Crimean time

Food Poisoning!!!

Xenia, my beautiful, brilliant 19 year old translator, chided me about buying a meat filled pastry item from a street vendor. Not to worry, I told her, I've been doing this since I was a young lad in The Air Force, while I was overseas in Japan. I've always bought food items from street vendors tables, carts, and picnic containers from Mexico to Montana! Everything will be fine!!!

A few days later, I bought two meat filled pastries from this very same street vendor, and ate them for lunch. They tasted the very same as they did a few days earlier. Gee, why worry, because during over 28 years as a traveling salesman, I'd actually become immune to food poisoning. Except, I hadn't been a traveling salesman for over four years now.

What could be better than having a cup of hot chocolate before bedtime, and then slipping into a nice big warm bed, and what could be worst than waking up at 3:15 am with a gurgling stomach and diarrea???!!! A "root canal" is somewhat painful, yet the procedure will only last a few hours. Turing perfectly good food into a foul smelling, liquid chocolate milk remained for seven days!!!

"Why so long," you may ask? "I don't know," I will reply!!! Whenever I encountered this same problem in America, all it took was a quick trip to the store, and a bottle of Pink Pepto Bismol. Just a few swallows of this thick pink liquid, and all symptoms of this very embarassing problem would soon be gone!!! "Why don't they have Pepto Bismol in The Crimea," I will ask? "I don't know," you will reply!!!

I speak very little Russian, and I read hardly any. I needed to move from one apartment to another, on a Wednesday, and somehow managed to accomplish this task, without too many complications. I became well acquainted with the many functions, and unique abilities of the toilet at the new apartment in record time, and also how this particular receptical functions during odd hours of the night!!!

I was sick as a dog, the next morning, and I've often wondered why dogs eat grass when they are sick, and if they themselves ever receive food poisoning from eating a dead, fly infested rabbit, or some other road kill, they happened to find laying about. It is Winter, we have no green grass, and I was much too sick to walk down, and back up five flights of stairs anyway. Perhaps, in the future, I shall keep a small bundle of hay in the hall closet. It will also make a nice conversation piece.

Friday, I forced myself to go to work at Heidelburg House. Fortunately, Slice, a young University Student, who speaks English, dropped by to visit with me. Lets take a walk to City Center, I suggested, because I knew there would be some Pharmacy’s on they way.( Pharmacies are the “only” places carring “over the counter” medications.) The difficult part was describing my problem to Slice, so he could ask the Pharmacist for the proper medication. Several days before, Slice and I tried three different Pharmacies for some very common Aspirin, without any success. Although, there was one Pharmacy offering a box of 20 count Aspirin for $4.13. Good grief!!! I can buy a bottle of 100 count Aspirin almost anywhere in America for 99 cents!!! Then again, perhaps the Air Fare would be a bit costly.

Slice fully understood my predicament, and we entered a Pharmacy to purchase a cure. Unfortunately my favorite Pink Pepto Bismol is not available in The Crimea, so we purchased a box of 20 pills to treat my symptoms for only 28 cents! Yep, it stopped the symptoms within days, however three days later I was constipated!!! Then I needed something to reverse this trend, and once again regained my original symptoms! Is this the original vicious circle, or is this a newer version???

Apparently, the words "Sorry, Honey, not tonight, I've got a headache!!!" will be replaced by "Get outta the way Honey, I've gotta use the toilet!!!"

Joe K. Roberts

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