Sunday, 11 August 2013

The road to #Beni2013 knows no bounds.

Panic had already set in as to whether the fuel kitty was going to run out, which was perhaps what led to the following events...

On the edge of Barcelona, another dreaded toll booth loomed and as we approached, a puzzling event occurred. No ticket came out of the machine. Considering the automated toll system and the absence of a human-being - J looked at the barrier and considered his options. Initially he reversed backwards and into another bay - still with no available ticket. The car in-front seemed to get through without a problem and J knew that he had a 3 second window to make a decision. With the will and telepathic ability of 'everyone in the car,' J sped 0-100 mph through the barrier and as it began to lower it was the roof-box that felt the impact with an almighty bang.

Adrenalin was high and out of courtesy and fear J stopped the car (leaving enough time for the Spanish mafia to get his registration plate) and it was only when the rest of Spain drove through unfazed and a guard nonchalantly lifted up the barrier and added it to the pile of broken barriers and English flags at the side of the road, that J felt it was okay to continue. A sinking feeling of dread washed over the car as we edged closer to the next toll gate and feared imminent arrest.

Later in the journey we looked up and saw that K's unfolded sleeping bag was flapping in the wind and perhaps there was a problem with the roof-box. Naturally the clip from the front of the box had been annihilated off during the barrier impact - and the guard didn't even have the courtesy to tell us! Thank god K's half eaten roll matt didn't fall out - otherwise a very sternly worded letter would be making it's way to the embassy as we speak.

Luckily N's impeccable Spanish at the exit barrier meant that we were, thankfully, not arrested and carried on our way, ever cautious that our worldly belongings could fall off the car roof at any moment.

Accurate representation of roof-box security precautions


On The #Beni2013

So we had set off on our epic journey (by car) to Beni, First thing to note is that we had more pasta and tuna that anyone could have anticipated and that B's food shop exceeded the cost of the actual trip, which was acceptable because KP do "the best" nuts and we can have nothing but the best.

On arrival to the first campsite in Paris, it became apparent that we were surrounded by woman-eating mosquitoes and within 5 minutes of getting out of the car K had accrued 72 bites on her legs - even with the added protection of 20 denier leggings and a pocket sized mosquito repellent those mossies were relentless leaving K, N and B covered, whilst J and C escaped with just a few attacks.

Unfortunately tinned curry does not contain garlic so there was really no hope for a mosquito deterrent, this, combined with N's circulation being a bit "yknow" meant that once again she had a mosquito-induced club foot - both feet this time. We just all had to be thankful that we didn't go through the same experience as Jonny, bearing a total of 50 bites on the face alone.

Although N didn't get bit on the face - a few bites to the neck were enough to make her lips and face swell up to what felt like, in the panicked darkness of the tent, a scene from Hitch. Naturally N tried to call K in the night for assistance/advice - however the application of earplugs and a face mask rendered this futile - perhaps if N had snored for help this would have been more effective. N took an allergy tablet to solve the issue - because as her mind ticked over it occurred to her that she may be having a bad reaction to Tesco's finest tikka masala (!)

The following day, our main aim was to purchase a remedy for the bites as one bottle of Tea-tree oil was destined to run out - especially as N was being so frivolous, unaware of pouring it onto the ground - much to C's distress.

So, French supermarkets - being so epic in nature meant that we got slightly distracted with the search for a cure in favour of roast chicken dinner and Nutella. K and N did invest 15 euros in a "device; based purely on the fact that it looked like, former food teacher, Miss. Judge's mosquito cure - which we vaguely remember using at age 13 on a school holiday.

The reality was much more sinister.

Considering the swollen status of N's leg it felt like the logical option to use her as a scape goat - on opening the package we realised the 'Veno-Pump' meant business. When applied to N's leg the whole group rapidly began over-react and panic as the suction device formed what can only be described as the millennium dome on N's leg. After 30 seconds K thought 5 minutes had passed and suggested removal of the device - however N insisted on enduring what was later to discovered to be treatment for a scorpion or snake bite. When attempting to remove the device (without thoroughly reading the instructions) N screamed in pain as she envisioned the flesh of her leg being ripped off- which although would have solved the mosquito bite issue - was less than desirable. Finally the 'Veno-Pump' was removed leaving behind the dome and the burning question in everyone's mind of '- "Will this ever go down?"

Despite the treatment seeming like a failure - K felt she had nothing to loose and applied the smaller pump to her foot to no avail. God only knows what would have become of Jonny's face in the same situation. It was good to know that if we were ever stranded in the Amazon that everyone would stay extremely calm and rational in the face of danger.