Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Altitude Sickness

Strange things happen when I go to the mountains. I drink, drink, drink, drink, have a shot or three, drink and drink again, yet my body refuses to get suitably inebriated. Sure, I get drunk. I get pissed. But it never culminates in anything close to a black out, loss of memory or inability to walk as one would expect. In short...the amount I drink and the state I'm in doesn't really seem to correlate as it should, or normally would. Similarly, hangovers, the bane of my existence at normal land level, do not assault me with the ferocity that they frequently do. I wake up, feel a bit tired, but for one week of the year the 2000m altitude allows me to be one of those thoroughly smug and irritating people who utter the words "Oh, really? I feel alright" when you're clutching your head, throwing up and making loud, smelly declarations about how awful you feel. It's great.

Before you all start booking a jaunt to the highest mountain bar you can find, I should mention this is not a universal fact. In particular, ineffective alcohol at altitude is not something that seemed to grace two members of our 8-person skiing party last week. I should also explain that our ski deal was a fully catered chalet with 10 other random people, with unlimited red and white wine at dinner (and when on one occasion that ran out, free vodka and gin). To say we took full advantage of this is an understatement; in fact, you could say we took it upon ourselves to put the dictionary definition of 'unlimited' to the test. Two members of our party, named Bill and Ben for clarity sake, made it their mission on our first Monday night to get absolutely ratted. We drank at dinner then proceeded to test out the resorts drinking establishments, with a view to ending up in a nightclub (none of us made it). As one by one people dropped off and returned to the chalet, Bill and Ben were left to their own devises in the resort's only Latino bar (yes, really). Here they made friends with the bar owner and at some point after a lengthy Jagermeister sesh, lost their ability to remember what happened next.

The next morning at breakfast, two things were evident. A pile of sick lay in the fireplace, covered for sanity sake by a newspaper. In addition, a disgruntled fat man*, a fellow guest named Dave, sat at the table eating his croissant looking somewhat perturbed. It appeared that during the night, someone had thrown up and also paid Disgruntled Dave a visit in his bed which was adjacent to the communal area. It wasn't clear in which order these two events occurred.

Neither Bill or Ben had any recollection of the night's events, and the mystery of Who Jumped Into Bed With Dave was a hot topic throughout the week. The evidence: Bill had woken up completely starkers on his twin bed next to Ben, suggesting that if he'd been drunk enough to fall asleep naked in a bed adjacent to his male friend, trying to hop into bed with a stranger might not be so far fetched. However, Ben could remember suggesting the two of them played on the Nintendo Wii in the communal area, but nothing after that. This put them both at the crime scene. Yet Disgruntled Dave insisted it had only been one of them. Both Bill and Ben protested their innocence til the last night, when the evidence started piling up against one of them.

"He had a white shirt on"


"And dark hair"


"And I did leave Bill passed out on the living room floor..." recalled Ben.

"Ah yes," said Bill, his memory returning in light of the evidence against him, "I wanted to be as close to the floor as possible, because you're meant to put one hand on the floor to stop the room spinning when you're in bed, so I thought if you put your whole body on the floor...But I swear I didn't get into bed with Dave."

And so the mystery was hypothesised upon but never solved. We never did find out Who Jumped Into Bed With Disgruntled Dave, but I maintain to this day that the Bill and Ben knew exactly which one of them it was. Alcohol can cause you to forget, but it's also a very good way of conveniently forgetting embarrassing situations. Such as your pile of sick being discussed at breakfast by strangers you are about to share a week long chalet holiday with. Start as you mean to go on, I say, and bravo to altitude sickness.

*No fat men were harmed in the making of this event.


theperpetualspiral said...

So, it was a quiet week in your bed hopping ski chalet then? :)

Girl Vino said...

Ahhh shinanaghans! I love it. That would make a good mystery game the next time you rendevous in the mountains and drink an obscene amount of grown up drink!

Hannah said...

Um... could Dave not tell?!

London-Lass said...

Poor old Dave. I hope when he finished eating his croissant in a perturbed fashion he slapped some sense in to Bill and Ben (the pesky scamps).

O, and apparently, alcohol and its effects (or lack of) is all to do with your stomach sphincter and depending on whether it's more flexible and open, or fairly tight and closed, will directly impact on how drunk you end up. Although why skiing should make your sphincter tighter than a nun's wotsit is anyone's guess ...

Ella said...


"No fat men were harmed in the making of this event" - I love it! Welcome back Jo, it was a long week without you!

Miss Understood said...

Ok....all of that was great! But what shenanigans did YOU get up to? There must have been a few piles of vomit or embarrassing situations with your name written all over them, surely? Spill it!

Steph said...

I think you need to move to high ground for six months and drink till your liver explodes....all in the name of testing your theory of course.

weenie said...

Aint it funny how memory gets so selective when some embarrassing act is involved?

Jo said...

perpetual - just slightly ;)

girl - Oh I know. Sherlock holmes would have a field day.

Hannah - the rooms were pretty much black once the curtains were drawn...so I guess not! Either that or he didn't want to embarrass whoever it was!

Londonlass - hahahaha...the day I tried snowboarding, perhaps stress?

Ella - fear not, I have returned.

Miss - indeed there were...mostly sober ones though involving me geting lost. I shall tell all soon.

Steph - I reckon that's a plan and a half.

Weenie - strange coinsidence isn't it? Then again, if you don't remember it...it didn't happen.


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