Tuesday, March 27, 2012

No beer? You must be sick!

I'm drinking my first beer in nearly a week.  Since all of the positive impacts from drinking beer stem from daily imbibing, I tend to drink regularly and moderately.  For me to miss a day--something is generally wrong.  In this case, I have a semi-severe respiratory infection. Not wanting a beer as my new standard for being sick (potentially replacing the old standard of fever induced leg cramps) was established on a trip to London during the winter of 2006.  

After Christmas, we headed to London via Amsterdam for a new year holiday.  I was excited--a week of drinking in the historic home of cask ales.  I felt great getting on the plane, but a couple of hours from landing in Amsterdam, I felt sick, ran to the bathroom and promptly left my Northwest cuisine in the vacuum toilet.  Ugh.  I hoped I was just airsick, but that was only the beginning.

We landed at Schipol airport in Amsterdam. While walking to our next gate, I simply threw up in the air in front of me.  Couldn't stop it.  I motioned I was sorry to the poor airport employee who witnessed my projectile vomiting.  Getting worse now, and struggling sit upright, I crawled under the seats at the gate because it was the only protected way to lay down.  

A flight, a train ride and a few minor incidents later, we made it to downtown London.  Desperately looking for our hotel so I could lie down, we ducked into what we thought was our hotel.  As it turned out, we were one door early and stood in a swanky lobby with marble floors and a doorman.  While Gloria was finding out at the desk that we were in the wrong place, I asked the doorman for a bathroom.  He politely explained to me in a nice British accent that the lavatory was for guests only.  I pointedly replied that I was going to throw up on his shoes if he didn't find me a bathroom.  He said, "This way sir" and I left a bit of myself in a top notch London bathroom.

Globe Theatre on the bank of the Thames
While I moaned softly in our room while watching the BBC, Gloria very nicely re-arrange our entire trip around my ability to get around, postponing any strenuous activities like climbing to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral.  Finally, on the afternoon of the third day while on a slow walk near The Globe Theater, my attention was peaked by a waterfront pub called the Founder's Arms.  I slowly sipped a Wells Bombardier.  Although it was not a stellar beer, it was a well served, cask ale in London and the start of several great drinking experiences on this trip before the new year.  

From a discussion with our school nurse and the sudden, explosive nature of my illness en route to London, I believe I picked a nasty bug known as a norovirus, often associated with widespread cruise ship illness in recent years.  Luckily, to date, this is the only time I've ever been sick on a trip.  Usually, when I retell the story, I end with the tagline "You know I was sick when I didn't have a beer in London for three days!"  

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