Sunday, May 16, 2010
Feel my pain
Driving through Ireland has been an incredible experience. We are in awe of the beauty of this country and, without an itinerary, we have been free to travel where we want, when we want, for however long we want. (Apologies in advance for the blurriness of some of the following photos - many of them were taken through the windshield of our rental car):
Driving on the opposite side of the road has been a bit of an adjustment, but it's gone very well. (My Jim is an excellent driver.) What wasn't anticipated, however, was that driving a 30 mile stretch in Oregon is very different, and much quicker, than it is here in Ireland. Due to the size and condition of the roads here, a destination a mere 30 miles away can sometimes take an hour - or more - to travel to and this is without any measurable traffic. Some days it is taking us a lot longer to travel the distances we plan each morning than we ever thought. This means we have had some really long days in the car.
What I'm about to write now is written with humor (in my heart, at least). It's a bit funny but, all the same, what I'm about to share with you is something that I normally wouldn't. It's really not the type of thing I like to disclose. It's a physical weakness, of sorts, and it drives me crazy. Normally, I would keep details like this under lock and key, but after this trip, I've reached a point where I feel ready to share.
Here it comes.
I suffer from extreme motion sickness.
Oh sure, over the years, I've learned to manage it. I rarely sit in the back seats of cars, NEVER ever in the back of buses, I don't go on any boats that plan to sit and bob on the water, and I can't do swings at the park.
But here, I've been caught off guard.
Between the windy curves:
the narrow roads...:
the bumpy, uneven surfaces...:
...and my sweet husband - a.k.a. Speed Racer (just kidding!) (but not really) flying over these roads, I've never been so sick in my life.
Add to all of these elements a little bit of sudden braking, say, when a sheep:
or a herd of cows:
or a baby deer suddenly crosses the road in front of us:
and this pretty much completes the nausea picture for me.
This is me, after 5 days of carsickness, just wanting to end the suffering:
Fortunately, I've found another solution...or at least something that helps a little bit: Pringles potato chips. They're very popular here. And now they're exceptionally popular with me. I've eaten 3 canisters of them since we've been here. Eating something salty seems to have a nice soothing effect on my tummy, though I shudder to think how much treadmill running I'm going to have to do when I get back home. But let's not think about that now. The important point here is that Pringles chips are my really good friends currently.
The Irish recognize the poor condition of their roads. They're even kind enough to warn us about them. Speed Racer and I always continue on, though, even despite warnings like these:
The pitch of Irish roads is different here, too. It's very steep at the center, so your left side is always lower than your right. I suppose this is to aid the swift removal of rain water from its surface. In addition to this, the edges of the road tend to crumble terribly, giving an effect as you drive over them similar to a twisty turny ride on a roller coaster that is driving over an uneven strip of bricks or cobble stones. It's jarring, to say the least.
The funny thing about these roads is the speed limit seems to be 100 kilometers per hour pretty much everywhere. 100 km/hr, which is approximately 62 miles per hour, is the posted speed even when you are also being warned about the curvy road ahead:
So, let's recap:
Uneven, bumpy edges:
are all bad for my stomach. Thank goodness for Pringles and for the beauty of Ireland...
It really is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been:
One more thing, though. Please think good thoughts for me tomorrow. This is what Jim's hoping we're going to do: