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“The best laid schemes of mice and men Go oft awry.”-Robert Burns
If you talk to my fiancee you will find out that I am one of those people who likes to have a plan in place when it comes to going on vacation.
Take for instance my past Disney trips.
I would have the park mapped out in advance with Fast Pass rides organized by time and location with finely detailed plans to hit the remainder of the rides in the most time and distance efficient way possible.
The Magic Kingdom and other Disney Parks were thus taken down with military precision (my fiancee actually kidded that I looked like a general marching towards the next conquest and never saw me move so fast in normal circumstances).
Would it have been more enjoyable taking a more lackadaisical approach?
But, given the limited time and the amount of attractions we wanted to see, there was a chance that without careful planning we would miss some.
Despite detailed planning for all my vacations there is invariably something that comes up that causes a major deviation.
It is often the unexpected that makes a trip memorable.
Some of my most memorable trips are when things do not go as planned.
At the very top of this inauspicious list was the week-long trip to Bali to celebrate my 45th birthday.
What I am about to share with you is something that still makes my fiancee laugh out loud as it feels like it was just yesterday when it happened.
For long-time readers I am sure you have gathered that I love food and consider myself a foodie.
My mother is from Malaysia and I was introduced to chicken satay there and was absolutely hooked.
Although there are a lot of restaurants in the US that offer chicken satay, typically as an appetizer, I would venture that less than 10% of these offerings came even close to what I experienced in Malaysia.
I felt that the closer I came to this region of the world the more authentic the dish was and more likely I would experience those same flavors I relished years prior.
I was therefore truly looking forward to indulging in Balinese cuisine and I wanted to try everything that I came across.
Unfortunately in the first few days I happened to come across a street market and saw a roadside vendor selling Chicken Satay.
I immediately ordered a serving of the chicken satay from the food stall and hungrily devoured them.
My girlfriend, now fiancee, was not hungry and did not feel like sampling any of the food at the marketplace including my own purchase.
Happy with my purchase I continued the rest of the festivities planned for the day, capped off by visiting a beautiful seaside temple with a subsequent extravagant dinner where Balinese dancers would entertain us while course after course of food was brought to us.
All my expectations for Balinese cuisine was exceeded.
My fiancee partook in every dish served and thoroughly enjoyed them as well.
It truly was a remarkable experience.
The two of us could not finish all the dishes brought to us and had the leftovers packed for our tour guide who was very grateful.
At the end of the evening we got back into the vehicle and began our journey back to the hotel which was about an hour away.
Very early into the trip home my GI system began to announce that there were some urgent impending issues in the near future.
For those fans of the movie Dumb and Dumber, it was a near perfect replay of what happened when Jim Carey’s character LLoyd placed some TurboLax to exact revenge on Harry:
To make matters worse, the roads in Bali are quite narrow, sometimes bumpy, and full of obstacles that require weaving in and out of traffic.
It truly took all my willpower to keep all my GI contents on the socially acceptable side of the anal sphincter.
My fiancee, whom I found out later did not have any bowel issues that day, was blissfully unaware of the struggles her riding companion was going through during the hour long trip.
By some miracle I arrived at the hotel grounds without incident.
But there was still another test of my intestinal fortitude and control before I could complete the above Dumb and Dumber scene.
The grounds we stayed on were quite expansive and required a ride by hotel staff in a golf cart to get to our hotel suite (which was located at the very edge of a cliff and overlooking a river).
The golf cart path to the front door of our hotel had even more twists and turns than the ordeal of the commute I had just been put through.
I will not confirm or deny this but near the end of the golf cart ride there may have been a momentary lapse in mental concentration and we will leave it at that.
As soon as the room door was open I rushed to the facilities and truly let the floodgates open.
Much like what I experienced during my colonoscopy prep, pretty much everything I had in me was now out.
Apparently I overwhelmed this Balinese toilet as, much like Harry in the above movie clip, I was not able to flush the contents down.
Maintenance had to be called and they were able to restore everything back to working order (I felt sorry for them for this particular call but they maintained a smile throughout).
I found out that I was the victim of “Bali Belly” that strikes tourists much like Montezuma’s revenge in Latin American locales.
Because my fiancee did not endure the same condition the source of my misery could easily be traced back to the street vendor and the chicken satay I had.
Our Bali suite had a private swimming pool attached to it (something I highly recommend everyone experience at least once).
My fiancee forbade me take a dip in the pool for the entire next day saying, and I quote, “I don’t want it to turn into a cesspool.”
Apparently what was good for the goose was not good for the gander as, several days later when my fiancee happened to come down with Bali Belly herself, she had no issues taking a dip in the pool that same day.
Sure there were some amazing things we encountered on our Bali excursion but my fiancee and I feel that it was this unexpected event that made the trip truly memorable, which, to date, has been the greatest vacation I have experienced.
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This is great! I can relate so much. Some of our favorite family stories are the times where I got food poisoning and threw up all over Williamsburg or the time where I clogged a houseboat toilette and had to then throw up off the boat. They NEVER get old.
So yeah embrace the chaos, and remember that even your worst, dire vacation moments will probably end up the most memorable.
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who makes these types of “memories.” My fiancee read the post today (I didn’t tell her what it was about) and started laughing out loud at work while reminiscing about the trip.
I feel the following statement rings true no matter what: the worst day of vacation >>>>>>>>> best day of work.
Have a great one!