I’m sick. Again.
I don’t know how but I’ve managed to get a dodgy tummy (more officially called Traveler’s Diarrhea – gross) in almost every country we’ve visited with the exception of Thailand and Vietnam.
I think I’m being smart. I don’t drink the water or rinse my toothbrush with it and I spit profusely while showering to prevent any of it from getting in my mouth. I check that the bottles we buy are sealed and haven’t been tampered with. You know, all the smart things you’re told to do. I don’t eat from places that look questionable, I carry wet wipes and instant sanitizer on me all the time, I almost always adhere to the rules of boil it, bottle it, peel it, or cook it although there have been a few exceptions. Last week we bought some apples and I cleaned them thoroughly with bottled water and scrubbed them dry so we could eat them, peel and all, on our bus ride. I don’t think that’s why I’m currently wearing down a path between the bed and the bathroom. I suspect it might have something to do with the salad I ate at that fancy hotel here in town.
Adrian and I decided we’d splash out (as my British friends say) and grab a pizza at one of the nicest hotels in Pondicherry, The Promenade. It sits along the ocean side and in the evening darkness it glows with soft, warm, welcoming light. It’s an ambience not often found here. We sat on the outside patio where rhythmic Indian tunes drifted through the salty sea air, it felt like we were on a date. We ordered a big cold Carlsberg beer to share, settled on a Margarita pizza and after some debate, a Chef Salad. If there was ever a place to eat a salad in India, this seemed like it. When the pizza arrived looking like a big cracker covered with a thin layer of cheese and no basil (what’s a Margarita pizza without basil?) I should’ve known better than to eat the salad. What was sold as three types of lettuce with sundried tomatoes, walnuts and olives turned out to be a bowl of iceberg with a few chunks of fresh tomato and some wilted looking olives. I ate it anyway. But Adrian had some too and he’s fine – thank goodness (he just had a rough go of it in Thailand) – so for that reason I’m puzzled yet relieved. We paid almost twenty bucks for that sad excuse of a dinner and it put a screeching halt to our itinerary.
Our plan for today was to visit Auroville, a neighboring community whose purpose is to realize human unity, founded by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Then, in the late evening, catch a sleeper bus to our next destination, Madurai.
Although I don’t feel dreadfully awful like some of my previous bouts, I’m not exactly in the mood to traipse around in the merciless sun and deal with the obstacle of trying to find a restroom on demand. And who wants to use the toilet on the bus – ever – especially under these circumstances?
So we’re here in Pondicherry, holed up in our hotel room for the second day in a row. Adrian’s taken the opportunity to wash our laundry in the tub and save us some rupees. I’m going to lie down and read until lunchtime where I will be feasting on clear vegetable broth for the third time in a row.
I don’t like to be sick. It’s the not-so-sexy part of traveling but I’m also very thankful; we are flexible. When life throws us a curve ball like this (or we break the rules and eat a salad) we can readjust and make it work. If we were here on holiday and pressed for time, I would be extremely upset to be feeling this way. But we’re not, so we can take a few days to slow down and rest up – the Universe obviously thinks we need it.