August 10, 2012

Pooping Abroad

I recently relayed some rather personal details about getting sick in Egypt.  But why stop there?  Let’s talk about poop.

My friend and fellow fabulous blogger Betsy recently admitted that her digestive system is not a fan of travel.  Flitting around the world can and will wreak havoc with your intestines at some point.  If this hasn’t happened to you, don’t worry - your time is coming.  

Going to a foreign country with water and food contamination issues means getting your “Os” ready - Pepto and Cipro.  I’ve carried prescription Cipro with me on trips for years, but I never had to use it until I hit India last year.  Talk about a country that bitch-slaps your stomach.  Bacteria and funk reign supreme in India, and my extreme care in choosing my food and washing my hands did me no good.  Delhi Belly came right on in and set up shop - just after it had a heyday with my friend and forced her to puke in the bushes of the Italian Embassy.  I became good friends with every western toilet in New Dehli.  The guest bath in our friend’s Delhi apartment started to feel like home.  After three days, I finally gave in and started popping Cipro.  By the time I made it to Thailand, I realized I had stopped constantly keeping an eye out for toilets in public areas.  Drugs are a wonderful thing.

Hooray for drugs!
I’ve heard that China is similar to India in terms of the intestinal reaction to the country.  While I haven’t been to China (don’t worry, I’ll get there), a friend of mine that went with a group swore that he and his buddies truly became best friends when they all got sick at the same time and had to use some primitive, not-so-private toilets on a very regular basis.  Nothing says “let’s bond” like having to poop together, right?

One way to kick all this fun up a notch is to throw in squat toilets.  That’s a whole extra barrel of pooping fun.  First of all, if you’re in a country that favors squat toilets to western sit-down toilets (think Vietnam, Cambodia, and even Bulgaria), you’re probably also going to need to carry your own toilet paper.  Take a moment and add that to your packing list.  Also, start doing squats - now.  The leg power will come in handy when you’re perched over a slab of concrete with a hole cut out of it.  

So gather your Pepto, Cipro, toilet paper, and leg stamina, and go forth and travel (and poop) with pride.


  1. Remember boys and girls pepto is your friend (may turn your tongue black - but that's ok). Never use immodium it will trap the illness and you can be sicker longer! :(

    1. You know, I halfheartedly took Pepto while in India hoping to prevent sickness while avoiding turning my tongue black. My tongue didn't change colors, but I still got sick. And great advice on the Immodium! Everyone needs an awesome pharmacist friend :)

  2. You know what they say: Take Immodium and stay on the Commode...ium*

    *Nobody says that.

    1. Ha! Although technically, you just said it, so apparently someone does indeed say that ;-)