Desert Food Poisoning

We were on a 3-day tour that took us through Salar de Uyuni and the Bolivian deserts. One four by four car, one driver, six passengers. There are no restaurants or shops on the way. The food is stored in containers, managed by the driver who was also the guide and the cook. The meals were fine and plenty, although some of it was pre-cooked.

On the last day of the tour, one of my Canadian friends wasn’t feeling well. She didn’t sleep well the night before. I could hear her getting up from bed several times during the night. She still made an effort to enjoy the final day of the tour.

As the tour ended, I crossed the border into Chile with my two Canadian friends. After getting a room in San Pedro of Atacama, my sick friend went straight to bed. Vomiting, diarrheas, a slight fever, and tiredness were her symptoms. It looked like food poisoning.

I went for a walk in the little Chilean town with my other Canadian friend. By the time we sat down for lunch, she also wasn’t feeling well so I took her back to the hostel to join her friend. The day ended with me cooking a plain veggie rice and making sure they both had plenty of water. I also gave them some of my rehydration solution packets. They spent the next day in bed recovering, while I went out exploring the beautiful Atacama Desert on my own.

I thought about what could have caused my friends sickness. The only thing that came to mind was the food on the tour. We ate the same food in the previous 4/5 days, but I had no issues. Maybe my Mediterranean diet protected me on this one. Maybe having traveled longer better prepared my body. Maybe I was just lucky again.

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