There is nothing quite as uncomfortable as being sick in a foreign country. I could not recommend this less, and it's a real shame, because I personally have been sick in many foreign countries. Blame on the change in environments, all the new people, the different food, the lack of United States style sterility, hell, blame in on the henny, whatever you blame it on, it always happens to me. Let's not go to far, here, because, knock on wood, I've never gotten anything really terrible and life threatening, but what I lack in severity I seem to make up for in volume, because I've gotten sick in almost every place I've spent more then a week. While I have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit in my short lifetime, there have been periods of said travels that I recall only as a haze of tissues, tea, and desperate searches for a translation of the word "antihistimine" in various languges. Not that that doesn't have it's charm.
Here in Spain I managed to last about 3 and a half weeks without getting sick, so, really, that just might be a record. However, this past Sunday as I walked down Calle Atocha I recognized that I could no longer ignore the fact that I could barely breathe through my nose and my throat felt like something had died in there. Super.
While getting sick in the comfort of your own home at least has the comfort of soup, tea, daytime television and more blankets then a dorm room in Minnesota, getting sick in a strange place while staying in a hostel is uncomfortable to say the least, and tragically free of trashy television. Moreover, I would advise all of you to be careful mixing decongestants with travel, and here is why: When you are traveling everything looks a bit off to you anyway, as, you know, it's all accented and European, or whatever, and when you add cough medicine into the mix, well, that's just a whole new ballgame, you know? Finding myself wandering aimlessly yesterday with no idea where I was or how I had gotten there was certainly a fun new experience for me, and one I wouldn't wish on my enemies.
Luckily, no one really noticed that I seemed to have no where to go or nothing to do because, well, honestly, spend a day in Madrid and you will assume that everyone is unemployed. For no reason that I can asertain at this moment, the denizens of Madrid seem to delight in standing around in public. Every square, plaza, street corner and parque has people just waiting there, passing the time, inevitably smoking, reading, sipping "Cola Lights" (EUROPE), and generally just doing nothing. Now, to be fair here, I have realized that a fair number of these people are, in fact, prostitues, in which case, it's totally clear for what they are waiting. But the rest of them, well, seriously now, what's the deal? I mean, they can't ALL be recent college graduates high on dayqil putting off real life by hanging out in Spain, can they? And if they are, well, I don't know, maybe we should form some kind of club. It's a thought.
I woke up feeling a lot better this morning, which is a good thing, because the closer it gets to the weekend here the later people go out at night, which makes for some awkward early morning conversations as I get ready to go to class and everyone around me is stumbling into bed. It's hard enough to speak Spanish with drunk French guys when you are sober, let alone hopped up on cold medication. Trust me on that one.
Leah Franqui is a fairly interesting person/director/writer/reader/eater/drinker. She likes ugly dogs and dislikes her hair in the morning. She's a sucker for environmental causes and plays hardball with deals on chewing gum. She is a struggle.