Monday, April 8, 2013

F is for Farmacia and Fast Food

As I'm sure you figured out, farmacia means pharmacy.

When we travel, it's not unusual that one of us gets sick. On this particular trip, my boyfriend succumbed to the heat. Upon arrival at our usual cheap, basic and somewhat seedy hostal he took to the bed at 9 at night and declared himself semi-dead. When it comes to sickness, he's actually more dramatic than I am. So, it was left to me to get some food and medicine.

I went down the narrow, rickety staircases to ask an incredibly helpful desk attendant where I could find food. "Food, at this time of night?" he asked me. Did I mention it was 9 p.m.? "Um, yeah, I'm hungry." He gave me a disapproving look (because, you know, I chose to be hungry and I hadn't just been on a bus for the last 24 hours). "Well, I'm sure you could find a KFC somewhere, that's about all you'll get." He shook his head in disdain at my incredible stupidity and averted his attention back to his computer to let me know that the conversation was over. You should know that for the most part, people in this part of the world are obsessed with chicken. They "go out for chicken" like we might grab a pizza or something, except that they eat chicken all the time. I'm not a huge fan of fast food myself and I was pretty sure that KFC would not help my close to dead boyfriend get better.

Not to be discouraged, I set off for a walk around the city. To my dismay, the desk attendant was right. EVERYTHING was closed. When you walk down city streets in South America at night, all you see is metal bars and metal grates and padlocked doors. Actually, walking around in the dark in a strange city by yourself, especially if you're a woman, is not a great idea. But, I decided not to wander too far and it seemed like a tranquil part of the city, and as I think I mentioned it was only 9! What the desk attendant didn't mention to me was that there were cockroaches. Not little cockroaches, like size of my palm big cockroaches everywhere . Some of them were squashed dead but most of them were just scuttling about- like hundreds- or at least one on each sidewalk square block thing. UGH. I was not able to take a picture because I was terrified to take my eyes off of the ground, lest one of them should take my lack of vigilance as an opportunity to crawl up my legs (because, cockroaches pay attention to the vigilance of pedestrians). I abandoned my efforts after about five minutes and did the cockraoch jumping dance all the way back to the hostal. I'm sure that, had anyone been watching me out of their window, they would have had quite a laugh. Still, I couldn't get over how early everything closed. Previous to the trip, I read in someone's travel blog that this city was like the New York of South America...were we in the same place??

In the hostal, I bought some crackers and chips and stuff from the receptionist and went up to our room. Luckily my boyfriend was sleeping, so I didn't have to break to him the fact that I hadn't found him any drugs until the morning. The next day, I went in search of a pharmacy. I was relieved to see that the cockroaches were gone- I didn't see them again until it got dark out. I was able to find a pharmacy called SANA SANA which gave my boyfriend quite a laugh. SANA SANA is like saying "get well, get well" which is a silly name, really. It's something mums might say to their offsping. There's also a song- "sana, sana, colita de rana..."

Image from

To my dismay, the drugs I got for him seemed to make him worse. His health detoriated throughout the trip, and we ended up heading home earlier than expected to seek medical care. Turned out to be a fungal infection caused by eating lobster and not helped by the bad medication the pharmacy gave to me. I suppose that's to be expected from a place called SANA SANA (and, you know, me trusting them).


Ermie said...

Sounds like you did the right thing going home early. Such a shame to miss out on the rest of the trip.

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

Thank you for visiting my place

Marie said...

Oh, you gave me the creeps--cockroaches!!! I used to live over a sushi restaurant in Japan and we had a horrible cockroach problem.

Nick Wilford said...

You painted a great picture with this post. I've travelled in South America myself but wasn't afflicted with cockroaches thankfully!

Shannon said...

Boys are always the most pitiful and dramatic patients. I don't even want to think about venturing out among huge cockroaches! I had to read that part really fast. ugh. What a great story, though! Thanks for the comment on my blog as well!