So, I just made one of my biggest travel mistakes yet. This one beats all my travel blunders of 2017.
We’re just going to get right into this but it started because I made a very basic error. I totally misjudged the Thailand heat and humidity. Suffice it to stay, I learned the importance of staying hydrated while traveling. And in the end, I got very lucky.
Here’s what happened.
I had plans to meet a friend for lunch around noon. We had seen this all you can eat sushi place and were both dying to try it, but I’m quite competitive when it comes to buffets. I really, really like to get my money’s worth. So obviously, to “save room,” I didn’t eat that morning. I was nice and hungry for all the sushi.
At the time, this didn’t feel like that big a deal. I woke up around eight and somehow I completely forgot that humans not only need food, but they also need water too. Especially when it’s pushing 90 degrees outside.
Even in my most intense cross country days, I never had issues with dehydration because our coaches made us drink water like it was our job. Staying hydrated was never something I really thought about.
I didn’t feel thirsty. And the restaurant wasn’t too far away. It’s not like I was planning to work out or anything… though some might consider sushi-eating in high quantities to be a workout.
So I walked a casual half mile or so to meet my friend and then we walked another half mile to the SkyTrain platform. While we waited for the train, I started to feel thirsty and get a bit of a headache. I figured it was because I was hungry and I was happy about this. Now I’m really going to show that buffet who’s boss.
I thought, “hmm a water bottle would be nice.” But it didn’t feel urgent, like that panicked ‘I need water now’ feeling. Just like a passing desire. We were already up on the platform and it would be a real hassle to go all the way back down and buy a bottle from the convenience store.
My friend had a bottle of some kind of post-workout sports drink thing. I stole a small sip and figured that will hold me over as the train pulled up. The train was packed but air-conditioned, so we stood in the middle holding on to the handles overhead. Not a doctor here, but feel free to chime in if you are. I have a feeling that holding my arms overhead wasn’t the best move at this point.
My stomach felt a little iffy, like it does when I’m really hungry. And then something very strange happened. Everything got a little… gray. The lights and the people started to disappear in a black and white checkerboard. It was slow. Everything would come back for a second then disappear again. I kept thinking it was just a headrush, like I stood up too fast or something, but it didn’t stop.
I reached out and grabbed my friend’s arm. Not wanting to cause a scene, I smiled and said as calmly as I could, “We need to get off at the next stop because I can’t see.”
When the door opened, I could see a bit of light, enough to tell I was outside and at the platform. There were no benches, so my poor friend, probably panicking at this point, practically carried me to a railing and set me up with my back against a pillar. Not wanting to cause alarm, I asked with a cheery smile “can you grab me a water real quick?” I assume he ran off to get one, but that’s when I completely couldn’t see anything. All black.
Maybe a minute. Maybe two. It was so strange not being able to see anything. I could tell the rest of my senses wanted to cut out too. But I kept standing and trying to smile because I didn’t want to alarm or inconvenience anyone.
I heard a kind voice. “Water?” It was a woman.
I have no idea what I looked like but apparently, my “everything is okay” smile wasn’t cutting it. I smiled in her direction, I think. I still couldn’t see anything. And for some reason, said “no thanks, its okay.”
I was completely out of it. All I wanted was water, but I couldn’t put two and two together.
I could sense that she was still in front of me. Thankfully some kind of instinct took over I stuck out my hand and felt something cold.
Bingo! A cup of water!
In three huge gulps, I drank the whole glass. Within seconds, everything went back to normal. I could see again. I could think. I started laughing and I saw my friend charging up the stairs three at a time with a liter of water in his hands.
Turns out I had attracted quite a crowd. There were two security guards from the train standing by with more water. One was fanning me with a piece of cardboard. The woman, also an employee of the SkyTrain, was giving me more to drink and handed me a cotton ball with ammonia to smell to wake up. It worked.
I couldn’t have been alone for more than ninety seconds and this team of people was there and ready to make sure I was okay. I was amazed by their care and how safe I felt, even in one of the most frightening travel experiences I’ve had.
One woman even had a wheelchair ready in case things escalated. Thankfully, it didn’t get to that point, but I was amazed by how quickly this team of people swooped in to make sure that I was okay.
My friend and I sat on the platform for a while, me sipping water and both of us laughing about me almost getting carted off to the hospital because I was saving room for a buffet. Everything turned out to be okay, thank goodness.
I was just amazed that almost the moment I drank water, everything snapped back to normal. I don’t know if it was the coldness of the water or what, but for the rest of the day and onward I was completely fine. To be on the safe side, I drank liter after liter of water and a few huge bottles of Gatorade for good measure.
We did eventually make it to sushi, which was great, but I was so distracted I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
Mostly because I couldn’t believe how stupid of a mistake that was and how lucky I had been. I was lucky I was with a friend, that I was in the beautiful and safe SkyTrain in the middle of the day, that the Skytrain people were so responsive and caring and wonderful.
I couldn’t believe I didn’t drink water all day. And now I have a real example of what happens and how dangerous it can be to forget that simple thing.
So please, when you’re traveling, remember to eat and drink lots of water. Especially if you’re traveling in a hot country like Thailand. Carry water and a snack with you. I know I will be from now on. If you start to feel like “hmm water might be nice,” go get some right then. Don’t wait it out.
Nothing, not even a sushi buffet, is worth risking your safety.