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THE CHATTER BOX

 
  
  
  The Chatter Box : Travel
  
  
  
 
The Perils of Being The Rotund Wanderer by susithwaites on 24 April 2003 3:07pm
 
This is an article I wrote to introduce myself as a fellow traveller - the moral is you don't have to be the shape of a playboy bunny to have fun and see and experience the world.

THE PERILS OF BEING THE ‘ROTUND WANDERER’
By Susanne Thwaites

“Would Madam care to be re-floated?” Jeeves inquired politely from the door-way to the bathroom, as if this was a daily occurrence for him. ‘Jeeves’ wasn’t his real name, at least I don’t think it was, but I wasn’t in any position to ask what his real name was. Why not? Well, I was the ‘Madam’ stuck firmly in the bath.

How did I find myself in this predicament? Well, let’s just say that if the Michelin Man got it together with one of the Telletubbies, I’d be their offspring. Being this shape, and an avid traveler means that life is never dull! This all took place at Melbourne’s Regent Hotel in March 1988. A friend and I had booked a night at, what was then one of Melbourne’s top hotels. Prior to going out for a concert I’d decided that a nice long soak was in order. Lovely and relaxing it was too until I took out the plug. Well, anyone with a smattering of elementary science can tell you what happened next. What did I do? Well, I lay in the empty bath and giggled and jiggled. My room-mate covered me with a towel and called for help which is where Jeeves made his entrance. And the solution was easy. Put in the plug and re-float me. It worked too.

Hotel bathtubs weren’t the only travel contraptions to trap this unwary chubby traveler. I finally bit the bullet with my fear of small aircraft and clambered aboard a light plane, a four seater, for my first joy flight. The take off from the Phillip Island airfield was breathtaking, with the runway falling off over the rocks and surf of this magnificent coastline. Seen from the air, the Island which I’ve visited on and off since childhood took on a new identity, and it was possible to put together all the various places I’d been over the years, Rhyl, Churchill Island, Cowes, Cat Bay and Summerlands Beach where the tiny Fairy Penguins make their nightly trek up the beach each evening to the combined ‘oohs and aahs’ from the crowd. (It’s amazing how ‘ooh and aah’ can sound totally different in different languages, but the sound still conveys the same meaning). The fun here began when the plane landed and I tried to get off. The sight greeting the next group of Joy Flighters was me getting out of the plane backwards, backside first. Great way to lose what dignity I originally had. Was the flight worth the indignity of the descent? You bet.

Then there are horses. Not necessarily part of travelling but fun all the same. As I child I only went horse-riding a few times, but I’d grown up handling horses and there were no mysteries there as to how to ride them. Until the time in Adelaide I tried to get on one. Admittedly it was a big one, but I couldn’t get my foot up into the stirrup. As there was no mounting block I decided to use the next best thing, - the water trough. Worked fine till the horse nudged me and I fell in.

So life went on. Nine years later my dream to travel came to fruition and I finally boarded my first international flight bound for London. Was I any less rotund? No, not really, and yes, disaster struck once more. This time I was travelling with friends and we’d gone down to London from Birmingham where we were based, to spend a few days sightseeing before departing for Spain. Our accommodation in London was the Enrico Hotel, a budget B&B only a few blocks from Victoria Station. The position was fantastic, within walking distance of the majority of London’s sights, and accessible to everything in London via the Underground. It was in this delightful Hotel where I was once again caught, not by a bathtub, but by a shower. Feeling the need for some two star luxury we’d booked a ‘twin room with a shower’. Now normally you’d get a separate bathroom with a shower and maybe a toilet. This innovative hotel though has gone one step further and placed a shower pedestal in the corner of the bedroom in an area that would take a small wardrobe – just. The problem here arose when I tried to get in. It was one of those showers with a sliding door, and the problem here is that the actual opening depends on the size of the base, the smaller the base, the smaller the opening. In this case the base was miniscule. Needless to say getting in was ‘interesting’ and getting out was downright painful, one boob and cheek at a time. For the rest of the stay I ended up using the bathtub down the hall, and yes I always remembered to get out before letting out the water.

Since then I’ve travelled the world, through Europe, part of Asia, America and Australia and have seen some truly amazing things, and everytime I travel I face new challenges, now combining my Rotundness with Oseoarthritis in both knees. Every trip I now do I have to devise ways to see and experience where I am – not just because of my size, but more with the limitations that my knees place on me.
 
Re: The Perils of Being The Rotund Wanderer by macpac70 on 1 May 2003 1:49am
 
I was sorry to hear of the perils that your travels have sometimes put you in, but at the same time pleased to hear that it has not dented your enthusiasm to travel and see more of this wonderfull world of ours. I hope that the condition with your knees doesn't leave you in pain ? Long may you travel as long as the desire is with you !!
good wishes, Graham
 
Re: The Perils of Being The Rotund Wanderer by ellenpc on 1 May 2003 4:45pm
 
Here here! :^}

Ellen x
 
Re: The Perils of Being The Rotund Wanderer by Kbee on 2 May 2003 8:12pm
 
What a wonderful post. (The post; not necessarily some of those experiences.) Yes, I, too, know the joys of the one-boob-at-a-time transfer method.

About knees, I have some problems walking these days (some balance/movement issues plus common-as-dirt middle-age lower back problems). I recently picked up a pair of "trekking poles" (aka. walking sticks, hiking poles, etc.) It's love. I haven't actually slept with them yet, but I'm thinking about it. I can actually walk almost like the old days without my back spasming up, and without worrying about falling. And, apparently, walking with them is especially good aerobic exercise, because one gets a bit of triceps work in at the same time. And, they're supposed to offer some of the same benefits for knees when walking as I've experienced with my back. Might be worth a try. (Price in my neck of the woods is $60 to $120 American, depending upon features, for a pair.)
 



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