Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Planes, Trains and the Vomit Comet

Hi. The Werbenmanjensens have just set foot back in mainland Britain, such as it is, after a rather harrowing return journey from Jersey (the channel island, not this place) (more on that later). It seems that the winds that made our visit to the Noirmont point on Jersey so dramatic yesterday afternoon actually made for difficult flying--so much so that planes were neither flying in nor out of Jersey. After being promised a 5 p.m. flight home today, and hearing that other airlines were getting people out of Jersey only mid-afternoon today, Mrs. Werbenmanjensen and I decided to try our luck with the cross-channel ferries, figuring that if we could get to Britain, we could get a train back sooner than the airlines could get us home.

The run from Jersey to Guernsey was rather rough--all the way the paper bag was on my knee. I kept it all down, unlike one guy near us, and the crew was rushing around with mops, garbage bags, and sick bags throughout this leg. Before I could lose the cheeseburger and beer I foolishly wolfed down as we went through the gentle waters near St. Helier, we pulled into the harbor in Guernsey. The next leg I sat with my head on the table and listened to a hypnosis file on my iPod, hoping it would help me at least sleep on the two-hour leg from Guernsey to Weymouth. (While in harbor at Guernsey, I asked for a Dramamine at the cafe, and the cashier looked at me as if I was speaking a foreign language. "Motion sickness medication," I clarified. She shook her head. "We've got those motion-sickness bands," she offered in a helpful tone of voice. "Do they work?" I asked. She shrugged. I ordered another Pepsi to supplement the one Mrs. W bought for me when I had the sickness bag at the ready, over my mouth.)

Either it was the hypnosis file or the easing of the winds, but I made it without throwing up through the leg to Weymouth and mainland Britain. We alighted, gathered our luggage from the belt, and went to the information desk. The last train for London had left a couple of hours earlier, but we were told we could find a hotel on the beachfront. We walked into the misty air, hoping for the best. The first actual house-like building we saw, however, said "hotel" with a vacancies sign in the window, still-burning lights and a "welcome ferries" sign in the foyer. We pushed the doorbell. Success! An innkeeper with freshly bathed child answered the door.

It was a quick night, and then back up again to catch as early a train as we could (we didn't try for the very first train, since it left at 5:10 a.m., but it was the next one). At the station, the man running the newsagent/snack bar kiosk asked us if we were on holiday, and we briefly told him our story. "Ah, the ferry," he said. "I used to be a merchant seaman, and you know what we used to call the ferry? The vomit comet. It can get rough out on the channel."

A two-hour train journey put us into London's Waterloo station a little before 11 a.m. I was never so happy to see our flat, even if it did mean I had to go back to work.

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Blogger Middle Kid said...

It sounds as if Mrs. W is made of sterner stuff than you!

4:53 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

I'll let her comment on her own experience. I did notice she was riding with eyes closed on the Jersey-Guernsey leg. I think she said it had something to do with watching the guy fill up four or five sick bags in front of us.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous The Old Man From Scene 24 said...

I once crossed the channel on an old, un-stabilized foot passengers only (i.e. no vehicles below decks to help keep it up right) on one of the roughest days ever recorded on the Channel (and the records go back some time).

People were vomiting below decks left right and center. Truly disgusting. I went on deck and got a bit wet but managed to keep the contents of stomach inside my body.

10:21 PM  
Blogger oldest kid said...

NASA has something called the vomit comet as well. It's a plane that does hyperbolic flights to simulate weightlessness. Most everybody who rides on it gets sick, at least the first time.

12:04 AM  

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