Doom Smells Like Durian

It’s not every day that you realise you really, really don’t want to die.

For me, today was that day.

After worrying that we would miss our flight from the Nepalese mountain town Pokhara to Kathmadu, due to a layer of stubborn fog. We raced to the airport only to be put through a beeping metal detector (we didn’t have to take off our bags) and ushered one by one into a curtained room with ‘Ladies’ written on a piece of A4 paper tacked to the top.

Erin (my dear friend) and I looked at each other in fear. What would happen in that curtained room? Were they going to strip search us?

Erin went in first (feed the littlest person to the lions) and I didn’t hear any screams, so when “NEXT” was belowed into my face, I nervously complied.

There were two Nepalese women in the tiny curtained space and they guestured I open my bag. As I began to unzip said luggage, I was simultaneously felt up and down by various pairs of hands. I felt like I was back in Melbourne at a hidedous club where people paw at your breasts. Moments later I emerged feeling slightly defiled and a little flattered.

It was then that we realised it was 15 minutes past our boarding time. After worriedly searching for someone to ask (and finding no one) we resigned ourselves to waiting for a man in a yellow jacket to yell a number at us. He never called our number. Instead, we realised that our last chance to fly out that day was probably with everyone else, so we headed the stampede and got on a plane. Was it ours? Who knows. We had seats and that’s what counts.

Then commenced the most horrendous flight of mine (and I’ll speak for her) Erin’s lives. First, they handed out sweets which made everyone’s breath smell like baby diarrhea. They were probably durian flavoured.

The Durian Tagline: "smells like toilet, tastes like dream"
The Durian Tagline: “smells like toilet, tastes like dream”

That was when the turbulence started.

I don’t know about you, but when I fly I try to forget that I am essentially in a shipping container with wings. This is a lot harder to do when that shipping container is being buffeted by winds that makes it seem like a tiny piece of flotsam on the high seas.

I was scared. I actually started thinking about how my parents would find out about my death. Finding my body parts strewn across the Himalaya’s… I was gripping the arm rests with both hands and my knuckles were white. Some one screamed.

It was then that I realised another life changing thing about myself. (Oh the things we learn when we travel and “find ourselves”).

I am a terrified giggler.

I laugh in the face of sheer terror. You might think this is a positive, but it’s actually really unsettling. I thought I was going to die and I was laughing so hard I could not stop. I had tears in my eyes, as the plane wobbled and jolted. I had to hold my hands over my mouth to stop bellowing at the awful hilarity. We were all going to perish.

As I tried to stop laughing and focus on the fact that we would probably survive because we were at the back of the plane. Erin uttered her first sentence since the turbulence began.

“I am not going to die with these people. They all stink”.

All hope that I would accept death without snorting through my nose vanished and I was shaking with laughter as we finally began our descent into Kathmandu airport. Where shaken and stirred we were then swindled 600 rupees for a cab (because we just wanted to get the fuck out of there).

So, we survived the nightmare flight. It actually was a nightmare including the man with the enormous head sitting opposite us (he didn’t have a medical condition so we can laugh).

And I found out some valuble things about my response to imminent doom. Ah… travel. What a way to enjoy life.

Travel and Vomit-A tale of Irony


I was preparing to fly to India and decided, last minute, to make myself a quick pasta. (So I’d be nice and full on the flight).

I had been discussing my travel plans excitedly all week, laughing off the odd comment about food poisoning and people who return from overseas travel with weird parasites in their intestines. That’s how optimistic I was… laughing at parasites, which are generally horrifying.

My travel buddy Erin picked me up at 7.30. Our flight was due to fly out at 12.50am so we planned to stop by her dad’s house on the way to the airport.

It was then that the trouble began. It soon became obvious that I had given myself food poisoning with a vegetarian pasta. There was brocoli in it (but surprisingly no trace of carrot).

After being the worst how guest ever and then having to pull over on the way to the airport so I could retch into a clump of Australian flora, the irony dawned on me.

I gave myself food poisoning hours before my flight to India.

I have always struggled with the concept of dignity. Mostly because I experience so little of it in my everyday life. Take for instance, the moment when (after sprinting to the toilet at the airport) I am walked in on by a German back-packer who then awkwardly retreated the way she came, because her giant backpack made it impossible for her to turn around and.

The horror on her face is etched into my memory.

The other awkward part about being sick is that bathrooms aren’t hygienic to kneel in. Why? You may ask. Don’t they clean airport bathrooms? No, the answer is, they don’t clean them. There are pubes everywhere. HOW CAN THERE BE SO MANY PUBES? I thought, as I picked one from my jumper.

It doesn’t help that when vomiting in a public toilet, everyone assumes you have an eating disorder. Which is rude because if I was, no one was helpful at all. They all just looked around like “oh there is the girl who just violently spewed up all her home-made pasta and sounded vaguely like a dying cat”.

Luckily the retching subsided just before we boarded the plane, but I like to think that I made history after that 13 hour plane trip. If you like, you can shake the hand of someone who actually felt better after getting off an international flight, than when they got on. That’s right kids, there is always a happy ending (especially in Asia).

However, this start to a holiday is certainly one I will not forget. After looking at food like this, (see above) the deep irony of this event is not lost on me.