Reading through the old travel diary I wrote when I was in India (many years ago), it strikes me that I’d spent quite a bit of writing effort in describing what I ate, how much it cost and how delicious it was. You know, I’m one of the few people I know who actually gained weight in India. Not so lucky was Sarah P, who was in my tour group; she got sick after her first dinner in Bombay, and over the remainder of the three week trip she never got to ingest anything more than chai and moderate amounts of plain, white rice.
It’s not as though I have an iron digestive system though, because I’ve succumbed to variations of Delhi Belly/Bali Belly/Montezuma’s Revenge/[enter your euphemism here] all over the world:
1. Right after I graduated from university, I went to China with my brother and my mother. It was only for nine days; I got sick right after a particularly delicious vegetarian lunch and for the next week I couldn’t go anywhere near food without going a nice Kermit-green.
2. I went to Paris with my brother and stayed in at a mate’s place. Our thank-you to the friend was a pot of homemade won tons in soup, created from ingredients at a local Asian supermarket. Not used to central heating (it was mid-winter), I didn’t realise that it would be extremely foolhardy to reheat and eat the leftovers which had been sitting on the stove for three days. This was on the last day of my stay before returning to Edinburgh; I was so sick and miserable that when my male flatmate got home I rushed out to meet him and garner some sympathy, in my underwear. Also, I missed Hogmanay, which I have always regretted.
3. Before I went on the Inca Trail, I was told that water boils at a lower temperature at altitude. Boiling water therefore isn’t sufficient to kill all the germs that make a person hug her toilet bowl. I ignored this piece of information because I didn’t get around to buying purification tablets. While I didn’t get really sick this time, I did have a queasy four days.
4. Back at home, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve made myself sick with inadequately thawed beef and four-day old milk-and-sugar sweets which I bought from an Indian stall in a fit of nostalgia (yes, that was only this last week).
Meanwhile, Rough Guide has been a little harsh about various bits of New Zealand. I think the author's view is fair though, and I'm inclined to agree with him/her about Auckland and Wellington.