Thursday, February 10, 2011

When Your Euro Trip Starts to Feel Like a Bad Trip

So let me say first of all that I love Spain. It's an unbelievably beautiful country, the people are all so nice, and I'm having a fantastic time learning Spanish and exploring the city that's still my home for the next three-plus months. But this was a fucking rough week.

We traveled to Madrid for four nights last week, from Wednesday to Sunday, making side trips to Segovia and Toledo. I loved the trip--it sounds silly but you can't help but be bowled over by how old everything is here. The aqueduct in Segovia has been there since Roman times and was only decommissioned a few decades ago. My dad laughed when I called Madrid a "new" city--only because most of the architecture is from the seventeenth century onwards. After a little time here it's easy to forget that they were building palaces in Madrid while the Pilgrims were practically living in mud huts. I visited the Prado, which was something I've been wanting to do for years, and it definitely was not a disappointment.

So throughout all of this I have kind of a low-level sinus ache/head cold. Which, whatever. I was perfectly able to get out and do whatever I wanted. Wasn't about to go run a marathon, but I was fine. But our last morning in Madrid, two girls from the group came down with a stomach virus, and long story short we spent five hours on a bus together and practically everyone in the group came down with either the cold that had been circulating or the stomach bug. Or you know, both, if you're me.

There is absolutely nothing like being sick to make you homesick. At a certain point you just want to puke in your own toilet and crawl miserably back into your own bed. My hostess Ana made a special trip to the store for melusa, a white fish that is delicious but definitely not what you want to eat on a queasy stomach. I didn't want anything to eat at all, but I had an aggressive Spanish matriarch trying to get me to eat fish in cream sauce absolutely insisting that it would fix me right up. I wanted my mom. I wanted to go home.

I didn't actually cry at the table, but it was a close one.

Another thing you don't realize--until you really need something, anyway--is that they don't have the same names for medicines here. I would have killed for Pepto Bismol but I had no idea if there was a Spanish equivalent or what it was called. Our profa Sarah recommended something called Primperan, which was supposed to help with nausea. Well, my roommate went out and got me some. Here are some of the possible side effects:

-Disminuacion del nivel de consciencia, confusion, alucinacion (Decreased state of consciousness, confusion, hallucination)
-Espasmos de los musculos de la cara, del cuello y la lengua (Spasms of the face, neck and tongue muscles)
-Problemas de coordinacion de los movimentos voluntarios (potencialmente irreversible) (Problems with coordination of voluntary movements, potentially irreversible.

This is something you can just walk into a pharmacy and buy, although to me it sounds like you could just inhale some lead paint dust and call it a day. I decided to take my chances with the puking.

Anyway. It was just a bug and I'm fine, but it was not a good time. On Tuesday I felt okay, so I went out because I wanted some fresh air and needed stamps and some girl stuff. Well. Let me just say that siesta sounds like a great idea to you but it sucks when you're puking in a Spanish Burger King because you've been forced to wander around for an hour waiting for the stores to open up again because they're all closed for siesta and all you want is some goddamn tampax. So yeah. That was my week, how was yours?

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