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Happiness is a dry fart: Delhi Belly

India Travel Blog

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The Incredible India. This is Mayapur.
This is a little graphic but if you are going to India you may want to read it. The first time I got the Delhi Belly I was on a 12-hour bus ride to Rishikesh. I was riding in a cheap local bus where every bump felt like an earthquake in my stomach and it took every ounce of concentration not to shit my pants. The bus would only stop every 4 hours for about 10 minutes, so I figured I would eventually shit my pants and I made a plan in case it happened...I would just get in my sleeping bag and take my pants off, throw them out the window and put some new pants on and then toss the sleeping bag at the next stop. Luckily it never came to this. I waited and waited, then told my friend to go ask the driver when or if they were planning on stopping.
Near Vrindavan
He came back with no answer, because no one on the bus spoke English and I had no idea how to say "I am going to shit all over this bus if it doesn't stop!" in Hindi. I reclined my seat, tried to find some inner strength, and didn't move a muscle. Eventually the bus stopped and I ran straight to the door, pushing slow, old ladies and children to the ground without thinking twice. I got out and there was no sign of a toilet anywhere. I asked around and everyone told me that the place to go was on a wall where everyone was pissing. I tried to explain that I was sick and had to go from the "other end". They didn't understand so I did some quick charades moves and motioned my ass exploding but they just laughed and pointed to the public wall. I wasn't about to pull down my pants in front of 20 people and piss out of my ass on a wall.
Outside Vrindavan
I had an idea, I ran across the street to the closest place of business, a small hotel, and paid the manager all the money I had on me (30 rupees) to use a bathroom. I made it just in the knick of time. After I finished I went back to the bus station but my bus was gone. I ran around looking and didn't see it. Then I started asking everyone and finally someone told me that the bus left a few minutes ago. I had nothing with me. No money, no passport, nothing, nada, zilch. I thought I was fucked. I was going to have to beg for money and promise to repay later. But then my friend ran up breathing heavily, saying that he tried to stop the bus from leaving but they didn't understand, so he showed the driver's assistant my empty seat and they stopped down the road.
Then came the irate bus driver, who was yelling at me in Hindi. I yelled back for a minute about how he shouldn't have left without me and I'm sick and what the big fucking hurry was about. He shrugged and we ran back to the bus that was parked on the road a few hundreds of yards away and took off. Every 4 hours after that I would run out and bribe a bank or hotel to let me use their facilities and make it back just before the bus left me.

Now, if you are going to India, expect to get the delhi belly at least once. To minimize this there are some things you can do such as drink bottled water (including for teeth brushing), try not to get shower water in your mouth, ice is made from tap water, if food looks like it has been sitting around for a while then don't eat it (I stayed away from meat the entire 3 months I was there), only eat raw fruit if you can peel it and use common sense.
If you do get sick, yoghurt and rice is a good cure, also you can go to a pharamist and get some medicine for very cheap.

Other than that, I was told over and over that going to India without any vaccinations was suicide but I did it anyway and came back perfectly fine. Maybe I got lucky because a friend I was traveling with got Hepatitus B (the bacteria curable kind) and was in bed for about a month. I did drink some well water in Mayapur because I was desperately thirsty and there were no vendors in sight. It was fine and didn't make me sick but it was more in the country and clean. My main food I ate was Thali - an assortment of rice, veggies, curry, chipati (bread), yoghurt among other things. Its very cheap and filling (most of the time they give refills), but if they have raw veggies on the plate then don't eat them.
Be prepared for the hole-in-the-floor toilets and the lack of toilet paper (left hand for wiping, right hand for eating), wash your hands a lot and takes lots of showers, the waterless disinfectant hand soap is a good thing to have. Despite all the headaches India is fucking incredible and like no other place in the world. At first you might be overwhelmed and hate the place but once you get used to the craziness and noise pollution, you will love it. I will be back there soon!!!
josiah22 says:
Haha...I hadn't read this for a while. Awe, the memories. Amandac08, nice tip on the chewables. Enjoy India, its a special place.
Posted on: Feb 07, 2010
Amandac08 says:
BTW great review... I did actually laugh out loud
Posted on: Feb 03, 2010
Amandac08 says:
I am going in march and I read somethong the the CDC website that said taking pepto chewables every few days can lessen chances of DB but I have no idea if this is true. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/travelersdiarrhea_g.htm#prevent
Posted on: Feb 03, 2010
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