Posted by: Megan | July 11, 2007

There is an Olympian in most travellers!



More often than none when travelling our inner athlete ability is released in grave need to navigate us to the nearest restroom – should it be a wild species of native plant to the region!

Yes, travellers’ diarrhoea – it brings out the Olympian in quite a few travellers! Travellers’ diarrhoea is the most common illness affecting travellers that usually lasts from 3-5 days as a result of different hygiene and sanitation infrastructure to that of home – particularly in Third World Countries! Common symptoms include abnormally frequent loose bowel movements, urgency, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, bloating and feeling uncomfortable! The majority of travellers will calm down within a few days and are able to flush out their system with loads of (bottled) water without needing drugs. The golden rule of healthy eating when travelling is boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it!

When Helen Charles moved to Delhi for work she experienced ‘Delhi Belly’ (travellers’ diarrhoea translated into Indian). What trouble did her love of mushrooms bring to her system? …

AND … when Amy Bolger read an email from her friend Tim travelling in India she had a very good reason to claim his story as a ‘pearla’ …

“… I really like mushrooms and the other day I ordered a mushroom curry from a dirty daba in Delhi … Next day I felt as green as a pea and
wanted to hide in a pod and hold my belly all day.  At the time I
thought that I would never eat a mushroom ever again, but then I had a thought … not all mushrooms in the world could possibly be this evil
to me! … What did I do to deserve such bad mushroom Karma?….  I tried to think of a time that I had stepped on a mushroom as a small child in Devon, or a time when I had committed culinary suicide by picking a champion out of my Boeuf Bourguignon but no, the only mushy that I had ever despised were those nasty English winkers – the mushy pea … I decided that my bad mushroom kama was just not justified! 

So, I consulted a mushroom guru and he advised me that sometimes mushrooms get confused, because they don’t have big brains – they are just full of vitamins and they have no calories and are too worried about the next time they will feature in the Weight Watchers cookbook … they used to be stuffed with cheese afterall!

My Mushroom Guru told me that my inner mushroom was full of love and that it could only grow into a bigger mushroom  – an intelligent species of fungi. This was a pleasant thought – just like watching a marshmallow in a microwave.

So never underestimate the power of the mushroom.”

Above story by Helen Charles

“Around a 12 days ago before crossing the border from Nepal into
India I exchanged some Nepali Rupee for Indian Rupee with a tall,
dark man, who was at least honest that he was to take a small
commission rather than just lie and give a slightly incorrect
exchange rate.

I did not check my notes thoroughly, in the mix match of currency
was one 50 INR (around AU$1.70) note that was ripped in half and
neatly taped back together. Unlike Australia where we are quite
forgiving with our notes when ripped and tattered, no matter how
hard I tried not a single Indian would touch the note. I would give
it to them. They would look at it. They would look at me. And with
the face of a disappointed parent, they would return the note to me
and say, “No.”

Today Laura and I arose at around 5.30 AM to get some prime sunrise
viewing of the Taj Mahal. My stomach had not been particularly
healthy the night before, I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t shitting my guts
out but lets just say I was slightly scared to fart.

After paying the ridiculous foreigner fee for the Taj. We enjoyed
it’s beauty for around 2 and a half hours. As we waved goodbye to
the lovely monument for love I had a strange feeling. Something in
my stomach, I wouldn’t call it stabbing pains, I would call it the
pain of little friendly men trying to subtly escape through my belly

Five minutes later I asked Laura rather urgently if she had and
tissues on her. She had one. And two sanitary lady pads for those
special monthly times. Disappointed I rushed off, the little men had
turned into a powerfully pressured sewerage outfall that was about
to explode through my clenched rectum.

The last toilet sign I had seen was around 200 m away. After walking
15 m, I realised I wasn’t going to make it to the sign let alone the
toilet. I looked for a person who looked liked they might work
there. I struggled up to a guy painting something and while
clenching my stomach said, “Toilet?” I don’t know what I
expected, a magical toilet closer to the one that was 200 m away or something. But he just pointed in the direction of the sign.

The Taj Mahal has all these grassed areas that you are strictly not
allowed to walk on. Defacing of any property on the Taj site can
result in a 3 month prison sentence or a US$3000 fine.

I walked towards the toilet. After five steps, my outfall let out a
little bit. I realized I wasn’t going to make it. I turned around
and looked at the painter. He saw the pain in my eyes. I ran and
jumped over the fence, and onto the restricted green lawn. I pulled
my pants off and released the angry demon.

And I released some more.

And some more.

And some more.

For around ten minutes I sat there shitting while people continued
to flow through the main gate.

For around a hundred people the first thing they saw after the roof
of one of the seven wonders of the world was me having a crap on
some really nice grass. I wiped myself with some Libra pads,
swallowed my pride and jumped back over the fence. The painter just
looked at me.

For those of you who don’t know. Around tourist areas when an Indian
sees a westerner, they don’t see a human. They see a walking wallet.

The painter looked at me like a disappointed parent. Then he went
all Indian and rubbed two fingers together.

“Money.” He said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Toilet.” He replied.

I gave him my torn 50 Rupee note and ran off. He screamed after me
in Hindi. But hey, I can’t understand, he was probably yelling thank

Then two hours later we were on a 6 hour bus to Jaipur. And in
between my buttocks the whole entire way was a lady’s sanitary pad.
Because you just never know.

I love travelling.”

Above story by Tim


Now these are the kind of signs you may need to look out for when travelling …

I took the photo below on the island of Sainte Marie – Madagascar!


I took the photo below in Santiago – Cuba


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