On Doing Them Anyway
Before you go off to a tropical country, people give you all kinds of advice. Advice from doctors on how not to get sick, advice from your parents, advice from other travelers… there’s a load of things you should or shouldn’t do. Of course, half of them you find yourself doing anyway–without exactly intending to break every rule in the book.
For example, the water at the Training Centre in Brazil that I’m staying at. We all thought it was filtered when we got here. Then someone told us the filter didn’t work. Then someone else told us it did work, but it was only a carbon filter and didn’t filter out bacteria. Either way, by that point some of us had drank gallons of the stuff (soccer is a popular sport here, and you work up a thirst afterwards). Fortunately, by the time we figured out maybe we were drinking something we’d been told not to drink, none of us had gotten sick. And days after that, still none of us were sick.
There was a whole list of other stuff – don’t walk barefoot in the sand because of the weird e. coli that might live there (advice from my doctor – but seriously, walking or running in sand with shoes on spoils half the fun. The sandals are off before you even remember you weren’t supposed to do that). Don’t get bitten by mosquitoes (yeah, you try telling them to stop biting me. I’d appreciate it. Dengue fever doesn’t sound like fun…) Don’t risk eating anything that might have come into contact with gluten at any time (because I have celiac disease). I think I’ve been doing okay with this. But it’s really hard to communicate this because of the language. Waiters stare at me in Canada because they’ve never heard of celiac disease. They stare at me even more here because 1) I’m a gringo 2) My Portuguese is horrible, and 3) They’ve never heard of celiac disease.
The important thing to remember is not to get freaked out by the possibilities of something happening in a tropical country, but just to enjoy it while you’re there. After all, you could get mauled by a bear in Canada (not likely, but still…) Or hit by a car. Or die of cancer. At the same time, you can’t be too stupid. Don´t wander the streets of Recife at night, alone. Don’t drink the water from random taps. And so on.
Obviously, I’ve found Brazil interesting so far. I apologize I haven´t had a chance to post more about it. We’ve been so busy! But I’ve enjoyed it so much that in fact, I have decided to stay here longer. Three weeks longer. Hopefully all continues to go well 🙂
Note: I also apologize to all those blogs I’ve faithfully been following until these past couple weeks. It´s a bit tough to keep up from here! But I look forward to catching up and commenting when I get a chance.