Tuesday 26 September 2023

Dan's still standing...and a scary incident reported by our medical correspondent in South America

Dan and Ioanna always tell my to write about the good things but also the bad or more difficult things of our journey. So here is a story of how life on the road is not always as smooth or as amazing as I make it seem (I suppose, it's sometimes better and some times worse)! 

We were in Caceres, the border town in Brazil, and somehow, we (Ismene, Ioanna and I) got food poisoning (or so we believe!) on the day we HAD to cross into Bolivia! You see, the day before, we got our passports stamped so we had to make the crossing within 24 hours. But this was no small food poisoning, it was the sort of food poisoning that made us all be sick and be sick all the time! All through the journey, we had to stop many many times each taking it in turns! Poor Dan didn't know who to look after first. It was horrible but we couldn't do anything about it.😭😭 And to make things worse, after crossing into Bolivia, we hit a stretch of dirt road that knocked all the sick we had out of us. And by stretch, I mean 400kms long. Dan and Ioanna told us afterwards that it was a very dangerous road and that we couldn't stop to rest. Not that there was anywhere to rest or to stay overnight - it was very remote. 

After what felt like days on the road, we reached the town of San Ignacio where, completely unexpectedly, we were greeted by a procession of a big band and local people cheering them on and dancing on the street. We found out that two days later, there was a local festival in town and celebrations were taking place. If we weren't feeling like rotten eggs, we would have joined the party. 

When we were better we walked around town and I noticed a couple of differences between Bolivia and the previous countries we've been to (Chile, Argentina and Brazil). First of all, it felt much less European and people looked more indigenous. The town had a sense of local community and was bustling (but in a good way). It's too early to tell but I think Bolivia is going to be very different than any other country we've been so far. 

On our last evening at San Ignacio, a horribly scary event happened. Our medical correspondent - Ismene Sullivan - is here to report it for you. Ismene, over to you:

Hello Orestis and friends. In the evening, when everything was dark, we went out to see the big festival going on in town. We didn't have to go very far to hear drums and trumpets and loud music and see people dancing on the streets. When we went to see what was going on, to our surprise, people invited us to join their party! Everyone was really friendly and seemed to be having a great time. And they were all very interested in us and wanted to talk to us about the places we've been and about our trip. At some point, a lady from the restaurant came out and seemed to have a friend in her hand...a huge platter of meat! People were eating and chatting and having a great time. 

Suddenly, we noticed that the man talking to Dan was struggling to breath. It seems that he got a piece of meat (or a bone) stuck in his throat. Everyone around him was trying to help him but he still couldn't breath. He looked a bit like a zombie and his eyes were huge. Me and Orestis ran around the corner because we got really scared and didn't want to see. People were shouting, I was crying and Orestis froze. Luckily, the hospital was very close and their car was parked just outside the restaurant. Some people put him in the car and drove away very fast. We felt very relieved that they got him to the hospital and they told us there was a specialist doctor there to help him. A the end of evening, when we returned to the same place to ask how the man was and if they had any news, we were very glad to hear he was just fine and he came back to the restaurant afterwards. 

Well, what did we learn from that scary incident? Never eat meat while chatting to an Englishman. Reporting from Bolivia, Ismene Sullivan. Goodbye!

1 comment:

  1. Wow again, but in a bad way! Lucky that Dan wasn't sick too. And that poor man who was choking! Your description, Ismene, is really vivid. What to learn from that scary incident? Never talk with your mouth full. Food should go in one tube, and air for speech and breathing in the other one. Getting the wrong thing in the air tube can be fatal. No-one tried the Heimlich manoeuvre?
    love to all, Sal/mum