// 2/2 in Puke//
“Oh great, every seat has a plastic bag on it. That’s a good sign,” Emily laughs. She chooses the seat without a bag.
So, it happened again. Puke in Puke is perhaps funny the first time, but Puke in Puke the second time around is just absurd. I think the region is cursed, or that Sam Bell is trying to poison me. Or maybe it was something in the ferociously blue Funfetti cake we ate the night before. Or too much Dance Moms. Or too many dried beans. Or the water. Or karma. Or perhaps, once again, my body is just letting me know that my Albanian lifestyle is still an unpalatable and grave annoyance to it. Either way, I find myself on the 8am furgon.
I sit down and immediately my stomach starts to quiver. A very familiar and terrifying quiver, one that makes me feel freezing while I am producing clammy sweat beads on my forehead. As we commence our journey on the partially paved, windy mountain road, things only get worse. I attempt to create, as 30 Rock would call it, a “designated fart dampener” with my cozy winter coat, but it is no use. It is obvious I am having corporeal issues. The phrase, “I have never been this uncomfortable in my life,” (apparently my general Peace Corps mantra) is running in a loop through my head, and all I want to do is find a bathroom and have an unfortunate, but necessary, 10 minutes of intestinal agony. I am not so lucky.
The little boy next to me is stoically, and silently, vomiting yellow bile into a thick, green plastic bag. Albanians were generally not allowed to own cars until the post-Communist 1990s, so the Albanian stomach has not physically evolved to be able to handle even straight roads very well, or so my liberal arts degree tells me about science. I used to have personal pride in a strong American stomach and ugly, self-righteous annoyance at people throwing up on busses and furgons. The noise was awful, the smell noxious, and sometimes the roads just were not even close to bad enough to justify vomiting. However, the past two years have not only been a hit to my bowels, but also to my pride, and vomiting on a furgon was in no way my proudest moment. The little boy did it a lot better.