We Came ... We Saw ... and Yes, We Had Vomit

On Saturday morning we checked out of our hotel and began the arduous drive from Jaipur to Agra; playing chicken with other vehicles, herds of camels, cows, and bullock carts. It took us five hours down these long country highways ... some paved and some not.

A girlfriend recommended we perform guerrilla tourism in Agra stating, "It's a dump. Get in, get your photos, and get out."

We rolled into our hotel, dusty, hot, and road weary. We were hungry and we were tired. The hotel was adequate ... a little dated and a lot musty. It looked like they hadn't redecorated since the 70's with glass beading and dark wood. After a brief respit, we met our guide and headed off to the Red Fort, which is depicted as the most important fort in India. There the great Mughals lived, and where for over four hundred years, the country was governed. At the fort, as is de riguer for any major tourist site here in India, we waded through the sea of hawkers, pushing a multitude of sundry POS mementos probably made in China. As Matt and I hold diplomatic IDs, we were lucky enough to pay the 'local' admission price vice the tourist fee marked up more than 1000%. The fort proved interesting and it being late afternoon, the weather was bearable. We didn't stay long, just enough to walk through the 20% of it that was available for public viewing. Then it was back for a quick dinner and camera recharging; a chance to rest up for our big day... the pinnacle of our trip ... to one of the seven wonders of the world ... the Taj Mahal.

Now would be a good time to mention that during my in-laws entire visit, and especially this trip, that Grady was teething. In fact, he cut his first tooth just two days prior to our vacation, and is still working on the other tooth breaking through. This has caused many hours of fussiness, rashes, dirty diapers, and the frustration of four adults trying to calm an at times inconsolable baby. Additionally, Riley and Sheridan both had head colds that appeared to get worse over time.

So in true Perlman form, the ailments reached a crescendo and reared their ugly head on Sunday morning. Grady woke up twice... at 2 am, and then again at 4:55 am when he refused to go back to sleep. Matt woke up with a raging sinus infection that had him feeling like he'd been punched square between the eyes. And I woke up with extreme stomach cramps, so debilitating that I couldn't get out of bed. I thought it was my GERD acting up, though even after two extra strength Tylenol, an 800 mg Ibuprofen, and four Tums, it didn't let up. I was in pain.

But we were going to the Taj Mahal. The Taj M-frickin-Hall! I refused to let my stomach pains get in the way of seeing this monument, of reveling in the architecture, of ruining our family holiday card. I slowly got everyone ready, and by 9:15 we were out the door. A short drive to the ticket counter where we again got our 'local' admission price, and then into the golf cart we went for the 1 km ride to the entrance. During this time my stomach was spasming, and I was praying that with deep breaths and focusing on the surroundings, I could work through the pain and "get in and get out."

Unfortunately, none of it went the way I had planned. As we approached the marble archway thus revealing the Taj Mahal, the pain in my stomach hit an all time high, and I immediately doubled over in agony, unable to take a single photo. In the 100 + degree heat, I got the cold sweats, and knew that it was only moments before I was going to throw up.

I quickly handed the baby to Matt, along with the video camera, DSLR camera, and my point and shoot, and headed for a quiet space to do my business... which was difficult as there were thousands of people occupying every available square inch. Thankfully I found a place quickly... because I soon bent over and got to re-live the previous evening's dinner. While my MIL stayed with me to 'hold my hair', Matt, his dad, the guide, and the kids set off to view the Taj. However, it was a short trip as they all returned less than thirty minutes later overheated and drenched in sweat. By that time I was feeling somewhat better, just enough to attempt one family photo... though, it was so horrible that I refused to have it posted. We had to go.

I left the Taj Mahal absent my family photo, breakfast, or dignity. I felt like Clark Griswold in the movie Vacation where he visits the Grand Canyon for 2.3 seconds. How anti climactic.

We checked out of the hotel around 1 pm and made the long drive back to Delhi for our 8 pm flight to Chennai. Another long, arduous drive only to be followed up by a 3 hour flight. For four hours and fifty-five minutes, the car ride to the airport proved uneventful. However, as predictable as a fine Swiss watch, Sheridan turned to Matt and mumbled something about vomit. Having been through this drill before, we quickly produced an airline vomit bag and Purell hand wipes, only seconds too late ... as Sheridan's first heave was into her cupped hands before Matt could contain the rest in the vomit bag. [Insert eye rolling and four letter words mumbled under breath here.] By the time we arrived at the airport five minutes later, Sheridan was cleaned up, the bag was sealed, and we were more than ready for our final leg of this disastrous day.

