Old Lady Crappy Daks, Bung Leg, Duck Lip, Bad Sandwich, Choke on the Plane’s side trip to India.

Day One (Singapore-London, supposedly)

I boarded the plane at Singapore feeling very, very pi...(due to legal reasons, let’s say) tired.  I thought I’d sleep most of the way to London… yeah right!  Tried to sleep, meal delivered.  Tried to sleep, meal delivered.  After the third dinner for the day, second snacky meal and a goody bag for later, the crew left us alone to sleep…Well, left us alone to try to sleep. Not happening… I tried to sit comfortably with my eyes shut without annoying the eight people in my one metre radius.  For me an impossible task.  I spent ten minutes moving the seatback, arm rests, cabin luggage, tray table etc., etc. trying to get comfortable enough to fall asleep for five minutes before I’d wake up and start the process again.  Take note readers…Never sit next to me on a plane!  Anyway, after I tried the ‘head on tray table’, ‘seat back, legs straight’, ‘feet on arm rests in front’, ‘feet on head rest’, ‘feet on tray table’, ‘feet on footrest’ (took me a while to think of trying that one!) ‘feet on Chris’, ‘feet on Kirsty’, ‘feet in mouth’ and ‘feet around neck’ positions, I started again with the seat in the reclined position.  Nuh!  I just couldn’t get comfortable.  Ended up pissing Kirsty, Chris and Kelly (seat in front) off so much, that they devised a plan to get me kicked off the plane.  And would you believe it, they succeeded!  Here’s how the plan worked…

Kirsty and Chris pretended to be asleep, with their armrests up, leaning on me, so I’d feel guilty if I moved and woke them up. Kelly waited until I was in the ‘legs crossed on tray table, head on seat, upside down, half pike’ position (which has a difficulty rating of 8.9) before putting her seat in the fully reclined position. Not an easy position to come out of…In fact, I couldn’t if I tried!  The plan revolved around me getting Deep Vein Thrombosis, causing Qantas to land at the nearest airport. And would you believe it, it worked!  Yes, I am currently writing this in Delhi, India. You may have noticed that I’m typing in an Kirsty pretending to be asleepIndian accent.  You will need to try very, very hard to pronounce this accent asChris pretending to be asleep you read. I am thanking you for this.  Ok. Ok, back to the plane.  I got a weird cramp in a tiny muscle in the back of my leg, a few inches above my knee.  So, I’ve got this bloody agonizing sharp pain and I couldn’t move.  Well, I could flail my arms around, but that was it!  Two minutes of flailing and suffering in silence, so as not to wake Chris and Kirsty, and then…bugger ‘em.  I just rolled over top of Chris and into the aisle.  I stood up and tried to straighten my leg to get the cramp out.  Apparently this wasn’t the best way out of the ‘legs crossed on tray table, head on seat, upside down, half pike’ position (with a difficulty rating of 8.9) because all of the blood rushed from my head to my feet…whoa’ll. Dizzy…  Plane is spinning… were going down…  Going to be sick…  Get to toilet quickly.  I made it to the toilet.  No sick bags… doh!  I sat down with my head between my knees to get the blood back to my brain.  The toilet was around 30 degrees and all the oxygen had been sucked out with every flush since leaving Singapore.  This made it the most inappropriate place to go when feeling faint!  I lent forward to vomit in the sink and then…………

What the… I’m dead… No, I’m back.  Confusion.  Am I on drugs? Bad trip, very bad trip. Where the hell am I?  What is that noise?  Am I in a mental hospital? Why are there tiles on my face?  Shit!  (Someone missed the toilet) I was face down in the corner of the toilet cubicle.  I had a throbbing headache where I had hit the floor and there was skin off my knee where I had skidded on the tiles.  Bloody hell!  Oh well, at least I had some shuteye!

Managed to stand and staggered out of the cubicle.  Air steward was sitting just outside the door.  I told him I had just fainted.  He gave me his seat…great seat! He asked what had happened before that.  I told him I had a sharp pain like a cramp in the back of my leg.  He immediately went into “I’m a teapot’ mode and ran to find a doctor….What?  I just fainted, no biggy.  Oh well.  I sat in his great seat (lots of leg room), put my head down and tried to sleep.  Bloody doctors woke me up checking me out.  I got to lay down at the back of the plane…cool, I can really get some sleep now.  Tried to get oxygen too the mask at my seat but it wouldn’t work (That’d be handy in a real emergency!).  Decided to give me an O2 tank at the back of the plane.  Why are they making such a big deal of this?  The pain was weird.  I’ve never had a cramp there before… Although I don’t usually sleep in the ‘legs crossed on tray table, head on seat, upside down, half pike’ position (with a difficulty rating of 8.9).  I started to worry…DVT.  The thought had gone through my mind when I first felt the pain.  (Two weeks previous, same crew, same symptoms, woman died three hours after fainting with leg pain…thus the ‘I’m a teapot’ show!)

