Being a Jimmy

In his recent blog  “Beyond Me, Myself, and I: Four Ideas for Escaping the First-Person Bubble,” Ben Huberman talks about using other voices in prose.  One idea is to communicate as the fictional “Jimmy,” recalling that character from the TV series Seinfeld.  This is a technique I particularly like to use, and I commented:

I especially like the use of a Jimmy. For several years now, we have been blogging using alter egos (our version of Jimmys) in our travel blogs. “They” are so much more open in their writing, so innocent, so easily impressed. We would never be able to say what they say. It’s nice to have our approach “validated.” Thank you.

For example, our alter egos  wrote about a visit to Angkor Wat in 2013:

(Indelible memory: sitting on a ledge of a library at Angkor Wat, waiting for the sun to rise, listening to a serious discussion by a former Buddhist priest about farting as a symptom of the body being out-of-balance)

I would never be able to write about such an indelicate subject.

L’Estomac de PLOMB

L’Estomac de PLOMB

This story really begins many years ago when we vacationed in a popular all-inclusive resort in a popular Mexican town. You would recognize the resort and town if I named them, so I won’t. In addition to the spartan, yet not unattractive, rooms and very attractive beaches, pictures of the resort featured their water purification plant. Yet when we arrived, the staff failed (1) to mention that their water purification plant had failed and (2) to offer any potable water.  Predictable, this fairly quickly led to a realization that the one toilet in the room (and the one roll of toilet paper) was not sufficient for someone who was “sick at both ends,” as they say. Since only one of us was sick, the other went to the resort’s infirmary for advise and medicine. He was met by a huge line of other vacationers outside the office. Finally at the front of the line, as he remarked on the length of the line, he was told that no one at the resort was sick. He took the one pill he was given back to the room. Within minutes, this pill was vomited up, and so back he went for another pill… This was probably the exact moment that we decided never to be in that situation again. We would be prepared for any third world country.

Fast forward to February 2013. That year we traveled around the world, embarking from Miami on a trans-Atlantic cruise ship as far as Rome. After 10 days at sea, we stopped at Malaga, Spain, and enjoyed our first wonderful meal off the ship. Knowing that we were headed to countries where we could not trust the water or many foods, we were relieved to be in a food-safe country. Two days later, the ship stopped at Barcelona, a city we had visited several years before.  We decided to eat on Las Ramblas at a restaurant we remembered fondly from that earlier visit. What could go wrong? Food poisoning is what could go wrong. By the next morning, back on the ship, I was delirious. The ship’s infirmary was efficient, and, after a day in bed, I was recovered enough to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa the following day.  We did not get sick in any of the countries that we had worried about: Egypt, India, Thailand, or Cambodia. I got sick in Spain!

Now we are headed back to to try our luck and test our preparation for more tummy-unfriendly countries: Thailand (again), Laos, and Vietnam. In addition to the antimalarial medicine Malerone, which kills bad stomach bacteria, we have packed a PLOMB kit of over-the-counter medicines:

  • Probiotics, to improve digestion
  • Loperamide, an anti-diarrheal (“Imodium”)
  • Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS), to replace fluids lost by diarrhea
  • Melatonin, a sleep aid
  • Bismuth subsalicylate, for relief from diarrhea and upset stomach (“Pepto Bismol”)

We do not wish to revisit l’estomac de PLOMB or le PLOMB fondu!

(With apologies to Francophiles around the world for phrases that translate literally as “the stomach of lead” and “molten lead”)


Oops – whooo am I?

Barred owl

Well, how embarrassing. The 6″ Fire HD has a very small screen. I didn’t notice that I had spelled my screen name incorrectly, and thus I created a blog with the “wrong” name. The sole purpose of this blog post is to redirect any reader to the correct blog:

BTW, this picture was added with an iPad. I still don’t know how to add a picture with the Fire.

Thank you, and now we return to our regularly scheduled programming…


The First Post

This is our first WordPress post. We have blogged before, but not with WordPress. We blog to document travels, so that family and friends can follow our adventures. The first three blogs covered a trip to India, a trip around the world, and another trip to India (our third visit there). The next blog will cover our next visit to Southeast Asia in February (next month!). This class should get us prepared for this new blog.

Usually, we describe factually what we have observed, but try to personalize each entry with some observations about individuals we have observed, the human element. We see that people are people no matter where in the world they live. We try to post each day. Sometimes something special happens that deserves its own post. Sometimes it is just important to talk about some topic.

We are also very interested in photography and try to add at least one picture to each post. These pictures also help us remember what happened to us each day.

This time we will be blogging using only an amazon Fire HD. Previously we have used a combination of iPad and android tablet, since neither one could adequately handle both text and pictures. We hope to learn how to blog with only the Fire.

So far we don’t know how to add pictures to the Fire blog, but hopefully we will learn that before we leave.