I have discovered there is something annoying about writing a blog.
Unfortunately, if you write a blog, you have to make a vague stab at being truthful even when you’ve plumbed previously inconceivable depths of idiocy.
This blog should be about the Saturday I spent snorkelling with baby sealions and ploughing through dark and choppy waters to admire white-tipped sharks.
Instead, I suspect it will probably have to explain how I ended up in hospital with a doctor threatening to put a drip in my arm and keep me in overnight.
First, though, allow me some time with the calm before the storm.
Saturday was special, it really was.
The day dawned dangerously bright and sunny and I was up early to catch the 8.45am boat.
The captain was a legend – playing both The Killers and Lady Gaga – and he soon stopped the vessel in a stretch of pale green ocean.
I leant over the side and could see the white sand several metres below. It was the nursery for about 20 baby sealions.
Now, I might be naturally wary of these creatures (apparently they bite) but these pups were seriously cute.
They also seemed to like playing with tourists, powering towards the snorkellers before darting away and jumping clean out of the water.
When one baby sealion rushed at me only to exhale a small white shell in my direction, I swear I could have heard him chuckle.
Eventually, our guide, Renalto, lead us to a spot where dozens of marine iguanas were soaking up the rays on the rocks. It’s much easier to spot them from the ocean.
And soon we were onto Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock) and despite fierce waves, I managed to conquer my general fears and spot almost 20 sharks.
We had lunch on the beach.
I went home for my dinner.
We went out for a family bonding session at the island’s only karaoke bar.
So far, so normal. So brilliant, in fact.
Except I had realised I’d burnt my lower back and the backs of my thighs – that snorkelling danger area around your bikini – and judging by Pippa’s face, it was a beautiful colour.
She even helped me apply the lotion.
So, I stuck to the cokes and by 1am, I’d had enough.
I started to walk home before realising I was limping.
Even though I only had a 20-dollar note I hailed a cab and promised to pay my dollar fare the next day.
Drivers here never have change and he agreed to return to the house at midday.
Somehow, I managed to struggle up the next morning, shower and wait 30 minutes for him (he never did come back) before realising I felt, well, odd.
I collapsed back in bed and so began the weirdness.
A few hours later Pippa appeared and, through my trembling haze, I could see she was concerned. I suspect I wasn’t looking my best.
She was worried I had dengue fever so went on an hour-long walk around the island, bless her, only to find both A&E and every pharmacy closed. It was Sunday after all.
I resumed my shivering, hallucinating, fitful sleep.
I couldn’t handle any noise and soon I even lacked the energy to haul myself up in bed.
I couldn’t manage the smallest mouthful of water.
When Pam and Pippa came to check on me that afternoon, I could barely speak.
Later in the evening Joss came to see if I could eat something, maybe a slice of bread?
I tried to tell her the thought of food made me feel sick.
Instead, I was promptly sick. It’s not elegant, but it’s a good way to make your point.
“I think we better call Paulina,” she said grimly.
When Paulina arrived, she shook her head.
“If you need A&E on a Sunday, you bang on the door,” she sighed.
“Let’s go now.”
I will never know how I made it down those stairs and into Milton’s car.
I’m pretty sure Paulina was on one side and Joss the other.
My legs wobbled and stumbled like Bambi on a very bad day.
The journey and time spent in the waiting room were interminable.
At one point I groaned and nearly fell off my chair.
Paulina slung her arm around me and let me fall asleep on her shoulder.
I was so grateful for her kindness that I thought briefly about crying in relief, before I quickly ruled it out.
Even my addled brain was beginning to click that this was sunstroke.
It was entirely self inflicted – therefore, no self pity was allowed.
The doctor wore that look of irritated patience as she took my temperature.
She suggested to Paulina that I stay in overnight on a drip.
Now, surprisingly, I liked this course of action.
I had been unable to drink all day and the thought of just falling asleep – with that responsibility removed – was heaven.
Paulina vetoed it. I later discovered that no-one stayed at the hospital overnight, not even a nurse, so she was entirely right.
Again, I owe her.
The two women led me to a bed so a nurse could inject my hand with an anti-sickness drug, which would apparently help me drink again.
First, though, the three of them wanted to inspect the damage.
Now, I have not felt that ill in years. Ten years at least, probably more. I honestly cannot remember the last time I felt so utterly out of it.
But even in such a dark hour, my sense of humour is so perverse it does not desert me.
The thought of those three women, standing around, essentially inspecting my backside and muttering Spanish expletives was enough to give me a fit of the giggles.
I was too weak to laugh so I settled for a wry smile instead.
It froze on my face when Paulina translated:
“First degree burns.”
Holy Shit my friend – 1st degree burns on your ass – I’m feeling your pain – I’m laughing my ass off too but I am feeling the pain!! Now you can understand why I went swimming in my trousers in South Africa (OK it was mostly the thought of the catfish wriggling against my almost naked groin that also freaked me out but sun through water is a monster!) – Hope you’re doing better now – lots of lotion and rehydration salts and when the locals say nobosy stays in hospital you listen to then – glad to see. Hugs matey xx
Good gracious Vicki Dave, Sam and Geeza are going to have a field day reading this! You’ll probably get a whole new nickname from it and everything! Love lots and please, please take care of yourself. x
Mate – poor you! I am genuinely sympathetic. Not even the thought of your ass glowing bright red like a baboon is making me laugh. Oh no. All sympathy here . .
baboon ass – Ah Emma I have a great mental image now – i think I may even have a photo if we feel the need to hijack Stretch’s Facebook Profile Picture!!??
Like you know my password. Honestly, you two. All tea and sympathy aren’t you?! I hear the weather is getting better in Britain. You best be careful now!! xxx
ha ha – Like my butt is going to be on display long enough to get 1st degree burns in the UK – ah Stretch you crack me up!!
You’d have enjoyed the corporate games – A team finished 9th in the end (we woz robbed guvnor) and the B team even qualified for sunday playoffs too – happy days! Watch out for mutant turtles by the way!