Sunday, July 22, 2007

Shit happens in the jungle

Warning: this post contains oblique references to poo.

An April day in 2006 finds G-man and Papillon hiking through old-growth rainforest in Peninsula de Osa, Costa Rica. We’re with 8 other people, including our guide, Pedro, whose English is impeccable, charm irresistible, and knowledge of jungle life comprehensive.

But this isn’t an intricate tale of the jungle. It’s a very short story about a very painful bowel cramp.

Knowing that my gastro-intestinal system can be a little, shall we say, sensitive, I’d eaten a bland breakfast of scrambled eggs and white toast. I’ve even chewed on a proactive (and hitherto reliable) Imodium tab. But wouldn’t you know, an hour into the hike and that very special pain kicks in anyway. You know the pain I’m talking about. The pain for which there’s only one cure, and that cure should ideally include access to modern plumbing. I break into a cold sweat. G-man sees my face turn several shades of green and says “Uh-oh,” to which I reply “Yup.”

I hang back and let the other hikers get ahead of me, then I sit on a log, doubled over in agony. G-man knows exactly what I’m doing and why. Sitting down sometimes takes care of the problem, and I’m still praying for that mofo traitor of an Imodium to kick in. When the cramping finally eases up a bit, I stand and try to walk. I’m okay for a minute or two, but then I know there’s one and only one course of action available to me now.

Pedro has the group gathered around his telescope checking out a sloth up high in the leafy canopy when I gingerly touch his shoulder.

Tap tap tap. “Um, Pedro? I’m afraid I really need to do something. Ahora.”

He nods with instant understanding and points towards a tree just off the trail. “Over there.”

Bursting with gratitude (and very nearly something else) I scramble to the “facilities” and do what I so desperately need to do. I’m way beyond embarrassment by now, but I figure I’ve gotten away unnoticed by the others. Wrong!

“Watch out for that anaconda!” one of my fellow hikers calls out.

No, man. The anaconda should watch out for me.

NOTE: That's a sarong around my head. Dropping my knickers in the jungle may not embarrass me, but bad hair does.

* * * *

Okay, peeps – now it’s your turn:

Anyone who’s traveled outside of North America or Europe has in all likelihood dealt with the old 'Gringo Guts' syndrome. Rare (and damn lucky) is the traveler who doesn’t have a story like mine.

I know my dear friend K-Belle has one that starts with “One time in India…”

Some of the best ones I’ve heard start with “One time in Guatemala…”

Doesn't matter which "end" was affected, either – I mean, projectile vomit is inherently hilarious, n'est ce pas? (Maybe not so much for the person it lands on, though.) So tell me all about Montezuma exacting his revenge on you – or “someone you know”.

C’mon! You can laugh about it now, right?


Anonymous said...

Well, I have a "someone I know" story: I worked with a nice chap named Bob back in Edmonton. Bob is very nice, but he gan pass gas like nobody I've ever met. When Bob and his wife were traveling in India, he contracted some gastrointestinal pest which somehow made his bowels even more fragrant than usual. They were traveling on a train and his farts were SO potent that he managed to vacate an ENTIRE THIRD-CLASS CAR IN INDIA -- even the goats left.

Perhaps this permanently affected his digestive tract. On a couple of occasions he managed to cause the entire staff of Elite Litho to take a one-hour break while the air cleared. Es so, so, SO sed. Pooooooor Coco!

Papillon said...

Even the goats left? Wow, those must have been some toxic farts!

Anonymous said...

One day in Philadelphia...

Oh yes, it happened to me, too. It wasn't actually from food in Philly, no, it was from the horrible meal in New York the night before.

My trip to New York was not what I had expected. I was in the city with my ex and with a chick who was only interested in going to the city to purchase a glass dildo. I'm not joking, nor am I exaggerating. Yes, my friends, it was the infamous Glass Cock tour of New York City and I was an unwilling captive.

