Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How to Survive Travelers' Diarrhea


We all get the chocolate rain once in a while when traveling. Yea yea, it's gross but let's be adults here. This has happened to me way too much in the last couple months and for all you avid travelers and thin stomachs I figured you need to know how to deal with this shit (ha).  It can seriously ruin your trip, having you fear to leave your hotel aka the proximity to a toilet and leave you bedridden from stomach pains. I stupidly ignored it because I hate taking medication and figured my iron stomach would deal with it itself. The result was silly and I almost wasted my trip in Barcelona, embarrassed myself by skipping the fierce bathroom lines in clubs all because I didn't tackle the problem right away. The problem is magnified with exotic places, especially spicy South East Asia when every plate causes your stomach to feel like Eyjafjallajokull. Here is what I've learned the hard way.


Imodium is key. KNOW THIS WORD AND BRAND. While traveling in Egypt I forgot the name of this medication and was given some random weird crap that didn't plug me up well at all. You take two chewable tablets right away and then one each time you go. It really is a life saver and it allowed me to party without worries in Barcelona afterwards.

Sugar Water: If you're somewhere remote and don't have access to Gatorade or sugar drinks to replace lost fluids and electrolytes, mix some sugar and water. I don't know, that's what my mom told me anyway.

Lil'Fel Rocks the Pharmacies. Egypt, the shizzle they gave me didn't work.  False hope is given.

KEEP TOILET PAPER WITH YOU: While in Egypt again, I can't express how desperate my situation became when the storm was fast approaching and I barely made it in time to the stall only to find out that the stall, building or anyone around had no toilet paper. I had a cultural discovery because of it and that's the fact that in some cultures they don't even use toilet paper, they use...wait for it..their hand. In India and South East Asia they usually provide some form of water or hose to rinse off. That's cool. But in Egypt no such water existed... seriously dudes, don't forget to walk around with TP at all times. You can lose your dignity running around begging restaurants to give you some. ha..ha..

Eat White People Food: It's not spicy or too experimental and most importantly it feels like home. The familiarity of the white stuff was the only way I was able to eat without instant down pour. For some reason McDonald's chicken nuggets are theeeee most appealing to me when I'm sick. I also survived off of some Easy Mac I happened to pick up while passing through Australia!

Don't Party, dumbass: This may be intuitive but you'll be surprised how motivated people can be when they have one night left in a crazy city with their friends and they have started to feel well. This was my situation in Singapore. I was feeling sort of better and I thought I was strong enough to survive a night out. I had a great time that night actually, even got drunk without any emergencies, but the consequence the next morning was worst than the worst hangover you could have. Your stomach will feel like a lava pit and risk spewing from any which way. Try taking a 5 hour bus ride to Kuala Lumpur without a toilet on board and you have a real situation. With some Immodium the situation luckily worked out. The only meaning I can derive from all this is that my bedridden state is allowing me to blog about it. yay. Good luck all.

Chocolate Rain.  A brilliant song by a talented young man. It might become your anthem. No connection to the dia except, "Some people stay dry and others feel the pain." True say, Tay.

Other Good Shiaza

Check out what's good in Singapore when the Rain clears away

If you're in Asia, party your ass off but don't be a jackass


  1. in india you can buy paper soap.i carry it in my wallet, thats how valuable it is to me. its a lifesaver. hand sanitizer is also key. some dispute that actual effectiveness of purell, but even if its for the placebo effect, its worth it.


  2. Let me share a funny little ditty just to elaborate a little on " embarrassed myself by skipping the fierce bathroom lines in clubs" from my perspective:

    We were in a small underground club with live ska/skank music one late night in Barcelona and Lil'Fel felt one fierce BINGO STRIKE ATTACK come over her. Her little body was propelled through the crowed like a possessed women and vanished into the bathroom. She came out with just a little more colour in her face - possibly from feeling a bit better; possibly because she was now embarrassed after having chocolate rain in a club (it was monsoon season) and clearly all the girls knew it. As in most instances while I am out with Lil'Fel, an odd twist of fait came to us. What had surely earned its rightful place on 'Lil'Fel's top 10 most humiliating moments in life', turned into a partial identity and she became temporarily famous for the night while we watched the band, chatted up locals, and practiced our swing dancing! People (almost 100% girl witnesses, victims if I may, from back in the bathroom) came up to her from time to time, asking if she was feeling better!

    Note to reader's: The international hand signal for "I need to go NOW" is to point at your bum and rub your tummy with the other hand while making the most miserable face you can muster. Worked for Lil'Fel, it can work for you!


  3. hahahah good post felicia...nice to know some of these tips from someone beforehand! i can't believe egypt has no toilet paper lol

  4. L, I was almost crying while reading ur comment. Yes Barcelonian dia did indeed win me friends! yay!

    @ andrea. our indian conversations were quite inspiring for this post

    @ wanda. I know right. I asked an egyptian friend while there, 'how the heck do people deal with number two's, I haven't seen TP anywhere!" he replied with an embarrassed look and just sort of said nothing. Then it dawned on me slowly and I asked..."do you..use your hands?" He just sort of shrugged and changed the topic and that was that, my most recent culture shock. oh well, now we can all be prepared!