Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Bad traveler

Thanks to the forest and plantation fires in Sumatra, Singapore is shrouded in haze today. My body reacts badly to polluted air, the airways feel constricted and my head is heavy. I walk around in a daze.

I feel exactly the same way when I land in polluted cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong. I used to wonder why but now I know. While people can walk about unfazed by the smog, my breathing is affected, the brain seizes up and refuses to function properly.

Poor YK must have gotten it worse because he is asthmatic. Instead of enjoying a vacation in Hong Kong one year, the poor air quality left him breathless. He spent an entire day cooped up in the hotel room, recuperating.

That's why city-breaks never appeal to me. I would rather be amongst nature though there was another time I had hayfever while cycling in the French countryside. My nose was runny and I couldn't stop coughing. I didn't feel too ill but the discomfort mared the trip and made people alienate me.

I hate to admit it but I don't make a good traveler. While I love going places, I abhor plane journeys. I suffer from acute ear pain during takeoffs and landing, sometimes my entire head just feel like exploding. No amount of head clutching, nose pinching, candy sucking or gum chewing seem to help. I usually walk out of the plane with impaired hearing that lasts for hours. This condition seems to affect my well-being as well. I just feel weird the whole day.

That, combined with jet lag (sometimes), can take the joy out of traveling. I remember arriving in America several times feeling like a zombie. It took days for my body to acclimatise. Just when I could function properly again, it was time to leave.

Because of that, the people I had meetings with think I'm not very bright or quick witted. As if that isn't enough, I suffer from incredible itch on my legs, thighs and abdomen despite slathering massive amounts of moisturing cream on my skin. No amount of scratching will alleviate the intense itching, I usually end up looking like I have some kind of skin disease or disorder.

If I have a choice, I would try to avoid cold places. Or polluted cities. Or distant locations. Or too many stop overs. That's not being practical of course. How on earth can I see the world like this?

12 comments:

The Real Mother Hen said...

Actually travel books and visitors tend to over romanticize the pleasure of traveling. Long plane rides, horrible queues at the immigrations, climate change, living out of a suitcase in unfamiliar places, suffering jet legged, all are unkind, and now I feel so poor in the UK due to the currency exchange. USD is as useful as a cat flap in an elephant's house here! Unbelievable! :(

Blur Ting said...

Mh - You're quite right. I always look back and have fond memories of my vacations but the feeling is not really that exhilirating when we were actually traveling there.

You're also right about the immigration queues, flight delays and loss in exchange!! That's part and parcel of travel and we have to bear with it.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip. I do empathise with you about how expensive everything is when you convert back to your currency, that's why I don't buy loads of stuff when I travel.

Rummi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rummi said...

That's quite a handful of adverse conditions for u to travel, BlurTing :P

Tell u something most of my friends (who knew me as an ardent traveller after they saw me went backpacked for 3.5 long years), i completely dislike, even a little fearful, and will try to get away from having to fly as much as possible too!

k@Ye_ said...

I guess the awesome nature scenery that greeted us will take away the awfulness of immigration queues & stuff...

Nick Phillips said...

It's the same over here. The place looks so hazy that I wished it was a nice layer of mist instead of smoky haze. My younger boy is already affected by it ...

Blur Ting said...

Rummi - Wah 3.5 yrs! Lucky girl! I do miss home if I am away for too long, plus my body itches like hell...

Don't you wish we can step into a time machine or something and we're in the destination immediately without sitting in the plane for hours? I get nervous duringtake-off, I will chant and chant until the plane is flying horizontally again :-)

Blur Ting said...

Kaye - Yes, you're right!

Blur Ting said...

Nick - I heard it is worse in KL. Poor thing. I hope the haze will go away!

Rummi said...

Blur Ting,
Solution is teleportation. Now wheres Harry or Albus... ...

Amel's Realm said...

OH dear...sorry to hear about all this. Before I travelled to Finland for the first time, I thought it'd be so nice to have a job that includes lots of travel abroad...but now I know better than that. I also dislike going too far away...it's just so tiring.

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