Day Two (India)

Next thing I know, we’re rerouting the plane to India.  Yeah, Baby!  I’ve always wanted to go to India!  The pilot did a big dump, fuel that is.  $200,000 worth.  Just enough so the plane wouldn’t explode on landing.  I vomited a few times to make it look like I was really sick…or it might have been due to the backwards and forwards movement as we descended through a cyclone over the Bay of Bengal after drinking how many bottles of wi…oops, water. Plane landed in India.  Smoke poured of the tires as we left two tracks of smoking, burnt rubber behind us on the runway.  I was stretchered off the plane on a piece of canvas stapled to two broomsticks, by two skinny little Indians.  How the hell the stretcher and the Indians held my weight I don’t know!  I was a little anxious as they passed me out the plane door, 30 feet above the ground.  Great!  Emergency landing for a cramp and now I die getting dropped from the plane.  Managed to make it safely to the runway…where I was eaten alive by mosquitoes.  Yep.  Malaria.  Great.  I’m not going to get out of here alive, am I?  Woohoo! DrGorgeous introduced himself to me.  Suddenly I’m very, very happy to be in India.  I was fine.  More than fine, I had only had a cramp.  Nothing wrong with me…  Chatted up Dr. G(orgeous)  Nothing wrong with him either!  He wanted to get my video camera from the plane to film the Bollywood scene we had created.  Apparently thousands of Indians had gathered around (2am) to see the smoking plane, ambulance, fire engines and bags being unloaded everywhere.  All this for a cramp! 

Got put on a stretcher with wheels and loaded into ambulance.  Waited for our bags to be unloaded and chatted up Dr. G a bit more.  He’s not married, loves Australia, would like to move to Sydney (So far, so good!).  He told me where I could get a passport for any country in the world (you can’t get that in Australia!).  He then managed to talk customs officials into not checking our bags.  I thanked him and offered to share my drugs with him.  Said he was a doctor and had all the drugs he needed.  Ambulance driver suddenly thought he should take off in a huge hurry (after we had waited for an hour for the bags to be unloaded and it was pretty clear I wasn’t dying!).  Ambulance Assistant was squatting at the end of my stretcher, with back door open as we took off.  He fell backwards out the door, just managed to grab hold of either side and pull himself in before hitting the tarmac.  Thank God!  I was picturing my stretcher rolling out onto the runway after him.  I really didn’t think I would leave India alive!  We managed to avoid hitting cows on the highway as we sped towards the hospital.  Pity! I could have had more time with my Dr. (Why didn’t I get my camera off the plane so I could take a photo!!!)

Arrived at the hospital with Michael and Alison…my worst nightmare began.  I faint when I small disinfectant because it reminds me of hospitals… and I have a real phobia of injections.  The emergency room reminded me of a 1950’s horror movie set.  There was a nurse mopping the floor with a bucket of the strongest smelling disinfectant I’ve ever had the displeasure of inhaling.  The bed had ripped sheets which had been mended, hand sewn.  A nurse put a leather tourniquet on my arm.  I started to panic…What the… No.  I don’t need a drip!  If I need fluids I can drink!  Stop!  Doctor (not my Dr.G.) holds me down.  Shit… Dodgy needle from rusty tray stabbed into the back of my hand.  Arrrggghhhh!   All four inches of metal pushed its way up the vein halfway to my elbow! Bastards!!! Pain, pain, pain…I’m going to faint……….. 

Wake up… where the hell am I?  Oh that’s right…HELL!  Bloody Hell! Looked at nurse…blood all over the front of her pornstar uniform.  Looked at floor… puddle of blood.  Looked at my arm…covered in blood from fingers to elbow!  I had ripped out the drip needle and half the vein in my hand.  Blood must have been spurting everywhere…cool!  Arrrggghhh! Bastards tried again.  This time in the side of my wrist.  Pain. Pain. Go away.  Faint.  Wake up. Feel sick.  Need a bucket.  No, I said bucket, not blood test!  Bucket… shit, more needles.  Oh yeah, why not test my blood sugar level with a prick in my finger…go right ahead.  Of course I don’t mind.  I’ve avoided having one of those tests for the past 30 years…go right ahead, I love fainting!!!  What? Can’t get any blood from that prick? Try again, please…Can’t you just use some of the blood off the floor!!! Bloody Hell!  Literally!

