Nine weeks and counting on the road, with not a sickness bug between the three of us to show for our efforts.
That has to be some kind of a record, right?
The 0.5 and I have concluded that there is a clear distinguishing factor between this trip and all of our previous holidays that were most usually notable for at least a case or three of dicky tummy.
That factor is alcohol.
With a baby on board, it is a hard fact that ones consumption of booze diminishes to around about the “negligible” mark.
A combination of having so far travelled through predominantly Muslim countries, being on a tight budget, and not being able to hang out in dodgy karaoke bars until 2am without getting accused of child negligence means that our boozeometer has really not got off the ground apart from the odd, relatively lame occasion.
It can only be for this reason that we have so far escaped the all-too-common tummy bugs that seem to afflict other travellers.
How unfair then that on the one night we have a reasonably debaucherous evening consisting of a cocktail each, a bottle of wine, 3 more cocktails each and a tin of beer for bed (Yeah, yeah, that used to be a media breakfast….) that I end up covered in sick the next morning?
After Malacca, we spent four days in Kuala Lumpur where despite a horrendous weather system doing its best to spoil our plans, we explored the historic district (including a rain enforced pit-stop at Burger King, where “The Boy” was whisked behind the counter to help greet incoming customers!), acquainted ourselves with the endless fake goods of Chinatown, and window-shopped in some glistening shopping malls.
At these malls we must have looked like proverbial street urchins peering in through the sweet shop window at the treats beyond our means.
Thank you and goodbye.
Having treated “The Boy” to a new pair of badly needed sandals, we were somehow able to do enough mental math to justify ourselves spending an evening out on Changkat Bukit Bintang (the central nightlife district), all courtesy of an unexpected tax rebate from Her Majesty’s Inland Revenue.
When the haze of morning arrived to a loud chorus of wailing, we realised we needed to pack our bags immediately and set off quick-sharp for the early morning coach to The Cameron Highlands.
Travelling with a hangover isn’t the greatest of ideas even at the best of times.
Doing so in high humidity and heat is clearly inviting problems.
Couple this with a journey which was to take us 1369 metres above sea level via a series of exceptionally windy inclines, and you therefore have a recipe for disaster on your hands.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m hardcore, I have way too much experience in dealing with the side effects of a big night on the town to let a few bends get the better of me.
The 0.5 however?
That’s a different matter. She’s got previous.
The best part of an hour into the ascent and she made it quite clear that “The Boy” was now entirely my responsibility and I wasn’t to speak to, nor disturb her on pain of death.
She closed her eyes to the world and concentrated on her breathing.
With every lurch of the VIP coach her cheeks became slightly less rosy and fractionally more jaded.
From inside my day pack, I dug out a carrier bag just in case.
Starved of adult interaction, I fed the boy, played with him and then a short while later attempted to work out why he had become progressively grouchy with intermittent bouts of crying.
The 0.5 has an innate ability to know what his cries correspond to, whereas for me it’s always a case of trial and error whose process of deduction usually leads me to one of a limited set of six possible solutions.
These are in no particular order: Food, milk, water, nappy, sleep, teething.
Teething was a nighttime issue. It could be discounted.
After waking part way into our journey, he had been fed and watered.
That was 5 from 6 possibilities eliminated.
Hesitantly I lifted his bum to my face.
Surprisingly, the sniff test proved negative.
I was flummoxed.
It was either a case of putting up with the crying and inflicting it on our fellow passengers, or disturbing the apparent state of hibernation the 0.5 had achieved and in so doing facing her wrath.
Looking into his clearly disturbed and somewhat frightened eyes, I chose the later.
A mean look and a snarl later, the 0.5 curtly announced, “He feels sick”.
“He’s got motion sickness”.
I look down upon my now colourless son and as I do so, right on cue, a torrential mélange of banana, mango, milk and pineapple projects its way out of his mouth and onto my lap.
Was it possible that this volume of vomit could have come from a creature so small? Clearly it was, as moments later, a second burst made its way partly into the bag I had by now fumbled open, and partly onto my t-shirt and the now not so VIP bus seat.
I mean, he hadn’t even touched a drop the previous night, the lightweight.
And to think that I wanted to go sailing with him when he was older.
What a big girls blouse.