Monday, September 1, 2008

In which I lose my breakfast and all sense of dignity

Oh, the day was filled with so much promise.  Clay and I were on our way to the isle of Grimsey,north of Iceland, which is crossed by the Arctic Circle.  This was my idea, because I wanted to be able to go to the Arctic Circle simply so I could lord it over others who hadn't been there. Because not that many people have. I have been to the Arctic Circle, HAVE YOU? 

Honestly, no one seems terribly impressed.

We got up super early and went to breakfast in the hotel, where Clay ran into Ruth from Iowa.  The elevator opened and out stepped Ruth from Iowa and her husband Bill, causing Clay to exclaim "Ruth from Iowa!"  He proceeded to chat with her and Bill as I tried to hold the elevator door open.  My bag got caught and I nearly lost an arm as I wrestled with the door, but old friends Ruth from Iowa and Clay were barely disturbed by this.  Except they weren't old friends.  Clay just happened to read her tour group distributed name tag out loud instead of in his head and was therefore forced to chat with her while I was nearly digested by an Icelandic elevator.  We eventually made it safely back to our room, sans Ruth from Iowa and Bill, of course, where we busted out the Dramamine for Clay.  I had purchased it before we left New York, because he told me he got seasick and had been the last time he was on a ferry.  

"I never get seasick," I bragged, "I only get a little dizzy, but I've never thrown up."  However, Clay's tales of vomit made me decide to take a pill just in case.  The last boat I was on was the ferry to Catalina, and that was in Southern California, not the North Sea.  I thought it best to be as prepared as possible, and it made me feel good to head off any possibility of throwing up.  

We found the ferry docked in Dalvik, which is on Eyjafjordur in the northern part of the country, parked the car and made our way on the boat. Soon as we got going, Clay and I went on deck to take pictures of the beautiful fjord and the mountains surrounding it.  

Oh, hey look!  Those clouds.  They were the precursor to the storm that decided to move south as we traveled north.  Clay and I were sitting in the cabin and I could see the increasingly rough seas were starting to make him feel bad.  Thank goodness I took that Dramamine, I thought, because I feel ok.  But poor Clay.  And then I got sympathy nausea for him.  Only it wasn't sympathetic so much as it was the real thing.  I decided I might feel better if I went to the restroom in the bottom of the boat, which was being rocked by waves.  I was so off balance I could barely stand up.  I went back to my seat and leaned over to Clay.  "I think maybe I should take another pill.  Do you have them with you?"  "Let me look," he moaned.  "No," came the answer.  "I left them in my suitcase."  Bad news indeed.  

Seconds later, I was puking into a trash can I had spotted earlier.  "I never get seasick; I never throw up" my own memory mocked me.  The woman who had checked us in on the boat appeared and offered me a bag and some paper towels.  Then she offered to take me out on deck.  "Let her help you, Liz," Clay whimpered, "because I can't."  She put me in a deck chair facing backwards and brought me a blanket.  I felt so humiliated throwing up in front of all of those people. I bet Ruth from Iowa wouldn't have been sick. Everyone else seemed fine.  Until I started looking around.  I thought the gentleman standing next to the railing was enjoying the view, then I saw him lean over the side and let loose.  A couple came outside holding the same little white bags the woman had offered me and sat on a bench looking utterly miserable.  I took a nap.  

Once we landed, of course, everyone was fine.  Clay and I started up the walk to the Arctic Circle.  The island was cold and wet, but still beautiful, filled with puffins and arctic terns.  I'd post a picture of them, but Blogger won't let me (0r, I don't know how to work Blogger is a more likely explanation).  We made it to the Arctic Circle and took photos next to something that looked like a burial mound, then headed back down the island to find some lunch.  

After lunch we found Icelandic candy, bought more seasick pills, mailed some postcards and then reluctantly returned to the boat.  As we boarded, Clay told the nice lady with the little white bags that he wanted us to take the smooth route back.  She laughed and agreed.

The trip back was beautiful - the storm was long gone, the sea was calm and the sun was bright.  I saw dolphins swimming alongside the boat.  It was so amazing that I leaned my head on the seat in front of me and fell asleep. We made it back to Dalvik and then Akureyri without incident.  Next time, I think I'll go by plane.

1 comment:

  1. this is my favorite part of the story:

    "Let her help you, Liz," Clay whimpered, "because I can't."

    because it was the truest thing i've ever said.