Change of plans, the Amazon will have to wait.
In Nicaragua I ate pork tacos and drank mysterious beverages out of plastic bags sold by vendors on the buses.
In Costa Rica I ate wild mangoes basically scooped up off the sidewalk.
In Panama I drank the glass of tap water that everyone else shunned, then refilled my bottle in the sink.
In Colombia I scarfed a giant plate of inexplicable meat products served in a second-rate diner.
In Ecuador I ate a skewer of chicken fat halfheartedly grilled by a woman in the park, scooping on top each of the various sauces that had been sitting out in the sun for god knows how long.
All of these, and a general habit of gastronomic optimism, and I was never sick.
Then yesterday. Remember the tourist extravaganza restaurant in “Gringolandia?” Where the menu was entirely in English, the waiters’ uniforms had quotes from English children’s books, and British princesses demanded service in 3 minutes or less? Yeah, that place gave me food poisoning. Apparently the (vegetarian) caprese sandwich was less-than-fresh.
So last night, instead of busing overnight into the Amazon, I threw up in the bathroom of a grungy fast-food Chinese restaurant, whose wallpaper was various shades of mold and whose toilet was an epic piece of antique water wasting technology with a perverse reverse sunset of mildew rings. And since it’s Latin America, I was hovering face-down above the little garbage can full of used toilet paper. Lidless of course.
I guess traveling is more than just canine hiking buddies, Colombian television interviews, and swimming with dolphins. It’s also slinking back to your hostel fast enough before the next eruption of lunch comes back with a vengeance that buckles your knees. Gotta love it. All of it. I’m trying.