The Travel Bug Bites Back

http://batzner.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/bed-bug.jpgI had travelled for seven months without so much as a common cold or mosquito bite, but it seems that as I near the finish line my luck is finally running out.

I don’t easily get sick. Even once in the year is fairly uncommon, but the past few weeks my body feels like its been eaten, chewed up and spat out. I thought if I was to succumb to any illness or sickness abroad it might have been through eating something unpleasant. After safely dining on the street vendors of Bolivia (1 euro for burger, fries and coke!) my stomach reaffirmed itself as a no-nonsense, take no prisoners furnace that destroyed anything in its way. The problem which is ultimately weakening my body as I write this has been the lack of quality sleep.

Long Bus journeys and Dorm life has eventually caught up with me. I haven’t had bed bugs or anything like that. But since I fractured my wrist 7 weeks ago, my sleep has been sporadic and shallow, struggling to find comfort with my arm in a cast. This wasn’t helped by the fact I had to lug a 20kg backpack around either. Although the cast is now off, the wrist pains continue and the daily physio I do gives minuscule improvements in my rotations and strength.

This week I decided to take a trip from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls. It was a 20 hour overnight bus journey. I’m the kind of person that when they are seated, I have no intention of getting back up, even if nature calls. Fitful sleep in one position. When I arrived, I spent six hours walking around the waterfalls, before coming back to the bus station. I had to wait six hours for my bus back. Queue more sitting and time killing. When the bus came, it was another overnighter. It was only 18 hours this time. By the time I got off the bus, I was in a small town called Rosario, where everyone informs me has the most beautiful Argentinian girls in the world. When I got to the dorm, I was so tired that I crashed in my bed. It was freezing cold, and had it not been for the fact I had just paid, and my body was weary, I would have changed hostel. But it was late.

The guys in the dorm were all drinking forgetting to turn off the light as they came and went throughout the night. My immune system was pretty beaten up and I didn’t sleep much that night, checking out first thing in the morning to get another bus. Only 4 hours back to Buenos Aires. My nose was running like a tap at this point. After a series of sneezes coming off the bus, I felt something pull in my lower back. No idea what it was, and it flared in waves as I tried to walk it off.

I don’t make things easy for myself in that respect. All these ailments could have been avoided had I upgraded bus, chosen a private dorm, gotten a taxi to my hostel next day etc. But when you’ve been travelling for so long and using the cheapest methods possible to get from A to B, sometimes you feel guilty about the occasional treat like a taxi ride.

Anyway, I’ve been in bed for the past 24 hours lying prostrate. This is probably my final weekend in Buenos Aires too and it is a shame that I can’t enjoy it. I suppose it is just my body telling me that it is pretty beaten up at this point and the idea of sleeping in my own bed in 4 weeks time is something that I can’t wait for.

Cost-cutting on accommodation and travel invariably lends itself to going for the cheaper options for food too. I’ve been guilty of having too many fast food options where they are in abundance in Argentina. It seems like the nation survives on pizza, pasta, meat and sandwiches. This has undoubtedly helped to weaken my otherwise strong immune system. I’m really looking forward to returning to my normal diet when I get back home.

It’s impossible to be strict about things here when you are travelling. There just aren’t the same options available in some of these countries as you would find back home, so you just need to make do the best you can. Piling up on the free hostel breakfasts are usually great money savers, but eating your body weight in Cornflakes isn’t healthy! But it’s money in the bank.

Now, I need to ice my back and hope for some undisturbed sleep for the next few hours. On the straight and narrow now, and barring any future sickness I’m aiming to be on a beach in Brasil in 2 weeks getting toasty brown. That would be the best medicine of all.

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