Thankfully, I had lost her, my ex and most my appetite, somewhere around Tiffany's. I spent the rest of the day viewing some truly fantastic architecture and photographing the locals. I had successfully managed to work up a bit of an appetite after a day of walking so I rendezvoused with my ex, the dildo chick and my ex's new boyfriend who had joined them while I was gone.

They were tired and pretty bitchy so they found a "restaurant" and I settled in to eat a "turkey" meal. The place was blowing warning klaxon's inside my head from the first time I laid eyes on it. I knew I should've been worried that it was pretty much deserted even at dinner time. I should've been more worried about the kitschy interior that screamed Salmonella!

But no...

Flush forward to the next morning when I hear news reports of my stomach rumblings that were mistaken for earth tremors. I hit a 5.3 on the Richter scale that night. I consulted my medical staff and they recommended Ubermodium. I follow their advice and sought out the nearest pharmacy.

After acquiring my tablets of relief I then had to choose between recuperating and spending the day with Ms. Glasscock or trying to time the unpredictable spasms of my rapidly draining intestinal tract to the available public toilets in the cold streets of Philly. It was a no brainer. With face of green and those infamous cold sweats I hit the road and saw some of Philly's best public washrooms. TanQboy is a name the city of brotherly love won't soon forget.

Papillon said...

TanQboy – That's one of the funniest things I've ever read!!

Clearly the reason you succumbed to the effects of dodgy food is that you hadn't consumed enough GIN. I mean, c'mon – you have a name to live up to!

And uhh, a glass dildo? Danger, Will Robinson!

DeLi said...

hilarious, wow! and here i am am been recently engrossed with teh once-upon--a dreamy-time-tales :)
honestly, ive never had that kind of experience, to which im really thankful :)

Papillon said...

DeLi– I'm glad (for your sake) you've never had one of these experiences. I hope you never do – they're fun to write about after the fact, but not so much fun to experience!

Anonymous said...

Knuff was Enough!

Infamous yarns of Montezuma’s Revenge are almost always set in hot tropical environments. Never would I have thought that my worst bout of MR would strike while ice fishing in the dead of a BC interior winter.

I was one of many twenty-somethings hunkered into a rustic cabin at Knuff Lake, just outside of Kamloops. There was no power and no water and the ‘facilities’ were located about thirty feet behind the cabin, in a nice tall drift of snow.

We had been down at the lake, drilling holes, baiting our hooks with corn (I promise this is the only reference to corn) and consuming a ridiculous amount of alcohol. Our thinned blood finally drove us back to the cabin, where dinner was had and a good round of cards had begun.

The first ‘worm turned’ at approximately 11:30pm. I didn’t think much of the cramp, given the amount of dinner and drink I had consumed. At about 12:15am the intensified cramping motivated me to put on an extra layer of clothing, lace up my hiking boots, dawn hat, scarf and mitts and head out to the back 30 to find the shitter. It was ‘feet do your stuff’ and I really didn’t have time to worry about the temperature, although I do remember the steam. Relieved I headed back inside, mistakenly thinking that it was a one-time only experience.

It was approximately my third trip out when I truly understood the nature of what was happening to me, and just how freaking cold it was in the little wooden shit shack. Panic was setting in as my stomach began to turn and my forehead beaded with sweat. On this return to the cabin, I only made it half-way back before both stomach and bowel made a simultaneous command performance. Quickly unzipping and backing into the nearest snow bank I melted my fair-share of snow. To add insult to injury, the two local huskies were hanging around for reasons that only dog owners truly grasp.

My boyfriend de jour, poor guy, eventually came searching. I was easy to find, as all he had to do was follow the trail and the huskies. I was lying down in a snow bank with my pants around my ankles, as I no longer had the strength to migrate. I was expiring in single location and was at the point where I really didn’t give a cold ass.

We eventually made it to Kamloops hospital, where a warm bath, an IV and a hit of Gravol made it all seem like a bad dream.