I have “Central America Stomach.” That’s what I’m calling it. It’s a legit name, apparently, because it actually yields results when I Google it. It began on the morning we boarded the bus from San Salvador down to Nicaragua five days ago, and it’s only been getting worse since then.
First it was only in the evenings, after I’d had a few small meals throughout the day. I would feel the cramps beginning and politely excuse myself to use the bathroom. When I came back from the bathroom my traveling companion (whom I shall now call “B” in these posts) would laugh at how pale and traumatized I looked. I don’t blame him — I would have laughed too if it didn’t hurt so much to do so.
Now, whenever I eat or drink anything, even water, the pain starts immediately. I’ve never gotten sick during any previous trips so this is extremely foreign to me, and it’s been years since I had any serious stomach ailment at all, traveling or not. I’m trying not to be a wimp about it. These are probably the most foreign physical symptoms I’ve ever had, and this is definitely the most foreign country I’ve ever visited. Coincidence?
My stomach isn’t the only part of me that’s been rejecting these surroundings. Things won’t stick in my head here — the monetary conversion, no matter how many times I go over it, is something I have not been able to remember. Spanish words, things that I used to know in school when I was younger, are now completely unfamiliar to me. My ears aren’t receptive to the accent and my skin is so dry that one of my lips is almost constantly bleeding. The ground is too sandy and wet for shoes but it hurts my blistered feet without them.
I know — major case of “first-world problems” right here. I’m not trying to complain — discomfort is something I expect no matter where I travel, and I knew going in that stomach problems are often a major issue for people traveling in Central America — but I guess I’m just disappointed. Emotionally and intellectually, I’m really enjoying this region of the world so far, but my body clearly isn’t as impressed. It hasn’t stopped rejecting Central America since I arrived.
Hopefully another few beautiful strolls around Little Corn Island and several more delicious shots of Pepto Bismol will do the trick.