The flight back home from New Jersey via Reykjavik in Iceland was easy enough if you discount Iceland Express’ unusually uncomfortable seats. I suspect their arrangements for the World Tour airbus for those elderly heavy metal gentlemen known as Iron Maiden were a lot more luxurious than the planes I endured on this trip or maybe Icelandic people are more than usually well cushioned in the posterior department. I mustn’t grumble about uncomfortable seats on long haul flights though or it might put you off flying Iceland Express.
For the return flight, it was not a problem because I was in a drug-crazed haze even more extreme than the ones suffered by the most rabid Iron Maiden fans. You see I was under the influence of extra strong American drugs. Two nights earlier, I had succumbed to a plague of mosquitos in Princeton after sitting on a porch drinking gin and tonic with my landlord as the sun began to sink. Two days later, I wasn’t feeling very well at all. My enthusiasm for life wasn’t even lifted on my Iceland Express when I saw through the plane’s window that my small red and rather tatty Samsonite suitcase had made it with the flight so far as it was being reloaded just below my seat – the uncomfortable one I mentioned earlier – having been dropped in the middle of the tarmac and then hurled on top of all the other cases by some burly Icelandic baggage handlers.
I blame those greedy, and apparently pregnant, mosquitos that had taken a ferocious delight in my ankles…..
….bites are one thing, itchy and unpleasant but my particular attraction for these little beasts often means that I get bigger lumps than most people and often they turn septic and lead to blood poisoning. My enthusiastic consumption of the odd gin and tonic had made me forget to cover myself in repellent-smelling insect repellent and I was an open target.
Blood poisoning is what happened and gradually as my blood began to feel like it was boiling, I developed a fever and began to feel decidedly unfestive.
After a certain amount of self-doubt about whether or not I was making too much of a fuss about this, I decided to go into a pharmacy, or as they say in the States, wonderfully, a drug store, on Princeton’s Nassau Street, where a very caring young pharmacist gave me some astonishingly effective drugs which, she warned, would make me feel sleepy but would work very quickly. I loved the sound of this.
She went on to give me a tube of uneuphemistically named Itch Relief Cream Extra Strength which did just what it said on the label – it stopped the itching extra fast too.
I think American drugs are wonderful. I even got a choice between a bottle of either 500 or 1000 Ibuprofen tablets, no body asked if I was considering suicide or not – I don’t think you can ever have too many Ibuprofen tablets in your bathroom cabinet. In Britain I have to do a pharmacy crawl if I want to buy more than two paracetamol in one shop. Oh no, these mosquitos have turned me into a libertarian! Drugs on demand has always been my motto in matters of minor ailments. Well, the tablets that I was told might make me sleepy really meant it. Ten minutes after taking the first two I had the unusual sensation of falling asleep whilst walking down the street. I retreated, in I suspect a rather wobbly fashion, to Princeton’s University campus and was soon lost to a deep and rather pleasant sleep under the shade of an ancient tree.
I saved the next dose for my overnight flight home and, in spite of Iceland Express’ unusually uncomfortable seats (did I mention this already?), I slept all the way home to Iceland in time to take two more tablets for the uncomfortable three hour flight to London Gatwick where I had nothing to declare except some very swollen ankles and a delirious decision not to visit Iceland again. You will be pleased to know, I hope, that the drugs worked and I am just fine again now.