Monday, May 2, 2011

Car sick

We took a family vacation in Mexico last week. As part of the trip, we were planning to drive around to various points of interest in the Yucatan. The last time we attempted this kind of excursion in Costa Rica, there was -- naturally -- a considerable amount of drama.

We were starting to make our way back to the airport, which involved a long and winding road downhill from the Arenal volcano area. The kids were playing DS in the back seat, looking up at the scenery and grunting appreciatively whenever I pointed something out.

“Look guys! Coati mundis!”
“Wow! The volcano is smoking!”
“Up there! Quick! A toucan!”

This went on for some time, until suddenly, there was an extra loud “Hrmp” from the back seat.

“Is everything OK?”
“Mummy, my tummy hurts…”

Mr Berman and I looked at each other in panic. For my youngest son Ted, this is code for “I am going to vomit, just about now…”

There was no time to react. There never is. A hose of spew came roaring from the back seat. The jaws of satan couldn’t have done a better job. We were covered.

I turned around in horror. Ted was ashen, swaying, and sobbing. “I’m going to be sick agai….nrpaaarrrrrgghhhh.”

I blinked away the carrots.

“Pull over! Pull over!”
“I can’t pull over!”
“There is no ‘over’! It’s a (insert expletive) precipice!”

We careened around the corner, and spotted a little town in the distance. When we reached its lone store, we screeched to a halt. Mr Berman tore inside.

“Agua por favor – mucho agua!”

So far, so good. But his Spanglish was about to be put to the test.

“Kitchen rollio?”

Blank stares from the locals.

“Papier de cucina? Por vomitio?”

After much miming, Mr Berman stomped back to the car and we commenced clean up operations.

“The car still stinks. Can you go see if they have any Pine Sol?”

Cursing heartily, Mr Berman braced himself and headed back into the store. Several minutes later he emerged, sweating profusely, clutching a bottle of el bleachio. Apparently, his Spanglish had failed him, so he had been forced to mime out the scene to the entire town, who were gathering in the store to see what the commotion was about.

Of course, by this point, we were late, so late, for our flight. We drove like bats out of hellio, retching all the way from the smell. When we eventually got to the airport, we discovered that Ted’s passport had expired, so we would be unable to re-enter the US. But that’s another story.

I have learned that "relaxing" and "family vacation" just don't belong in the same sentence. You work your ass off all year to pay for adventure, and you get it, in bloody spades.

So I steeled myself for Mexico. This time, I packed my own kitchen rollio.

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