel-sickness was something ‘grown out of’ by puberty unless you’re foolish enough to have anything to do with boats. I now realise that there are some who are physiologically unsuited to leaving the sofa at any age.

Wardell-Wendy-Ms-cropped Mar14130x110 Wendy Wardell

Holidays with my daughter invariably include the sort of travel experiences that bring dividends for local pharmacists and lingering odours for unfortunate upholstery.

There are no countries we've visited that haven't seen the local cuisine returned with emphasis to its pavements. No hire cars delivered back to their point of origin without a piquancy to their atmosphere that even a forest of pine tree-shaped air fresheners could dent.

Siana’s now 18 and so far has been taken from one aircraft by wheelchair, having swooned on top of a passing flight attendant.

She has barfed into bags in the airspace above most countries you can name, and in tunnels below London’s river Thames.

The majestic beauty of the NZ countryside has echoed to sounds that would make Orcs retreat in fear and revulsion. There may be a call-up coming from Peter Jackson.

Ever the optimist, I thought she would grow out of it and that a cease-fire would eventually be called between her semi-circular canals and her digestive system. Wrong.

The first sign is often a common cold. I'm certain that for us, they are a suitcase-borne virus as colds are an inevitable part of travel preparations and bode ill.

On the morning of our last trip, Siana awoke with a cold, and in the usual groggy fashion of a teenager for whom a good night's sleep would, in other species be considered hibernation, headed to the kitchen, filled a bowl with cereal and stuck her face in it.

Attempting to medicate her in preparation for the flight was my first mistake. The effect of combining Codral and travel sickness tablets with juice and sugar was much like adding baking soda to vinegar. Siana went pale and ventured outside to get fresh air, resulting in the petunias being liberally crop-dusted with second hand orange juice and crunchy nut cornflakes. We hadn’t even started travelling.

With the reassurance that it was at least 'out of her system', we set off for the airport, having been offered a lift by a kindly elderly neighbour, Alan. While I sat in the front making polite conversation with him, murmurings from the back seat informed me that all was not well.

Customs-Drool220I quickly retrieved, emptied and passed back a small plastic bag from my handbag.

This was rapidly refilled accompanied by a full symphony of guttural sound effects as peristaltic waves slammed into reverse gear.

However, our driver was clearly deaf to Siana's Vomitorium in C minor, as our conversation continued on its chipper path without deviation or interruption.

This created a surreal state of affairs, as to me it sounded like Alien vs Predator was being re-enacted in the back seat.

I was loathe to draw Alan’s attention to Siana’s digestive dilemma, as he had already nearly driven straight through a red light even when his full attention was on the road.

I feared that his concern for the rear upholstery in his new car could quickly prove terminal for all three of us.

The back seat chorus abated but relief was short-lived as I was quietly informed that the bag was leaking. A file protector sleeve was all I could find by way of reinforcement and as I handed it back, the airport hove into view.

As we fled into the terminal with the additional liquid hand luggage, I thanked our kindly neighbour profusely and prayed that the small souvenir of the experience remaining on the back seat would also escape his attention.

By the time we boarded the plane Siana's condition had stabilised. At least until the engines were switched on.

Barely had we achieved cruising altitude when the flight attendants experienced a sudden flurry of demand from people in the seats adjacent to ours to please be moved to the rows behind the screaming babies.

Apparently in space no one can hear you scream, but at 30,000 feet they can definitely hear you barf.