Whenever I travel, I always have certain things with me in my bag. I had a bad reaction to some food in Egypt (actually, me and all of my friends did) so having the proper pills in my suitcase was enormously helpful. Since then, I always travel with Tums & Imodium, no mater where I go.
My stomach troubles started in St. Petersburg. After trying several different dishes, I finally had to realize that Russian food just wasn’t going to sit well with my stomach. I had to do what I NEVER do—eat American fast food on vacation!
Being ill on vacation isn’t fun, and it can cast a shadow on the happiness of the adventure, so I tried my best to not let it bother me. Thankfully my friend was really nice and was willing to walk slower and take taxis when I needed to.
One day we had somewhere to go which was a bit of a metro ride from the center of town. I didn’t think it was a good idea to take the metro because my stomach was a bubbling mess, so we hopped in a taxi.
We found a taxi driver but he wouldn’t open the doors. We showed him on our map where we wanted to go, but he kept shaking his head and from his tone, we could tell he was letting us know that he wasn’t going the way we wanted to.
We both kept saying, “PLEASE!!” in Russian (the app I bought on my phone taught us how to say that) and I think he looked at me and realized I wasn’t feeling well. He felt sorry for us and let us get in his cab.
He drove for about 15 minutes and took us to a metro stop. We really didn’t understand what was going on until he got out of the car and started talking to another taxi driver. He then motioned for us to get out and get in the car with the other taxi driver. Um…okay. So we get out of his taxi, hopped in the taxi with the other guy and he takes off.
Now, this is where it gets interesting.
Our 2nd driver must have wanted to be a racecar driver when he was a child because seriously, he was going so fast my friend and I immediately put on our seat belts and were holding on to the door because we were sliding around in the backseat.
Then our driver started racing with other cars on the road. Literally. He would take off and was weaving in and out of traffic, driving ridiculously close to other cars while trying to pass them. He was driving at breakneck speeds while I was in the backseat with one hand over my stomach, the other over my eyes, trying not to let the contents in my stomach end up on the back of his seat.
We were in his taxi for 30 minutes. 30 minutes of being tossed about like waves in a very rocky ocean. Since we didn’t know where we were going or had no idea how to say, “Hey! Are you taking the long way?” in Russian, we couldn’t really do anything about it.
I was way too fragile at that point to even think about getting out of his taxi and getting into another one. Oh, did I mention he was blasting his music, which was some type of Russian rap/rock and actually turned it up even louder as he was racing through the streets of St. Petersburg?
We finally made it to where we were going and I was never so happy to get out of a car. So with my stomach gurgling and my ears ringing, we paid him and couldn’t get out of the taxi fast enough.
Unfortunately it took about another day for my stomach to calm down but thankfully it did. I had every intention of trying as much Russian food as possible, but I had to listen to my stomach. I didn’t put anything else in it that wasn’t either bought from the store and eaten at our apartment or made from Subway or McDonald’s. Go figure.
So what’s the moral of this story? When you travel, ALWAYS have as much medication with you as you can carry, even if you never had issues in your home country. You never know when something might make you ill and you need to be prepared.
You do not want to be in a foreign country, unable to communicate your immediate needs and have to try to figure out what the pharmacy has that can help you. So trust me, pack some Imodium and Tums in your bag, you won’t be sorry.
Do you know I work for a major airline as a baggage handler? Read about what I do here.
Have you ever gotten sick on vacation? Have you ever had a crazy taxi ride?