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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Farewell Tarija, Bolivia - moving on - my son is sick on the plane

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As we say farewell to our new friends, the hotel owners of Zeballos Plaza Hotel, there are tears in every one's eyes.
It has been a wonderful 2 weeks.
We have got to know them, and they have been so kind to us.

The last three days I have had gastro. It came on slowly with stomach cramps.
These came for two days until I finally was sick for a night and a day in bed.

We had booked our flights to go north.

Last night we went to the town square and found a poor family. 
We gave them toiletries and a bag of clothes and stationery too.
We had been able to buy wonderful new clothes at the market.
You get so tired of wearing the same old stuff when travelling, and boys are hard on clothes.
A big part of our trip is "Random Acts Of Kindness", so we save all our spare soaps and clothes to do this, and get a real kick out of blessing people.

So I was pretty shocked when about 1 hour before bed that night my son said his tummy didn't feel good.
Next thing I know he has dragged a chair in front of the toilet, and says he is 8/10 in feeling like throwing up.

Within minutes he was sick, and then it was both ends.

In the night he threw up all over the bed.
I had to wake the hotel owner to get old towels.
It was another night of no sleep for me.

He said he felt better when he woke.
I give him an anti-diarrhea tablet - just in case.

So when at the airport, it seemed fitting for the large Pope in the distance to wave us farewell.

 The desert hills were behind the plane as it taxied in.
It seemed no longer had it arrived than in minutes we were ushered on.

TAM is a military airline, so they stand guard as we get on the plane.

We had to pay excess baggage.
Our tickets were a super special.  They worked out as cheaply as two overnight buses.
I had read the road was the 2nd worse in Bolivia and it was a night bus.  No way - we had been on the 3rd worse - see our Villamontes Blog.
I also read they were old buses and freezing cold.

So onto the plane we get.
I am pretty proud of the photography my son took that day.
The sweeping clouds were so dramatic.

When we got on the plane, we were near the front.
It was half empty.
Yet we managed to get a woman next to me that was massive.
I had not organised my bags, yet she was pushing to sit.
Pushing because her stomach hung nearly to her knees, and she was too big for her seat.
So she blubbered over half into mine.
The flight attendants had a zero care factor.
They did not check who wore seat belts.
So I called the attendant, and asked them to get her a belt extension.
She did not like this one bit.
She seemed in a zombie like mode - dressed in traditional Bolivian clothes and in black.

As we took off the barren hills and incredible paths were below us.

Then the trouble started.

She farted.  Oh my - it was evil.
This went on every couple of minutes.
Now my son was having trouble breathing.
He says he feels sick.
I know he never gives warning.
I can't get to my bag to get a plastic bag.
There are no sick bags.
I call the flight attendant and she rocks up with paper towel - what?

Then it starts.
He vomits - and it is projectile.  Maybe 4 times.  It is all over the place.
Oh my - I just want to cry.
The lady next to me doesn't MOVE?  Zombie like she sits and I can't hardly move to help my son.
I call the flight attendants - they are up the back chatting.  Nothing.
I call again.  Travellers start beckoning for me to have help.
I ask the flight attendant to move the zombie woman to another seat.
She sighs and takes a good few minutes to extract herself.
I have no idea how she fits through the aisle!

NOW the flight attendant brings me a garbage bag.
My son is ill in that.
I get him out of the seat where there is sick everywhere and get him to the bathroom.
Just as I do the turbulence starts.
You have got to be joking.
He can't hang on and is crying.
The filthy toilet is un-flushed and has human waste on the seat.
So I pull the top seat down and plonk my son on that clean bit.
Poor kid is stripped off to his jocks.
Even they are wet.

I throw the soiled clothes into the plastic wrapper the flight attendant gives me from the roll of paper towel.

I then lunge my child to a back seat.
I notice there is a flight attendant sitting on the side - doing nothing!
Not seat-belted.  I ask her if we are arriving and she says "yes".

So my son sits in his jocks and lands.

I am now in a race to get our bags before they are stolen and just push my son and me through the people.
They part because - well he stinks!

I get him back and make him sit in the seat vacated by the "zombie woman".
My backpack has spare clothes for him, so he is fortunate.

Quickly we get off as half the plane is still full and about to take off to the next destination.

When inside the terminal I take him to the bathroom to wash him up.
It takes three goes to clean his hair.
I have a heap of plastic bags - I always travel with them - and can sort our stuff.

We race out to get our luggage before it is taken, but the good thing is they check luggage numbers off here, so it is safe.

We get to town.
I have researched a hotel and on arrival I think I have made a mistake.
I ask the rates.
They are miles higher than on the internet - this is a common thing here - I have read many reviews and even if you pay a booking fee on-line, they suck you in.

The nice reception lady shows us rooms and even my sick son says "no way Mum".

So she agrees to hold our luggage; gives us a map, and points us to the section where hotels are close-by.

We call into about 4.
My son says he needs Wi-fi.
But I tell him he may not get it - this is Bolivia!

We find a good one.
The owner is at the desk.
She cuts the price in half for us.
Wi-fi, breakfast, and a spotlessly clean room.

As we walk back to get our luggage, we pass the flower market.
I buy flowers for the receptionist.
When we give them to her, her eyes well up with tears.
She helps us get a taxi, and tells us to pay no more than 6 Bolivianos as we are going only a few streets.

When we get there the taxi driver refuses to give me change.
I insist, and a nice man stops.
He calls over the police man.
I then dig through my coins and give him the correct money.
I will tip. I will donate to the poor. But I will NOT get ripped off. There are morals here.

Just as we head in my son decides he feels ill.
So here we sit in front of a nice hotel with my son in the gutter as he doesn't think he will make the bathroom.
Fortunately the nausea passes and I get him upstairs.

The hotel sends up herbal local teas for him to drink.
Well they are Coca and Chamomile I think - and they work wonders.  
I add sugar and he says he loves it!

Behind the dated decor we find the room has fluffy white towel sets, crisp white sheets, lovely edge pillows, and a new mattress.  Ohhhh - and the hot water is endless. So we can both take a long shower, and I can wash all the soiled clothes (My best bathroom friend is my stretchy elastic hooked clothes line - a must for the Mum traveller!). 
The bathroom looks like a Chinese laundry!

A the mini-bar is stocked well, and I have crackers.  So we can nibble and recover well.
I ask room service for a bowl of vegetable cream soup for me.
It comes up - it is the size of a china kitchen mixing bowl.
I have enough soup for a week.
It is yummy, and is $2 total.

Next day and all is well.
We get cups and give out the soup to the homeless on the streets there is so much.
We keep spare bread from breakfast.
I will talk more about the poor in coming blogs.
There are beggars every 2 - 3 metres in the streets here.

My son is a little fragile but has bounced back.
It is NOT fun travelling with a sick child!

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