It must have been the questionably old chicken I had on my sandwich. Or I suppose it could have been the sweet, tangy addition of lingonberry sauce (like cranberry sauce). Either way, not long after we left the Amethyst mine, I began to feel sick.
As I drove, a horrible feeling of nausea overcame my body. By this time, the rain had started again. I pulled to the side of the road and waited for my queasiness to pass. It didn't. It only got worse. After a few minutes, the telltale watering in my mouth became the immediate urge to barf.
As opened the door and fresh air hit my face, sickness descended upon me with frightening immediacy. After losing a bit of my lunch, I shut the door as quickly as possible, so as not to get everything in the car soaking wet. I hoped that would be the last of it. It wasn't.
No, it was the beginning of a several-hour long ordeal that I can safely put into the category of Worst Moments in my Life. Suddenly I had to go to the bathroom. Urgently. This was really not an ideal time to do so, because it was still cold and very, very rainy. We were going to switch places so Tyler could take us somewhere with a bathroom, but it was futile—I had to go now.
I ran outside, and was immediately pursued by a thousand blood-thirsty mosquitoes who saw a weak animal and were prepared to devour it. I squatted in a ditch as cars zoomed by, losing my lunch in more ways than one. Vomiting and diarrhea at the same time ranks pretty high up there on the list of things I don't ever, ever, ever want to experience again.
Meanwhile Tyler ran out to join me. He braved the rain/puke/crapstorm to rub my back, pull the wet strands of hair out of my face, give me water, and swat all around me so I wouldn't be bug-bitten on top of it all. This is love.
Thinking I had expelled every bit of iffy chicken sandwich, and feeling marginally better, I brushed my teeth (Tyler brought me the toothbrush with a glob of toothpaste on it) and sat back in the car which Tyler had heated on full blast. I felt like someone had beaten me to a pulp. Tyler also found me a set of dry clothes to wear, but I wasn't sure I was in the clear yet, and I didn't want to get another set wet.
Sadly, it took another three or four rounds of misery before I began to feel a bit more like myself. After that, I changed into dry clothes, and we drove in search of a motel or hotel where I could take a hot shower and crawl into bed.
The first place we stopped had some barracks-like cabins for €40 a night. It was a tiny, spartan room, without a bathroom. Not having an attached toilet was an instant veto. So, onwards we went, me holding our collapsible red bowl in front of my face to spit into occasionally, Tyler trying to comfort me as best he could from the driver's seat.
A little later we saw a sign for "Old Inn" that sounded promising, but then we were led on a wild goosechase over a bumpy pot-holed road for more kilometers than it was worth. At least we saw a rainbow, so the search wasn't a total loss. Just after this photo was taken, it was time for one final round of puking.
And that was it, there was nothing left in my body. Now the worst had passed, I needed to be done. I needed to sleep. I needed to take a hot shower and curl up in bed and do nothing.
So, when we came to 'Hotel Ivalo', we stopped. Tyler started carting our stuff in, while I went to reception to get a room. Reception was closed, so I went to the bar, where the smoke and booze smells were overwhelming. I stood in line trying not to collapse while a very relaxed British person booked a room with great, plodding care. Time seemed to move in slow motion; all I could think was, "GET OUT OF MY WAY, I AM SICK!!!!"
Meanwhile the reception lady and the British guy talked oh so slowly about the meals they served there. "We could prepare two bowls of reindeer stew for you." "Oh yes, that would be lovely, thank you". The thought of reindeer stew was vile and almost put me over the edge again.
Finally the two were done, and I roughly scribbled out my form and handed over the €80 (80 fricking euros!!) for what was to be one of the biggest rip-offs of the trip so far.
The place was dark, uninviting, and it smelled awful. But at least we were done. The internet advertised was not free; it cost an extra €10! Shell-shocked by the price already, we skipped it. Our room had notes all around saying things like "We will fine you for smoking in the room!" and "Minibar: Coca Cola, 3.50, Water, 2.50, etc.) it reminded us of another frustratingly stingy hotel in Belgrade.
I took a hot shower, and felt much better. Tyler, on the other hand, was famished, and a bit weary after what turned out to be a fairly crappy evening. We'd forgotten about dinner, and I knew he would soldier on, going hungry until morning, refusing to pay this place another cent for a bowl of reindeer stew or whatever else they had.
So, I went to the car and scrounged up what snacks we had left in the dark recesses of our panniers. With a stroke of luck, I found some chocolate protein bars, normally reserved for cycling, a clemantine and a lemon. Not exactly a feast, but certainly better than nothing. I came back in, and prepared him the snack, for which he was very grateful.
Then, I went to bed while Tyler spent the next several hours working. At the late hour of 2AM, he joined after setting the alarm so we wouldn't miss the only good thing about this hotel: the included breakfast. I hoped I'd feel like eating by morning.