Second Worst Vacation

For some reason, Mexico and I don't agree. I always got sick when I visited Mexico. Then again, I got sick when I visited Spain, Brazil, Portugal and Colombia (I lived there for a short period of time).

Writing this, it seems that I tend to get sick only in those countries where Spanish and Portuguese are spoken, my two favorite languages. But I did get sick for one day in India, my last overseas trip. This tendency to get sick rather puzzled me as I rarely got ill at home and extensively traveled overseas for decades. Even lived in France while younger.

At any rate, one of my girlfriends had a wonderful little house in Cancun and invited me to stay for a week. She had enough spare beds outside the two master bedrooms which habitually were filled to the rafters with friends from all over the country. It was an annual pilgrimage and I felt honored to join forces with these fun people.

I let her know my track record of getting sick in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries. My previous trip to Mexico ten years' earlier ended up in disaster as well.

"Cancun has purified water. You won't get sick there."

"You're talking to a woman who got dysentery in Madrid while dining at the finest restaurants."

At the hospital, the doctor said, "You do realize, Senora Maura that a thirty year old woman rarely gets dysentery. It's usually very young children or senior citizens."

Unconvinced, my girlfriend prodded me until I finally conceded. It took one hour after I disembarked from the plane when I got sick as a dog. In the gorgeous sunshine, I laid limp on a chaise lounge in front of the pool. Everyone else cavorted, drank, danced, swam and ate. The smell of food roiled my stomach and I sped post-haste to the bathroom. After the second day, I ended up prone in bed.

"Why don't you go outside?" she asked upon her return from the gym. She put on her bikini and said, "You might feel better."

My stomach lurched. "Sorry, Trish, I really don't feel well. Let me try to sleep some more."

"I got you some gatorade. Drink it so you won't dehydrate." She placed the bottle next to the bed. "I'll be at the pool with the gang if you need to find me. We'll check up on you from time to time, ok?"

I took a swig from the 64 oz bottle and within two seconds sped to the bathroom to purge my body from my major orifices. After the fifth time, I stripped butt naked and showered. And then visited the porcelain bus once again after another swig of gatorade. At the same time, I felt as if I had a fever.

That's when I considered my options. I could return to bed and then rise again to go to the bathroom. Or, I can lie down on the marble floor inside the bathroom where I can just lift myself up to get ill once more. I opted for the latter choice and passed out face down in front of the bathroom butt naked.

Minutes later, I was aroused by a shriek, "Dios mio!" It was the maid. "I thought you were dead!"

"No, I'm ill," I informed her.

"You should drink water and go outside in the sun. You'll feel better."

I got up and lurched into the bedroom. Inside, I put on my bikini, grabbed the gatorade and left the house to join my friends at the pool.

"It's alive," yelled one of the guys.

"Any better?" asked Trish.

I rolled my eyes and laid down on the chaise lounge. "By the way, I scared the shit outta your maid. She thought I was dead, lying face down butt naked prone on your bathroom floor."

"You better leave her a good tip," she advised.

Hours later, someone nudged me. "You're burnt to a crisp."

"Geesh," I said and took a massive swig from the bottle. My belly growled while I drank and in seconds, my intestines knotted. I raced back inside the house.

Days Three, Four and Five pretty much were the same except I itched from the sunburn. I declined Trish's numerous requests to go to the doctor. (I have no idea why not, but at that point, I was beyond rational thought.) Meanwhile, the gang ran around town, went out to dinner, danced at all the top clubs and had the time of their lives. Intermittently, Trish checked up on me.

"I'm sorry to be such a downer," I said.

"That's ok," she reassured me. "My neighbors and local friends kept asking about you. The two times you left the hacienda, they weren't there. They think I made you up as a goof."

Suddenly, the night of Day Five I regained my strength. The gang primped and got dressed up in their finest summer outfits to eat at a very high-end Argentinian restaurant.

"I want to join you," I insisted.

"Are you sure you're up to it?" asked Trish.

"I feel much better and am very hungry," I said. With that, I pulled my hair back, put on a sexy, clinging dress that swam loose considering I lost half a leg with the chronic bouts in the bathroom. We took two taxis because her neighbors joined us as well.

"You do exist!" they exclaimed.

"Yeah, this has been some vacation," I said. "This is even worse than when I had dysentery in Spain."

"Who gets dysentery anymore?" asked one of the neighbors.

"I did."

I felt strong enough to eat a little salad without any gastric clenches. However, right after I ordered my dinner, of all things, baby back ribs, my stomach flipflopped. I must've had a panic-stricken look because Trish asked from across the long table, "Are you okay?"

"I gotta go back to the hacienda," I let her know. I pulled out money and handed it over. "Please ask the waiter to box up my meal."

One of the guys offered to walk me to a cab. On my way out, the waiter gave me a giant bag filled with my meal. At this point I sweated bullets.

Once inside the hacienda, I put the bag in the frig, stripped off my clothes and holed up in the bathroom. I showered and went to bed.

Hours later, I heard bursts of laughter from the dining room. I crawled out. "What time is it?"

Seated around the table were the gang. I spotted empty plates filled with bones. Suddenly, everyone shut up. "It's four thirty in the morning," said Trish. "How you feeling?"

"Better. But I'm a little hungry."

Everyone around the table exchanged glances. Trish suggested, "How about something light, ok?"

"What're you guys eating?" I inquired.

"Pizza," ventured the guy who walked me to a cab earlier in the evening.

"I didn't know pizza had bones." With that, I took a piece of dry bread from the table, ate a bit and returned to bed.

The following day I felt much better. And only had a few hours before my return flight. While packing, I turned around and said to Trish, "Listen, I'm not going to eat that meal. Why don't you guys go ahead and enjoy it?"

She flashed me a guilty look. "We, uh, ate it last night."

"That explains the bones."

Of course, the moment the plane landed at LaGuardia Airport, I felt just as fine as when I left New York one week prior. The only difference was in the 15 pounds that I lost.

The following year, I accepted Trish's kind invitation to visit again.

"Do you really want me there? I was such a drag being ill and all last year."

"Actually, you made it interesting for us. You were a hot topic because none of my neighbors and friends down there believed you exist. It was an on-going joke. As well as your statement, 'I didn't know pizza had bones.'"

This trip, I intended to have a good time. Sure enough, the moment I disembarked from the plane in Cancun, I came down with an ear infection.

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This blog and all its posts are a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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