As I drifted off to sleep last night, thankful to be in my own bed, my only consolation was knowing that one day I would find this story funny. With no holiday photo in hand, today just isn't that day.

The Red Fort

Views of the Taj Mahal...
... on the left from the Red Fort ... on the right from as close as I got to the monument


Robin said...

Oh sweetie, how miserable. How absolutely miserable. I can sympathize a bit - Thursday night found me lying in bed literally crying from the worst pain I've had since childbirth, and yup, throwing up too, and of course the very next morning was a huge 6-family camping trip that the kids had been looking forward to for months... I eventually pulled myself together and swallowed enough pills to make it through the weekend but spent most of it just sitting still or lying down, anything to avoid eating, drinking or moving. Not my best weekend by far, but light years better than yours from the sounds of it.

You may never laugh over this one but hopefully someday you can at least smile wryly.

I'd send you all get well quickly thoughts but I'm afraid mine might be toxic this week, so I'll just hope it very clearly, ok?

Mom24 said...

That sounds horrible. So sorry. I hope you're feeling all better.

Maybe someday you'll laugh. Maybe. :-)

Sara said...

I'm sorry your vacation didn't turn out the way you wanted.

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

I am so sorry. There is just nothing worse than being sick on vacation. We are at Disney right now, and Katie has that raging sinus infection. She slept 12 hours last night, and has already had a nap today.

At least we are slow on the uptake...and had not sent you Flat Stanley! Who needs that pressure?! :-) Unfortunatley, Stanley may have been a casualty of our water logged basement. I'll have to look for him when we get home!

Tara R. said...

I am so sorry you all couldn't enjoy your vacation. I hope everyone is feeling better.

Crystal said...

Oh Bugger! I had so hoped the remainder of you trip would be vomit free. Your Mother in Law is a dear to take care of holding your hair and helping you out. Family is truly a blessing, huh?
I have to admit, I think you will laugh about this someday. Isn't it ironic that after all that, you get to the Taj and puke. I hope you feel better and enjoy the remainder of time with your family!!

Tanya said...

Oh no- Sounds truely horrible! I have endo which makes for digestional problems that often crescendo to a peak 24 hours into a holiday and our oldest is thankfully mostly outgrowing a tendency for twisted bowel (although the twist can happen anywhere along the digestive track) which ends up much like your experience. The photo you did get of the Taj is still lovely though!

Michelle said...

oh my goodness what a day - and all that traveling too; that would have just done me in! I'm so sorry everyone was sick and that you weren't able to enjoy the Taj Mahal - how disappointing that must have been!

Anonymous said...

ok, I hesitate to say this for fear of being disrespectful, but most people that venture to the Taj (that I've met since being here) all just kind of roll their eyes when I ask them about their visit. I think it's alot of gorgeous architecture, alot of concrete and no shade and a LONG ass trip!

I'm sorry you guys had vomit added to it ... :(

(having said that, I DO want to visit before we leave ... how does one live in India and NOT see the Taj?)

OHmommy said...

Seeeeeeeeething with jealous. Seeing the Taj is on my bucket list. I swear to gawd we are for-going our mexico vacay this year and trying to make it to India.

Amy Amy Bo Bamey said...

Aw girl, so sorry you felt like doo doo.

My Hubby went to the Taj, got some good pictures and gave it all a once over. He said he did not care to go back though.

One Day you will be able to look back and laugh about it.

Anonymous said...

Ugh... How awful! But at least you can say you vomited at the Taj Mahal. How many people in the world can say that????

Natalie said...

"Guerrilla tourism" is going to be my new favorite catchphrase. I love it! I'm with Karen on the vomiting at the Taj Mahal thing. Here's an idea: an"I puked at the Taj Mahal and all I got was this lousy T-shirt". A green one, of course. Fabulous story.

Christy said...

Oh you poor thing! To think that YOU were the first one to get sick. Sounds like an awful stomach virus - ugh. Hope you're all recuperated by now and the baby is sleeping again. Teething babies are rough work.

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