Romance on the Road (or Gastro Meltdown in Amman)

When Mike and I were visiting my cousin in Amman I woke up with rampant diarrhea. It was like Trainspotting meets Bridesmaids. Mortified, I snuck out to sleep on the sofa. I was nervous that the symphonic range of my stomach noises and my hourly trips to the bathroom would tip off Mike.

Even though we’ve only been dating a year, traveling together has pretty much eliminated any mystery between us. It started the day I applied medicinal cream to Mike’s foot worm, Harry. From there it was like we hopped into a relationship time machine and blasted to a future full of stomach parasites, farting, rashes, nail fungus, deodorant showers and leg hair you can braid. STILL, I was determined to maintain a shred of romance between us so I didn’t tell him.

Well into sightseeing the next day, I finally spotted a pharmacy and tried to lose Mike by zigzag sprinting towards it. “Be right back!” I shrieked over my shoulder. Unfortunately, curious and concerned Mike followed me inside where I was busy confusing the pharmacist.

Me (holding my abdomen like an actor in a Pepto Bismal ad): Hello, I have a stomach problem.

Pharmacist: Is it indigestion?

Me: Uh, no, I don’t think so.

Mike: What’s wrong with your stomach?

Me: Nothing.

Pharmacist: Cramping?

Me (staring her into her eyes and willing her to read my mind): Well, there’s some of that.

Mike: You have cramps?

Abby: I’m fine.

Pharmacist: Spasms?

Me: No, not spasms. The problem is in THIS area…

Pharmacist: You have stomach ache?

Me (desperately scanning her shelves for the pink bottle of relief): Not exactly.

Mike: Maybe it’s something you ate.

Pharmacist: Heart burn?

Me (giving up): Mike, can you please, please just wait outside?

Pharmacist: OHHHHH! You have diarrhea.

Me (defeated): Yes.

Even though I’d confessed, there was a hopeful moment when I thought: Sweet mercy, this friendly female pharmacist gets it. She’s figured out my dilemma and now she’ll try to make this as painless as possible. Holy dysentery, Batman, was I wrong. Not only did she say “diarrhea” about 12 more times, she also asked me to describe it in detail (mustard yellow?). She even wrote “anti-diarrhea” in magic marker on the medicine box, advising me to take two pills if there was “heavy diarrhea” and one pill if there was “little diarrhea”. I swear as we walked out of the store, she yelled “DIARRHEA!” over the door chime just to be mean.

The Takeaway: Always, always carry Pepto Bismal with you. Pharmacists can be evil. Comfort over mystery is not always a bad thing.

7 Comments on “Romance on the Road (or Gastro Meltdown in Amman)”

  1. Very nice Abby: Liked the empty toilet paper roll. Hope there is one coming up for Ireland. Write more!!!!. Hug to you both. Love mom

  2. That is awesome. I also love that in one of the places where they speak English as the primary language is where you have one of the largest communication divides.

  3. This just made me laugh so hard!!! I am headed to Mexico this summer and all I can think is this would be my life!!! I can’t wait to read more!!!

  4. Wow. Thank you so much for writing this blog. I’ve read a number of travel blogs since moving to Bangkok two months ago and not one of them seemed to be written by a real person. While in Thailand, I’ve been afflicted with the worst sunburn of my life, an inexplicable number of mysterious insect bites, more than my fair share of gastrointestinal issues, and some very intimate sweat-induced itching. I thought, why am I not a hippie boho-chic goddess like every other female traveler out there?! But this reminds me that’s it’s really all part of the grand adventure!

    • Welcome to Bangkok. My boyfriend and I loved living there for six months…despite the foot worms, spider bites, food poisoning and leeches. Also, my hair reached astronomical new heights in the humidity. But trust me, everyone is sweating under those adorable long, flowy dresses. Some of my favorite spots to eat: Have an amazing time and thanks for commenting!

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