Meanwhile, Michael had signed a consent form on my behalf, allowing the hospital to perform any tests, surgery, blood transfusions, organ donation and oral sex (or did I just dream that) that they liked.  Great, I might be able to make myself $100,000 or so by donating a kidney or two!  Told Michael I’d only drunk four bottles of wiwater on the plane, surely that wouldn’t have had anything to do with my cramp, surely!  Apparently, it might have.  If he’d know that earlier we wouldn’t have landed.  Oops!  He immediately turned my drip up to full speed!  I could feel the cold fluid pumping through my veins.  The nurse was very surprised to find it empty 15 minutes later (rather than the usual 6 hours)!  Ok, to cut a long story short, I spent the day in hospital having test after test (Blood tests, X-rays, cardio echo, lung scan, vein scans, spleen and kidney scans.  Recovering from one faint just enough to be able to sit in a wheelchair and be wheeled to the next faint site dragging my rusty, recycled street sign, drip stand.  It was the worst day of my life!  Seriously! I honestly kept thinking that I was still on the plane dreaming a hell of a good nightmare.  I finally got out of hell, sorry hospital (I knew it started with h) at around 5.30pm.  Yes! I’m alive!  I appologised to Michael and Alison for being the worst patient ever… they have seen a lot and they agreed I was up there!  Michael had booked rooms at the Crown Plaza Surya…Luxury.  What a relief to get out of my blood and vomit encrusted clothing and have a relaxing bath! 

 Dr. G told me that India is a cun…oops country, of extremes, the mega rich living beside the unbelievably poor.  Yep, amazing sights.  Our marble palace of a hotel was surrounded by slums and rubbish piles which fed the sacred cows.  You had to talk between your teeth or you would swallow mouthfuls of flies.  Maybe this is why Indians talk so fast…to reduce the number they swallow.  Kids were playing cricket on every bit of free ground they could find, including the median strip of the highway.  When I told people I was from Tasmania the reaction was always, “Boonie” except for once when someone said, “Ponting”.  I guess they love their cricket!  Never a dull moment in India.  If you get a chance go there.  Whole families on one motor bike (and they don’t have small families!), kids swimming in festering cesspits full of rubbish (I’d shoot my dog if it fell in!), children deforming their bodies by breaking their fingers and burning their faces to help their begging businesses, scrawny rabid dogs.  Lots of variety in the olfactory department…incense, cow shit, rotting food, rubbish, curry, super heavy leaded petrol fumes…bllaaaaghhhkk!  Had Afgani banquet for dinner…great food (until the Delhi Belly kicked in).                                                 


Cows (The really white things…not Alison and I) helping themselves to food and drinks at a street stall.


Typical family on motor bike.


Cow with bleeding ear, eating rubbish.

Day Three (Delhi sightseeing)

I spent the morning with Alison and Michael searching for a husband in the Hindustan Times.  All ‘Brides Wanted’ and ‘Grooms Wanted’ ads were categorised into different regions, religions and occupations.  The men were all looking for fair (tick), well educated (tick), big dowry (tick, Dad owns a farm, lots of sacred cows) homely (doh!) women.  There was a disabled category… Intelligent, fair woman, 26, 165, 9000, (age, height, money) left eye slightly smaller than right, slightly polioed right leg, seeks husband. I rang all the doctors seeking brides just in case my Dr. G. had placed an ad…no luck! I wouldn’t be homely enough anyway!

 After my failed attempts to find a man, we went to the zoo.  Interesting entrance fees:

Children

Free

Adults

5 Rs.

Foreigners: Adults and children

50 Rs.

Physically handicapped

Free

Mentally retarded

Free

Video camera

50 Rs.

Alison and I thought we’d save $1.70 each by acting retarded.  Bloody Hot! Over 40 degrees and I wore my coolest clothes; jeans and black band polo top. I hadn’t packed for Indian weather.  Drank my three litres of water and then thought I was going to die of heatstroke.  The zoo was very interesting…like a ‘Where’s Wally’ book.  The grass was over 1 metre high and it took us thirty minutes to find the first animal.  Then we saw a huge crowd gathered around a stagnant pool on the side of the walkway.  I rushed over to see what the excitement was about… three tiny fish.  I was expecting alligators or something!  Obviously these people couldn’t find the real wildlife either!  Made it back to the hotel without dying of dehydration.  Bought a bottle of water at the hotel for 101 Rs. ($3.40). Then walked to a street stall and bought a Pepsi for 15Rs. (50c).  Felt ripped off! Bought shorts and t-shirt ($7) to swim in at the hotel pool.  Dove in.  Swam length of pool before being asked to get out for wearing inappropriate attire.  No t-shirts allowed.  Really?  I started to take it off.  Pool attendant wasn’t amused, so I got out.  Sunbaked by the pool, checking out blokes in speedos…what a life! 

