Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Prepare to puke!

The joys of traveling on Asian buses

Last October, when traveling in Laos, I got a small yellow plastic bag after getting on a local bus. All the other passengers also got one - some even two. Did I just get a private trash bag?! Usually Asians traveling on public buses are not so tidy (they often throw their trash on the floor and during a stop the driver gets a broom and shoves everything out through the door. Works like a charm!), so I was pretty impressed. Soon enough I realized that the bags were not for keeping trash though. They were for puke! Not like the sturdy bags on airplanes, these were fluffy and more importantly, transparent! Was I glad to have taken my anti carsickness pills! The idea of people around me vomiting made me wonder if my stomach would survive the trip calmly.

Laotian bus

Please don't show me your bag!
So, during the trip I tried not to look around in case someone was in the process of filling their plastic bag. Despite this and the entertainment my iPod brought (on its highest volume), I couldn't help noticing that my neighbor across the aisle was having an encounter with her breakfast. Other women and a little boy were also vomiting now (while I was going "Lalaaaalaaa" in my head as hard as I could). The woman on my row then tied her full bag into a little knot and hung it on the handle on the chair in front of her. It hung there the whole way (three hours!) even though we made several stops. She enthusiastically ate lunch during one of these stops, but somehow did not feel the need to get rid of her puke bag. Yuck!

Vietnamese woman holding a plastic bag, which (fortunately) she only used for spitting. After a short stop, she had exchanged the bag for a transparent yellow one though.

And I won't show you mine...
Now, whenever I see these bags being handed out, or people bringing their own (?!), I feel like marketing my great Dutch herbal pills. Or any other car sickness pill, for that matter. The only time on my Laos trip that I ran out of my pills (panic attack!), I did indeed make use of a plastic bag (yes, a yellow one). The road was going up and down and the driver was not particularly subtle. Wow, that was not a very happy day... Since I did not want to be confronted with the content of the bag afterwards (nor confront my loved one nor the other passengers) I (*blush*) threw the bag out the window (to my loved one's discontent, I should add). I do apologize to any possible motorbike driver behind our bus (sorry!). And a free warning to the rest of you: in case you plan to travel on a bumpy bus, be prepared and take some pills in advance!

No comments: