While living in Guatemala, before I came to Taiwan, I developed something of a cast-iron guy. Sure, I was sick, really sick, for the first month or so. But after that, it seemed like I could eat just about whatever I wanted to there and I didn’t get sick anymore. I tried not to drink the tap water, though I’m sure most of the ice I had there came from the tap, but I basically just ate the same stuff everyone else did. By the time I left, there was no way that wussy Taiwanese bacteria in the foods at the markets would get to me. Great, right? Well… not really.
A week and a half ago, my girlfriend was over at my place, and she suddenly started to get really sick. It was some sort of allergic reaction; she got bumps on her skin and was itchy all over. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why. Sure there was a cat here before, but she’d been here plenty of times before. I went out and got her some medicine, and fortunately, she recovered pretty quickly. It wasn’t until she asked me about the pineapple we’d been eating, that I realized what was wrong. It was an entire pre-cut pineapple, and I’d bought it at the traditional market four and a half days before. When I told her I’d bought it a few days before, she flipped out. “What!!? A few days ago!!? It was already cut! You have to eat them in the same day!”
Hmm… I’d always figured it was okay as long as it was in the fridge. Back in Colorado, I always used to keep cut fruit from the grocery store in the frige for up to a week or so. I never really had any reason to assume that foods I bought at the market here would be any different, either. I’ve been doing it for years, and never gotten sick. “Bah!” I thought, “Maybe she’s just allergic to pineapples.” After she went home, I finished the remaining 2/3 of the pineapple. I woke up at about 3AM, feeling a slight twinge in my stomach. It seems, it really was a little un-hygenic, but I’m just used to it. And so I unknowingly served it to someone who trusted my food to be safe. Oops.
It appears that there’s some justice in the world, though. On Monday night, I was suffering. It was the worst upset stomach I’ve had in years. It was bad enough that I thought I had a flu at first. Since it suddenly recovered during the night, it must have been some sort of food poisoning. It’s probably the hot water heater that I used. I just remembered it still has the same water in it as when I moved in to this appartment. I wonder when Dean used it last?
Note: I was the solitary vote for 4-7 days in the poll related to this post. I really was a far outlier.