Saved by an Angel

Saved by an Angel

I promised Bubs that this post would be aptly named… yes, he was my angel because leave it to me to end an awesome 5-day vacation with a stomach virus that would render me utterly useless on a 12-plus hour journey home. Yes, we only went to Jersey and yet, I think it’s easier to travel to Shanghai, China than to New Brunswick.

Seriously, this trip was straight out of the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. First, we flew into JFK. I had researched an awesome hotel for our stay– located in the Flatiron district, just south of Times Square. My college roommate took the train up from DC, so the three of us met up and hung out for three days in our new metropolitan playground. NYC was cool, much better than I remember. We traveled all about, mostly by foot, sometimes by subway. I had forgotten what a truly populated city was really like. Sure, the city is dirty and ugly and muggy but there’s so much going on. I can see now why people who have lived there get bored out of their minds after they move away. Anyway, lots of good sights and good eats, including delicious pizza and superb Reuben sandwiches.

On Saturday, we headed down to New Brunswick. It was actually just a 50-minute train ride down. Where I went wrong was with the car rental. Rent-A-Wreck was the only rental shop open past noon on Saturday. When we got to town, the weather was shit: pouring rain. We got into a cab (apparently, cabbies in Jersey do not help with your luggage) and gave the address for RAW. Google Maps by the way, totally failed us. The cabbie got on the highway traveling south. We’re like, “Uh, the rental car place should be walking distance from here.” Back and forth… finally, we realized Google Maps was wrong, and the place was like 15 minutes away. Then we showed up, the office was in some junky, dingy basement. We got the keys to a Ford Focus. From the outside, the car was all banged up. Once we got inside, there were exposed wires, the parking brake was like pulled out of the socket, there were missing components on the dash, cigarette burns on the seats, totally nasty. Then we couldn’t get the trunk open. After fidgeting with it in the rain, I got them to upgrade us to the Ford Taurus– an equally certified hoopdee with replacement side panels that weren’t even the same body color! When John opened the trunk, he about knocked over– he swore he got a whiff of “dead body.” The car was filthy.

So then I was all troubled. John and my friend were like, “Hello, it’s called Rent-A-Wreck.” Yeah, but for some reason, I had interpreted that to mean a place that rented construction/demo/wrecking equipment in addition to normal cars. Anyway, that boat was a total jalopy, and it seriously had the grossest odor.

Thankfully, our hotel in Jersey was nice. The wedding on Sunday was beautiful. My Chinese reading went well. The bride’s mom came up to me afterwards with nice things to say so that was a relief. The wedding really was lovely.

It’s a shame my stomach started going crazy with the gurgling and the gas at the dinner table. The place only had one bathroom, and I was in that line most of the night. By the time the party was over, it started raining again. Nothing like feeling nauseous, getting drenched, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, and then climbing into a nasty, smelly, sticky car. By the time we got back to the hotel, I had the shakes big time, I couldn’t talk, and I was doubled over in cramps. I missed the after party and the morning breakfast.

On Monday, I was still super weak: nausea, headache, fever, chills. I felt like I was going through some addiction withdrawal. Then we had to backtrack to JFK: return rental car, cab to NJ station (the cabbie was on his cell phone, adding more minutes to his plan, writing on a notepad, and steering with his elbows all at the same time!!), train to Penn Station, train to Jamaica Station, AirTrain to terminal 4. And that was just to get to the gate! Then, 5 1/2-hour flight, shuttle bus to long-term parking, car to In-N-Out to home. Yeah, in retrospect a cheeseburger probably wasn’t the best thing to consume on a sensitive stomach…

When I awoke Tuesday morning, I was convinced I had contracted H1N1. Finally, we decided to see the doctor. She said stomach virus. Cause? Could be anything: touching someone else who was infected who didn’t wash his/her hands, eating contaminated food, an infected person sneezing/coughing on me, etc. She did say though, a cheeseburger was not the best choice for a sensitive stomach (but it smelled so good!). Yeah, apparently everyone else has the common sense I was lacking: chicken, rice, clear liquids.

When I got home, we read about the stomach virus further, and one of the most common ways of getting sick is FECAL-ORAL contact at some stage– whether it’s food prepped by someone who didn’t wash hands after going to the bathroom or whatever… and then I got really grossed out. Ugh, I can feel the nauseas returning just thinking about it.

John showed me some chapter in Alton Brown’s book on sanitation. On Wednesday, while I was at work, he disinfected the whole kitchen, tossed the sponges, soaked stuff in diluted bleach. The house was spotless. Haha, now I see Mr. Belvedere can really be full service if you gross him out enough about sanitation.

My body is still not 100% but thankfully, the weekend is here again. Plenty of R&R the next two days. And I’m already thinking about my next couple meals. Haha, it’s going to take more than a bout with the stomach bug to shut us foodies down!

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