Yak Attack

I’m soooo not a yakker! I’ve only puked two times in my entire life. Once when I was 4 onto our new white carpet, and once a few years back in Honduras when a 24 hour bug flew around the island where I was living. Neither time was the experience anything like what I felt on the train from London to Edinburgh…about that pre-packaged shrimp salad I picked up in the train station deli. Twenty mins or so after nibbling my salad, the tummy pain began. I spent the next 3 and 1/2 hours curled up in a ball on the floor of the train not knowing what was happening. At about the 2 1/2 hour mark, I made a mad dash for the bathroom and scared the crumb out of an unsuspecting child. You see the train had these high tech restrooms with fancy automatic doors, and the 8 year oldish girl was playing with the doors from inside when I jumped in. The door closed on us both as I clung to the toilet and she to the wall. Her mouth agape, she stared at me in shock until her mother retrieved her.


Steve (my fine new cycling companion) and I were heading to Edinburgh to catch the last week of the Fringe Festival -the world’s largest music, comedy, and theatrical arts festival (something like over 3000 acts perform at hundreds of venues throughout the city). If we were to go on bicycle to the festival, we would have missed it. So we opted for the train. My stomach pain and nausea were still full-on when we pulled into the Edinburgh train station. Given the intensity of the pain, I thought perhaps something inside had ruptured. First things first, it was time to check out a Scottish emergency room. Easier said than done getting to the emergency room. Steve kindly collected our bikes while I laid on the platform outside the train and tried to hold onto my cookies. We finally got to the station elevator, but it took too long as person after person loaded in. The door opened to a crowd packed outside waiting to get in. I pushed passed the bikes and people and narrowly escaped yakking all over the crowd. With no garbage can in sight, I had no option but to hurl onto the glass wall of the station. I helplessly turned and observed Steve staring at me in awe. “Bag! Find a bag please!” He snapped back to and dug one out of our bags. Then he was off to see about getting a cab (mind you we have bicycles!). We finally got me piled into a cab and off to the hospital.


Wow! Scottish hospitals are impressive! I rolled me and Steel into the waiting room. Almost immediately, the helpful staff were assisting me. Unbelievably, I was never asked for any identification nor any insurance information, before being ushered into a hospital bed. Soon after I was with the doctor and nurses, who questioned me and ran some tests. The Doc said he thought it was just a bad case of food poisoning and hooked me up with some meds that did nothing, and sent me on my way -in and out in no more than 2 hours! I was still feeling rather horrible, but fortunately Steve and I had already opted for an Airbnb (where people rent out their personal residences) to stay that night.


I felt much better after about 24 hours, but I pretty much laid low the next few days. Once I rallied, then we were “full on” checking out the Fringe. It did not disappoint. Two shows were highlights. No Blood, No Guts, No Glory, was an original theatrical performance about Muslim teenage girls who want to box, and it was set in an actual boxing gym. It was a powerful performance of acting, synchronized movement, and unique staging. We were encouraged to move throughout the space while the performance happened. The live music was played by a fellow tucked into a corner of the gym, who had computers hooked up to various exercise equipment that he struck to create the original score. My favorite performance of the show was The Tarzan Monologues -funny, thought provoking, emotional. Various male performers from Nigeria talked about different aspects of life from the male African perspective, and then would break into fantastic songs with tight harmonies and incredible dancing. The original score was probably the best I’ve ever heard, and unbelievably they did not have a copy of it for sale! The sound was like Four Seasons meets doo whoop, but add some African flair. These folks should be scoring Broadway musicals!


Okay…so now I’m back at my dissertation while staying at a very nice campground in Edinburgh on some former estate with large pastures and huge old trees. Cows and horses abound, and trails that meander through it all. The Stable Bar on the property is indeed a former stable and provides a handy-dandy free wifi connection.


This is the six month point of my cycling adventure, honeymoon, Semester on Cycle bicycle experiment, etc. That’s the amount of time I had allotted for this experience…so what’s next? I intend to disconnect for a bit, think and reflect, focus on my writing, and strategize about the future…I’ll keep you posted. Thank you all for joining me on what has turned out to be a rather epic part of my life journey.

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