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.