When most people travel, they take double-decker bus tours, buy cheesy souvenirs, snap corny photos, and attempt to immerse themselves in the culture.
I recently visited my best friend in Argentina. I didn't take double-decker bus tours around Buenos Aires, (though, much to my best friend's horror, I wanted to). I didn't snap corny photos (no, really, the only photos I have from the trip are of food, plants, and animal life). I didn't buy cheesy souvenirs either (the only souvenirs I came home with were two soccer jerseys for my nephews).
But I did somewhat take in the culture of Buenos Aires and a small town just south called San Miguel del Monte.
Mostly, I went all the way to Argentina and all I got was this lousy parasite.
From the start, we feasted on parilla-style steak and pastries called facturas. I made it a point to visit at least one of Anthony Bourdain's BA stops, so we went to El Cuartito for pizza. I even had homemade milanesa and fresh ice cream by the bucket load.
I spent some time out in the country on a farm in Monte. At night you could see every star in the sky. My nickname is Poca[hontas] so I was definitely in my element. It was a pretty neat experience.
But then I came home. For three days I had fever higher than a pot head at Woodstock and every night I would sweat like a sinner in church. I had terrible stomach cramps, and completely lost my appetite. I finally caved in to see a doctor and, after a little tapping here and some painful pressing there, countless tests, and plenty other extensive doctor activities, the news finally broke: "You have a protozoan parasite in your small intestine. You have all the symptoms of an infection from giardia lambia."
Now, there's no telling how I ingested this giardia lambia (characteristically known for its "smiley face" symbol), but the point is that it was ruthless. I'm writing this after being out of commission for over a week.
Moral of the story? It was a great trip, and seeing how I can't pinpoint an exact (or approximate) moment when I might have ingested giardia lambia, I have no regrets. Here are some non cheesy photos from my trip.
Sweet mother of Jesus. It took every ounce of me not to buy out the whole store with these