Friday, July 26, 2013

Amazing I'm alive...

I went to get my Typhoid vaccination today. I thought it was good for 5 years (so I was only "expired" a year). Turns out it's only good for 2 years, so I've been unprotected for 5 years! Oops. Add that to the fact that I haven't taken anti-malarial drugs for the great majority of my trips to Ghana, and I went in this morning feeling pretty protected by The Big Guy. But then to hear the international travel nurse speak, you'd think it was a wonder I was alive!
This nurse went on for 15 minutes about all of the don'ts of international travel to Africa. My word! Seriously. I don't think I even take a quarter of the preventions she said. Maybe I did when I first started traveling. I don't INTEND to live dangerously or anything, but once you're outside of the capitol city you can't always avoid the no-nos for the CDC.
  • No swimming in ANY pool because you don't know if it's chlorinated properly.
  • No walking barefoot--ever--even if you're rude to keep shoes on in somebody's house.
  • No eating fruits or veggies that don't have a thick skin. [Sorry, I just love my apples.]
  • NO street food. [What?! That's the best part of Ghanaian food!]
  • No ice, no matter what, even if they say it's safe. [I'm sorry, but there IS some "safe" ice in Ghana, and when I'm at a place that's "safe" I'm taking advantage of the ice!]
  • [New one...]  No soda from bottles, because they may have reused the bottle and not properly resealed it.
  • No getting water in your mouth when your shower (true) but also not your nose, or eyes.  They are doors for bacteria just like your mouth.  [That's a tall order not to get water in your eyes when you're showering!]
  • Wash your hands with hand sanitizer AFTER washing with soap and water because the water is "dirty" and/or the hand towel was washed in dirty water.  [Can you say "overkill?!]
  • Wash down your airplane seat with a wipe because reportedly they aren't sanitizing between flights anymore.
  • Don't eat any food that isn't cooked fresh and served hot where you can see it being made.  [I think I shall starve whilst in Ghana.]
  • Assume every animal in Ghana could have rabies.
  • Re-apply DEET insect repellant ever 2-4 hours, HEAD TO TOE.  [That might be a tad inconvenient while in the taxi or at the market!]
There was more, but you get the ideas.  How do we travelers make it through our trips?  It's a miracle we're still alive! LOL!  I don't want to try to get myself in trouble, but I also don't want to live in a bubble when I have the chance to experience a wondrous place in the world.  I've eaten fried goat cheese, chicken at midnight that was sitting out all day, spicy peanut butter balls (my term), ice cream in a plastic bag, cow skin soup, and other things the CDC would tell me never to eat.  I would have missed out on a lot of life if I lived it completely within the "recommendations."


Mama Ds Dozen 12:14 AM  

Wow! That's a long list of "rules" for international travel. I haven't followed most of those rules, either. :)

I never had any concern about drinking Fanta in Ghana, but in Mexico last month it was very obvious that my Fanta bottles had been re-used. I did wonder about the practice of re-using soda bottles . . . but it didn't stop me from drinking more Fanta.

The only time I worried about showering in Ghana was when I had a seriously blistered sunburn and realized that the "dirty" water was probably not the best way to cool down the sunburn.

:) :) :)

Jessica 8:49 PM  

WOW, what a list. I know they are looking out for everyone, but that really is over the top!