2016 has been an overall gross year in general, but today I’m going to focus on my own gross travel moments. A few days ago I shared a post about my best travel experiences from 2016, but we all know we take pleasure in reading about other peoples misfortunes, so here we go…
Cruise Boat Sea Sickness
Last year, my worst of 2015 pretty much all focused on my ability to end up on boats pretty much every time I travel or do anything – and of course the inevitable sea sickness. So of course, I had to start my 2016 list with another terrible boat story.
Early in the year, Jacob, me and two girl friends went on a two week cruise through Papua New Guinea. It was awesome. It was amazing. It was one of the best travel experiences of my life. Until the last day. Now, we were pretty damn lucky that the seas were dead calm for 13 of our 14 days at sea. That’s a pretty good streak to be honest. It was only on the last day as we sailed back to Brisbane that we hit the tail end of a storm which had been lashing the east coast of Australia. Our cabin position didn’t help things – being at the front of the boat on level 4 made it so that we not only experienced the side to side rocking, but also the up and down crashing as the boat plowed through the waves. Even Jake vomited, and he never gets sea sick.
Somehow we powered through. Lying on the top deck and the pool gradually emptied itself from its own wave action, chowing down on sea sickness tablets, and trying to nap as much as possible. Sometime through the night things calmed down, and as we entered the Brisbane river we finally found peace.
All I can say is that I am glad that this happened on the last day and not on the first, as it would have set a very poor ambiance for the rest of the trip.
An Unfortunate Travel Companion
I don’t think I ever made a formal announcement, but people who know we well, follow me on social media, or have noticed the re-design of the blog will have seen that there is a lack of partner in my life. Daniel and I separated over a year ago and he know lives in another country. I’ve been living it up and enjoying life as a single mom, which to be honest, has not stopped me from relentlessly pursuing my goals in the slightest.
I certainly have not been avoiding the dating scene, and actually have a pretty amazing man in my life at the moment, but before I met him I tried my hand at dating and traveling with some others. Well they say you really get to know someone when you travel, and that is certainly true.
My trip to the Cook Islands for my 30th was a bit rockier than I would have liked it due to a very incompatible travel companion/ partner. I won’t go into details but let’s just say I elected to have many of my travel experiences with just Jacob and I in order to avoid some very negative company. But on the bright side, it reaffirmed to me that I can travel as a solo mother with no issues at all. Independent woman, hear me roar, and all that stuff.
The Worst Flight of my Life
My last overseas trip of 2016 was to the Philippines. It was amazing. Everything was amazing about it except for that various forms of transportation which were required. We wanted to explore a variety of places in this incredibly diverse island group, so of course, that meant a whole bunch of prop planes, ferries, and overnight buses. Now don’t get me wrong, I wanted to see all these spots, and accept that prop planes, ferries and overnight buses are part of the deal – but my super power of getting all the motion sickness all the time certainly made it a bit of a struggle.
But none of the ferries or turbulent prop planes were as bad as the epic bad flight home from Manila to Sydney. I won’t complain about getting motion sick on ferries, cause that is what I am signing up for, but I will complain about horrendous customer service, especially when it is on long haul international flights.
We were taking the 8 hour journey with a popular Filipino budget airline who I won’t name, but you can probably guess who they are. It was a red eye on top of that. Getting through the airport was bad enough. After clearing security, we knew that food would not be offered on the flight, and we knew that the food offered for purchase on board was not to our taste (after flying to the Philippines with the same airline). So we decided to stock up on goodies and drinks prior to boarding. Except we didn’t know that at the boarding gate, another impromptu security had been set up, complete with hand luggage and body searches. So at midnight, with a very tired 3 year old, we had to empty every article of our hand luggage to be inspected as well a submit to pat downs. Even Jacob got body searched. On top of that, they were making everyone throw away the water they had bought in preparation for the flight.
After rushing us through this process so that we could board in time, our flight was suddenly delayed, and we were all crammed into a tiny area with no seats to wait for an additional hour. Finally we boarded and we all tried to prepare for sleep, while the airline did what all budget airlines do, and cranked the aircon to the setting “Antarctica” and tried to sell us their $10 USD tiny blankets (of which they didn’t have enough for everyone).
Now I’m no stranger to budget airlines and this peculiar fetish for sub arctic temperatures so Jake and I were wearing all our warmest clothes. We also luckily had a whole aisle to ourselves which was a bonus. Eventually I got Jacob to settle and lie across the three seats and go to sleep. Hes a tall boy, so he took up all three seats. I then managed to contort myself onto the floor under the row of seats and tried to sleep that way. But even my warmest clothes were not enough to keep me from shivering.
I wasn’t sleeping well due to the cold so I went to check on Jake and noticed that he had wet himself in his sleep and had completely soaked all his clothes. I quickly took him to the toilet and pressed the call button to get the seats cleaned up. After 15 minutes, no one came. I started exploring the plane to find every single flight attendant asleep on the seats. I eventually managed to wake one girl who refused to help me clean up the seats, and instead just handed me some cleaning products and went back to sleep. I cleaned up the seats, stripped down Jacob, and went back to the flight attendant.
All our extra clothes were in the luggage hold, and Jacob was now 100% naked and shivering in the freezing temperatures. I asked the flight attendant for a blanket, and she asked for the $10 USD. I didn’t have any cash on me so I offered her my credit card, to which she sharply replied that their eftpos machine was not working and that if I had no cash then I could have no blanket. After arguing with the flight attendant for a while, I ended up back at my seat with a shivering and totally naked 3 year old. I took my own shirt off and dressed him in it, and we went the rest of the 5 hours with Jake wearing a singlet as a dress and me wearing a tiny cardigan which didn’t button up and indecently exposed me throughout the flight, customs, and immigration.
Plus it was hella turbulent as we landed. Worst flight ever.
Maybe if this particular airline didn’t waste all their energy creating tiny icicles in their cabins, then maybe they could afford to give a naked baby a blanket.