Friday, January 29, 2010

Health and Well Being in Ecuador

I woke up this morning and after walking the dog and getting my first cup of coffee, I sat down to read my email as I do every morning. My Sister-In-Law Phyllis had sent me the funniest email. I don’t usually pass these type of emails along, but the timing was so appropriate in conjunction with this entry that I just had to include it so here it is...

Women & public loos

When you have to visit a public toilet, you usually find a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place.

Once it's your turn, you check for feet under the cubicle doors.
Every cubicle is occupied.
Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the cubicle.
You get in to find the door won't latch.
It doesn't matter, the wait has been so long you are about to wet your pants!
The dispenser for the modern 'seat covers' (invented by someone's Mum, no doubt) is handy, but empty.
You would hang your bag on the door hook, if there was one, so you carefully, but quickly drape it around your neck, (Mum would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!) down with your pants and assume ' The Stance.
In this position, your aging, toneless, thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but having not taken time to wipe the seat or to lay toilet paper on it, you hold 'The Stance.'
To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser.
In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, 'Dear, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!' Your thighs shake more.
You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the one that's still in your bag (the bag around your neck, that now you have to hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same time).
That would have to do, so you crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It's still smaller than your thumbnail.
Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn't work.
The door hits your bag, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest and you and your bag topple backward against the tank of the toilet.
'Occupied!' you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, while losing your footing altogether and sliding down directly onto the TOILET SEAT.
 It is wet of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late.
 Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper - not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try.
You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because you're certain her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear,
'You just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could get.
By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl and spraying a fine mist of water that covers your bum and runs down your legs and into your shoes.
The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force and you grab onto the empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.
At this point, you give up. You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're exhausted..
 You try to wipe with a sweet wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks.
You can't figure out how to operate the taps with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women still waiting
You are no longer able to smile politely to them..
A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. (Where was that when you NEEDEDit?)
You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it in the woman's hand and tell her warmly, 'Here, you just might need this.
As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used and left the men's toilet.
Annoyed, he asks, 'What took you so long and why is your bag hanging around your neck?
This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with any public rest rooms/toilets (rest??? you've GOT to be kidding!!).
It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers that other commonly asked question about why women go to the toilets in pairs.
 It's so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your bag and hand you Kleenex under the door.
This HAD to be written by a woman!
No one else could describe it so accurately.
Send this to all women that need a good laugh.
A Friend Is Like A Good Bra....
Hard to Find
Always Lifts You Up
Never Lets You Down or Leaves You Hanging
And Is Always Close To Your Heart!!! Share this with a friend!
I Just Did!

O.K. on with my entry. There is a lot of conflicting information out there about whether or not the water is safe to drink in Ecuador. Everyone pretty much agrees that any of the better hotels are safe as far as the water goes, but beyond that is a debate. In light of that information just to be on the safe side we will only be drinking bottled water and no ice please.

Next make sure that you only eat fresh fruit and vegetables that can be peeled unless you are certain that the establishment serving them has very strict levels of food handling. I know at least one of the hotels we are staying at advertises on their website that their on premise restaurant uses produce only grown in their very own gardens and they take great care in the preparation of their food.

My best advice would be to steer clear of the street vendors unless you are certain they are safe.

Below is a list of some of the things we will be taking with us to hopefully minimize the risk of any health issues.

1. Antibacterial wipes 

2. Toilet paper (we hear that some of the public restrooms leave a lot to be desired).

3. Charcoal Caplets (The altitude can do some pretty unpleasant things to your  system).

4. Cold Medicine (apparently very hard to come by).

5. Acidophilus tablets - start taking these a week before you leave and continue for the remainder of the trip as this will help head off any nasty stomach problems that are usually a part of travel and a change in diet.

6. Sunblock and hats - The Ecuadorian sun can be brutal. Especially on a cloudyday you can be fooled and end up with a terrible burn.

7. Appropriate clothing - This ought to be really interesting as the average temperature in Cuenca is in the 50’s at night and the low to mid 70’s during the day. Needless to say we will be packing a little of everything. The key is to layer your clothing. Rather than  bulky items it is best to layer items such as T-shirts and lightweight jackets and remove layers as the weather warms up. my rule of thumb is no clothing that can’t be tied around my waist or shoved into a backpack. My concern is that I get really cold very easily. Lindsay says I need a jacket when it’s 75 out and the sad part is she is almost right. I’m just hoping I don’t spend my vacation shivering.

8. Last but not least I can’t stress enough how important a good pair of walking shoes are. Especially when walking on uneven surfaces such as cobblestone streets. Make the investment and you will never regret it. The only shoes I will be taking are a pair of walking shoes for the days we will be sightseeing and a pair of tennis shoes for walking around the hotels and their  grounds. I will also take a pair of flip flops for lounging in the room as well as around the hotel.                      

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