A story not for the squeamish

Warning: Travelling in Vietnam with a weak stomach, no sick-bags and a slow thinking friend is a recipe for disaster, as Liv recently discovered.


When I travel, I tend to eat whatever I want, whenever I want from wherever I want. So, in review, I shouldn’t have been surprised to wake up the morning of our scheduled Cu Chi tunnel tour to find myself feeling somewhat sub-par. Reluctant to cancel the tour, my friend Jules and I head off, hoping the mountain scenery would distract me from my growing ‘internal discomfort’. 

By the time we arrive in the jungle my pain has increased so that I could barely stand upright. Extreme nausea forces me to follow the tour on my hands and knees. The next few hours consist of me crawling, shaking and sweating along the jungle floor, through tropical rain, accompanied by red centipedes the length of my forearm.

Little did I know that as we approach the bus, my relief would be short lived.  

About half an hour into the drive, head pressed to the cool window, I am hit by a wave of nausea so great even my iron stomach can’t hold it down.

“I’m going to be sick!” I hiss at Jules, “Get me a bag!”

Of course, we have no bag, and as the bus climbs a highway that barely clings to the mountain side, pulling over isn’t an option. Jules, typically smart in all circumstances except emergencies, begins unscrewing a full 250ml water bottle and attempts to drink the contents at record speed to make space for my oncoming ‘outburst’.

So, as calm and collected as I was (not), I slap the bottle from his hand and yell at him to grab the folder of plastic pockets we use to hold our travel documents, thinking one could act as a plastic bag. He grabs the folder, even opens it up and holds it to me just in time for a stream of projectile vomit.

There is a wonderful moment of temporary relief, quickly followed by a moment of horror as I realise he handed it to me upside down. I had vomited through the plastic sheets, onto my own lap, onto our bags and feet and, turning to Jules, I realise, on him as well.

A small commotion occurs as people begin to smell something strange, and our tour guide at the front of the bus stands up.

“I used to be a doctor in the war,” he calls down to us. “What’s wrong?”

Everyone turns to look at us, sitting in my own stew, and after an awkward moment of silence I call back, “I threw up.”

“Oh, I can’t help that!” He smiles and sits down.

No one else is smiling. Everyone looks at us and then, in horror, at their feet. I assume you have a firm grasp of the concept of gravity and taking into account the fact we’re driving on windy roads, up and down mountain sides, I’m sure you can imagine how the floor of the bus became painted in a matter of minutes.

Needless to say, the remainder of the drive is unpleasant, to say the least …

Who else has had a bad experience with food poisoning or a sudden virus? Is your story better or worse than mine?

Related articles:
Seven secrets to avoiding sickness
Six tips to beat motion sickness
What Aussie travellers most fear

Written by Liv Gardiner

Writer and editor with interests in travel, lifestyle, health, wellbeing, astrology and the enivornment.

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