I’ll be the first to admit I love the long term, backpacker style traveling. I eat all the street food and seasonal fruits, try the weird looking local drinks, drink the tap water, wear bikinis as underwear and wash my clothes by hand in the outdoor sink, stutter some phrases in the local language, jump in the rivers and pet the stray dogs. And I love it! To me, that’s the way you experience a country, that’s the way to learn about how they live there, and that’s the way to continue to grow as a human being.
And all the incredible places and things you get to see! Waterfalls, endless white beaches, baby turtles, volcanoes with flowing lava, sting rays, sloths, ancient ruins .. you name it, the world’s got it.
But then you wake up the day of your $70 full day snorkeling tour and you can’t really see with your throbbing, incredibly swollen left eye. And you have diarrhea. And fever. But you get some drops and cream for your eye and you swallow 10 tablets of activated charcoal and some painkillers and you are on your way. Sea is a little rough, but you lie down on deck to catch some sun (and some much needed sleep) and jump in the ocean, ready for your first real snorkeling experience. You’re excited but exhausted after the first trip in the water, but you saw a huge turtle and a lot of stingrays and nurse sharks! You can’t really eat any of the fresh seafood lunch you get served, but you gulp down some nice, cold orange juice and you’re ready for some coral reef. This time you decide to get the floatie to help keep you somewhat afloat in the waves, and after some help getting your mask (that keeps leaking into your still swollen eye) fitted, you think you’re getting the hang of it. But the snorkel feels uncomfortable in your mouth and you keep gagging on it. You decide it’s best to swim without it and just hold your breath whenever you wanna see what you came to see.
You feel a little relieved when you’re back on the boat, but also a lot worse than you did earlier, so you decide to sit under deck for a little while. It takes you all about five minutes to realize this is not going to end well, so you head towards the teeny tiny toilet with the bicycle pump, and close the door behind you. And then you puke. Everything you’ve eaten or drunk the last 12 hours comes up, colored black by the charcoal tablets, in violent bursts.
When you’re done, you realize there’s nothing left to do but throw in the towel, lay down under deck with your returning fever and wait until you’re finally back on the island.
The next day, still with your crazy eye and diarrhea, you decide to take the short boat ride and the long bus ride to your next destination, instead of the two and a half hour boat ride to the other side of the border. Probably a good idea. But when the pain in your back comes creeping and overwhelms you while you’re trying to enjoy your tacos (after all, you’ve just arrived in taco-land and you’re starving after two days without food) you throw in the towel once again and hurry back to go sleep another 12 hours and hope it’ll all be better tomorrow ..
(picture of the crazy eye three/four days after the above mentioned incidents occurred)