Don’t drink the water with the brandy

What is the number one rule when travelling? Well, I really wish I was better at following rules.

At the end of my first day in Africa, after a really great day of exploring and dinner with a new friend, I was back at the hostel, getting ready for bed, when an wise, old, regular invited me to join him for his nightcap of brandy. Of course I accepted.

Photo by Crystal Schick Rajiv, a fairly permanent resident at Kalulu Backpacker's Hostel in Lusaka, Zambi, Africa, smiles for a photo after a nightcap of brandy and water.

Photo by Crystal Schick
Rajiv, a fairly permanent resident at Kalulu Backpacker’s Hostel in Lusaka, Zambia, Africa, smiles for a photo after a nightcap of brandy and water.

As I sat, he cracked off the top of the mini brandy bottle and poured it into a glass. Then he grabbed a simple white one-litre jug, like the kind we would find vinegar in in Canada and topped my brand off with water. One sip and I was hooked. So sweet and smooth. One sip and I had also probably sealed my fate. That water. What was I thinking?

After a great late evening of talking philosophically about the world with the wisest East Indian Zambian I will likely ever meet, I hit the hay. My great evening with be remembered for the great conversation and for the lesson learned.

The next morning I woke up with the worst pain in my stomach. I’ll spare you the details, but that was yesterday, and here I sit today in the Rent to Own office with the same stomach pain. Tomorrow at 6 am we head out to the countryside, where I will be living with the locals, food and all, so here is to hoping that my stomach is back to normal by tomorrow.

-C

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