Michael, Alison and I hired an air conditioned car and driver (he wasn’t air conditioned…he wasn’t hot enough to need it).  It was brilliant just being driven around Delhi.  The traffic is amazing, car horns every two seconds, cows getting ears ripped off by passing cars, people selling everything possible in and out of the traffic at the lights.  The drivers are maniacs, and coming from me that means they are bad!   I realized why driving in Melbourne is hectic…high Indian population!  I felt like I was in ‘The Amazing Race’.  We tried to see as much as we possibly could in a few hours.  We were just running from the car to look at each place and then back in the car weaving in and out of traffic to get to the next place as fast as we could.


Alison and Michael with a family we ran into at every tourist stop.


Me at the Bahai Temple, wearing my $3 t-shirt.

Went to a Bahai Temple, design based on a lotus.  Very tranquil.  Went to lots of other touristy temples and stuff.  Alison and I narrowly escaped arrest trying to scale the 12 foot walls of Hanoman’s Tomb which inspired the building of the Taj Mahal.  We arrived to find the entrance closed so we walked around the perimeter to see what was around.  We saw a couple of boys climb over the wall from the inside and decided we’d climb up and see the view.  We clambered over a huge pile of rubble and I helped Alison up to the first foot hold in the wall.  She climbed up and then helped me up.  Unfortunately security saw us up on top of the wall taking photos.  We heard them blowing whistles and yelling and saw them running towards us.  We got down pretty damn quickly… and had the bruises and grazes to show for it.  Being the only two white women in a park full of Indian cricketers wearing white skirts, we were easily tracked down.  The security guards demanded 500 Rs from us($18) or they would be getting the police to charge us.  Michael disowned us and walked away leaving us to deal with the guards.  We didn’t have any money!  We played dumb and pretended we couldn’t understand the accent as we walked very quickly to the getaway car, um, taxi.  We saw some police walking quickly towards us, but managed to get to the car in time and drive away.  We were very paranoid for a while and ducked down in our seats whenever we saw a police car.   Michael was totally unamused.  He pointed out that it had taken hours to get out of hospital…how long would it take to get out of jail…we have a plane to catch! Point.


Hanoman’s
Tomb (view from top of wall)


India Gate

Went to India Gate, 100,000’s of people, great festive atmosphere, lots of cool stuff for sale, henna tattooing, music, food.  Kids were swimming in filth (shoot your dog if it fell in sorta  filth!).  I dared Alison to get in…quickly changed my mind when I realized she would be sitting next to me for the next 15 hours or so with no chance of having a wash!  Der! Went to Red Fort for a quick look.  Decided we wouldn’t have time to watch the light show so we headed off to the Airport.


Red Fort

It was 9.15 when we arrived at the airport.  The plane was leaving at 2am.  Mental note: Nothing to do at Delhi airport!  I suggested to Alison that we would have time for a domestic flight to see the Taj Mahal.  She mentioned it to Michael who must have misheard ‘domestic flight’ as ‘domestic fight’ and started one!  Bit of tension about missing the lightshow…

But it was probably wise that we got to the airport when we did…Firstly, we lost one of the tickets.  Big panic… thought we had given this ticket to the Qantas rep at the hospital.  Check all hand luggage, no ticket! We had to get all our bags back from the plane as they had already been checked on.  Michael searched frantically and found it, after ten minutes of swearing we didn’t have it.  Then when I tried to get a boarding pass from BA staff, I found that my emergency landing story had got around!  “Was that you who was dropped off in the emergency landing?” I was famous!  Great…I was told that I wasn’t allowed to fly without a certificate to show I was OK to travel.  Unfortunately our bags had already been checked back on.  They had all the paperwork from the hospital.  Half an hour later our bags were returned to us from the plane for the second time.  But there was no certificate to say I was OK.  Staff wouldn’t take Michael and Alison’s word that I was alright.  It was now 11pm on Sunday night.  I tried to remember the name of the doctor… Found my hospital bracelet which had the name on it.  We rang him and he spoke to the airport staff who allowed me to fly.  Yay!  Now for another 12 hours of trying to get comfortable! 

Would you believe it, I made it all the way to Copenhagen without event.  Unless you call waking up, due to snoring really loudly, with your mouth open and drool running down your chin onto your t-shirt, eventful!