Here is a short account of my recent holiday. Ihave tentatively titled it "Sore feet, bruised knackers, AIDS clinics, crazy horses and stupid police officers - a story of bad luck on holiday!" I wouldn't normally write something about my holidays but so much happened to me I thought I'd inflict it on everyone. (A problem shared etc.)

First some back-story: me, my girlfriend and another couple have been planning to go away to El Arenal, Majorca for a bloody long time! We talked about it for a few months and then in february we bought plane tickets and booked the time off work. With me so far? Suffice it to say, I've been looking forward to this holiday!

Problems started on the first night, we went out for a couple of drinks. Feeling particularly care free that night, I decided it would be a good idea to wear my brand new never been worn (hence not broken in) flip flops. Many drinks and some dancing gave me a huge blister between my toes that meant I had to walk home bare foot. This wasn't much of a problem, Mallorca is a warm island, everywhere is paved (apart from the beach) and if I really did need to wear something on my feet, I could always resort to plasters.

The next thing to happen was a little more unexpected. I got a voice mail from my landlord back in the UK asking if I could contact him ASAP because the Police had raided my flat by mistake. In the process they had destroyed the door and had it replaced, including the lock! Would I be so kind as to contact them to arrange delivery of the keys? Oh joy.

On the weekend, we hired a car and went to the north of the island to sample the scenery and the different beaches. It was a glorious day, the sun was shining, there was a light breeze and we were all having a great time. When we passed a riding stables on the way home, how could we refuse? We immediately pulled in and asked if we could do an hours trek. No problem they said and put us all on horses. At this point I feel it would be appropriate to tell you that all I was wearing at the time was a T-Shirt, swimming shorts and my trusty flip flops (with plaster and several days worth of healing). I should also tell you that at this point, I had only ever been on the back of a horse once before on a very sedate and short trek in the Kefalonian mountains. This riding stable's idea of training consisted of "You ride? No? When trot, move up-down up-down." I am NOT having you on!! Things were alright for the first 10 minutes but I was unable to trot, more because of my footwear than lack of ability. Things came to a head when the horse started making funny loud breathing sounds and backing up. At this point the "instructor" told me to gently get off the horse so we could swap. Fine by me! She very kindly adjusted the stirrups on the new horse so that I could put more weight on them without slipping (due to the inappropriate footwear). Now I was able to trot in a limited fashion. :) This is when I realised that swim shorts were also inappropriate. The lack of supportive underwear meant a rather important and particularly sensitive portion of my anatomy was constantly knocking against the saddle. This combined with the fact that I had to jam my feet into the stirrups to stay on my new, friskier, horse caused some pain which I just had to grin and bare while I tried to keep up with the others. Getting off the horse revealed gouges on both my ankles and on the side of my right foot where there had been rubbing. I'm just glad I didn't have to walk home!

At this point I was pretty happy, things had happened to me, chances were that nothing else would. I could just enjoy myself. So imagine my suprise when I managed to find the only syringe on a 5 mile stretch of beach. With my foot. By the pointy end! I spent the next 2 hours in hospital sweating away my worries. The doctor that saw me (with his rusty but still very good english) he tried to reasure me told me to come back in the morning for the results of my HIV test and gave me 2 Combivir to be taken 12 hours apart. When I got back to the apartment, I popped the first pill. I normally don't like taking pills so I made damn sure that I kept this one down! The doc hadn't said anything about alcohol so I didn't have any that night. :-( They say that one of the side effects of Combivir is nausea, from experience I would say it's more accurate to say it feels like you have a hangover without having got drunk first. I also wasn't happy about getting up at 5 the following morning to take the next pill.
When I returned to the hospital I taken in to the AIDS clinic where a nurse explained the following things:

  1. The HIV virus is very simple and weak.
  2. It takes around 20 to 30 minutes for it to die outside of the body.
  3. Given the fact that the needle had been on the beach through the night, through the morning and into the early afternoon chances are that the combination of open air, salty surroundings and a good few hours of baking under the midday sun killed off the little buggers.
  4. It was still necessary to get Hepatitis B shots so would I kindly drop my pants for the immunoglobin part.

Remember my poor front door, transformed into kindling by the ever helpful Police? Remember how we had to arrange for delivery of the keys? Well we did arrange, we arranged for the keys to be put in our post box (which we still had the key to) and that if there were any problems then call us. Guess what. When we finally got home, opened up the post box and looked inside, you know what we found? 2 weeks of unopened post and a note from the local police telling us to contact them to arrange delivery of the keys. /me is not happy. I called them up and politely as I could, explained the situation and asked if they could send the keys to us ASAP. They couldn't, we had to go to the police station to collect them. /me is very unhappy right now. I have to admit though, when I finally got there they were very apologetic and explained everything too me. At this point I was satisfied, but the final insult was to come. When we arrived back at the flat, a full 2 hours after we got there the first time, tried the key and it didn't work. A quick call to the police and another 2 hours later, our complimentary locksmith let us in.

I went to the doctors the next day about the whole syringe episode the next day and he said the same thing as the doctors in Majorca except that there was no need for the Combivir. I am officially feeling good about myself! (Apart from the regular "just in case" blood tests over the next year, and the Hepatitis 'B' boosters.)