Name one place you never want to visit again and why. (Asked by spentgladiatornumbertwo)
The two cities that spring to mind are Nairobi and Jakarta, as I didn’t like either of them and then they both went and made me ill/got me hurt in some way. It’s a hard choice, but I am going to have to go with Nairobi. This is a pretty long answer, so don’t feel like you have to read it all. But you know, read it all. It’s interesting.
From Boxing Day 2008 to the 3rd of January 2009, my dad and I went to Kenya and had the most incredible time. We went to Samburu National Reserve and the Maasai Mara. Both were beautiful, awe-inspiring places with fantastic wildlife and wonderful people. Nairobi, on the other hand, was a total and utter dump. We had met a really cool American couple at the lodge we were staying at, at the Maasai Mara, and we arranged to go for dinner in Nairobi on our last night with them. We’d heard great things about a restaurant called Carnivore. It was a huge place, serving barbequed meat on giant skewers they would bring round to your table until you could eat no more. On the whole it was good. And then I ordered ice cream for dessert. That turned out to be a mistake that I would pay for repeatedly for three weeks.
We were due to fly back to London the next morning, getting up at around 6a.m. to go to the airport. I woke up about 3a.m. and I was so violently (explosively?) ill that I was worried enough to ask to see a doctor when we got to the airport. The airline then decided I was too ill to fly and that we were going to be stuck in Nairobi until I was better. At this point I just thought it was food poisoning and it would pass in a couple of days, but there was no way I was going to not get on the plane and go home. I demanded to speak to the doctor that had decided my fate WITHOUT EVEN SEEING ME, and they put me on the phone with her. Yes, the phone. She was in Arizona. I never understood why. I told her I was fine and that I had just been a big baby and that I was absolutely okay to fly home and that I hadn’t been to the loo since arriving at the airport. (Lies!) Whilst all this was going on, my dad somehow managed to get us upgraded to the first class lounge, so at least I had easy access to the loo. I wish I had been well enough to photograph the lounge. It looked like someone’s sitting room from the 1970s. First class it wasn’t, fabulous looking (for all the wrong reasons) it was. Plus, I wasn’t complaining. I had my own loo. This was vital.
For those of you who know me, you know I am the least active/sporty person you are ever likely to encounter. We had to wait about half an hour, maybe 45 minutes, from the time the plane took off, until the fasten seatbelts sign was switched off. I have never run so fast as I have when they eventually were turned off and I could dash to the toilet. I swear I broke some sprinting world records that day. And then I spent the next eight hours going back and forth. Of course, the crew noticed and I was so scared that I was going to get in trouble that I told them it was that time of the month. They seemed satisfied with that and brought me tea. My dad, on the other hand, was happy as a pig in muck, ordering wine after brandy after beer and every time one wafted past my nose, off I went again.
I decided to stay at my parents house for a few days when we got back - I didn’t much feel like being ill and alone in my flat. No matter how old you are I find that when you are ill, you just want your mum. She was great throughout. As was my sister. She was 16 at the time and on the Monday (we landed on the Saturday), she had a day off from school and went to the pharmacy for me. She came back with a coke, a Lucozade and some Dioralyte, which is a rehydration powder you dissolve in water and drink. Turns out my sister is a bit of a bully (I was being a baby, so totally needed bullying) and she made me drink the Lucozade and then made me a glass of the Dioralyte. I was forcing it down (blackcurrant flavour - ha, yeah!) and I had drunk about half of it when she said, “Er, Kasia, I don’t think you should drink the rest of it. Look.” And she pointed at my legs. I had come up in an angry looking rash all over my legs, my arms, my chest and stomach. So not only was I using the toilet every ten minutes, I was now reacting to something in the medicine that was meant to help me. Brilliant. I started to laugh. What else could I do?
Doctors advise only going to see them if you have food poisoning and the symptoms haven’t gone on the sixth day. So off I trundled. Had to give them a sample. Please don’t ask me how this went down. Suffice it to say, it was FUCKING DISGUSTING. They prescribed me antibiotics saying that it was very likely I had a tropical parasite in my gut and then asked me if I worked with children. “No,” I said, “but there are four pregnant women in the office at the moment.” She signed me off work for two weeks - apparently I could be contagious. So I had to go home and just sit in my room, take my tablets and hope for the best - because if I didn’t in fact have a tropical parasite, my symptoms would get worse.
Turns out I did have a parasite, I got better and I eventually went back to work after nearly three weeks off (after being on holiday for 10 days!) and then about three days after that, I went to New York for another 10 days. But that’s another (and much more fun) story.