December 23, 2004

Barbados (Friday evening and Saturday)

We swam off the JR grease with some good games of Ianball (sounded more appealing than having something to eat and drink), and got ready for an improvised trip to a local church.

The church service was great – lots of singing halleluiah, and a brilliant drama showing the problems in the Carribean – and it wasn't too hot with all fans working and some more rain outside. Yet, the evening turned out a disaster with half of us (nearly) fainting. The lack of proper food during the week (yes we had snacks and bites, but hardly a substantial dinner) in combination with sunburn, lack of water, and balance issues (from the Jolly Roger), the first one of us passed out during the service, and by the end some 5 girls were being nursed by Josie (one of the Ribits folks who fortunately stayed around!) near a huge fan.

We stayed at the church for an hour or so – presumably waiting for the girls to feel better – and got served more water and some food. Ready to leave, I suddenly found out the situation was far worse than 'just' exhaustion: an ambulance had been called for one girl had stopped breathing and another felt needles throughout her body (won't go too much into details as I don't think it's necessary, and I guess you can understand the seriousness of the situation). With the rest of us in the church's bus to bring us back to the hotel, we got worried and slowly one by one the domino effect kicked in, and almost all either freaked out or started to feel faint. Not all passed out, because that would be silly, and really unfortunate, but some (including the wonderful people from the church) stayed calm and again provided us with water and food and this time prayer as well.

The craziness didn't end there, for as soon as we got back to the hotel, and we had to tell those who hadn't come along to the church what was going on, we slowly started freaking out again. A hotel is fortunately a better place to calm down, and soon one of our rooms was turned into a ward. It must be said that by this time, some of the guys had passed out as well, and I had to sit down myself (even started undressing – apologies to any witnesses, it was really hot!) because of heavy sunburn. The rest of night we devoured all ice cubes available in the hotel and some good mac'n cheese and bananas (thank you 'nurse' Esther and 'nurse' Melody, and Amanda and Abi as well for dedicating your appartment to us 'patients'). I don't like bananas, but this one was finished in no time! I still can't imagine what the situation must have looked like for those arriving later… After 2 hours Chrisi dropped by again and dismissed me from the 'ward'. She was also able to tell us that the two girls in the hospital were both stable, so we were ready to take a rest.

Saturday was dominated by err drinking as much water as possible (peed 4 times in 2 hours or so!) and eating as well. The girls had returned early in the morning and were being taken care of by their friends (basically forcing them to eat and drink and rest as much as possible). We all felt OK enough for our flight, but once our trip back to the UK started, we seemed to start a re-run of last night's drama. Fortunately, Josie (who is actually officially a nurse) was still around to help out and make everyone feel better, and we all spent our last Bajan dollars on water so that there would never be a shortage! The flight was fine (I basically slept through all the turbulence over the Atlantic – some had to stay awake most of the time for the second night in a row however, to stand by in case any more treatment was needed) and by Sunday morning we were back at Manchester Airport, arriving at Warwick in the afternoon, within a few hours all cooled down from our hot bizarre trip to Barbados.

As far as I know, everyone who went on the trip is still breathing, and ready and tanned to celebrate Christmas. Josie caught up on her lack of sleep within 3 days. I didn't suffer from a jet lag despite a sleepless night - that one was due to my first cup of coffee ever. My house is up to temperature after I'd told my housemate to turn off regulated heating hoping to save some pounds (I had to wear scarf and hat in my living room). Watching Dutch version of Popstars right now as the losers (those evicted in the early stages) are ruining 'Winter Wonderland', good to be home...

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