January 20, 2004: Headlines: COS- Samoa: PCVs in the Field - Samoa: Blogs - Samoa: Personal Web Site: Wacky Fish in Samoa

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Samoa: Peace Corps Samoa : The Peace Corps in Samoa: January 20, 2004: Headlines: COS- Samoa: PCVs in the Field - Samoa: Blogs - Samoa: Personal Web Site: Wacky Fish in Samoa

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-43-253.balt.east.verizon.net - on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 12:15 pm: Edit Post

Wacky Fish in Samoa

Wacky Fish in Samoa

Wacky Fish in Samoa

The one in which Dorie wishes for death.

Up until recently I have been very lucky health wise. My stomach adjusted to the local flora and fauna quickly. And other than a cold I got during training (It’s a cold I often get when the weather outside is hot and I frequently move from an inside AC environment to an outside humid environment.) I have been amazingly healthy. I certainly had my fair share of annoyances like mosquito bites, indigestion (taro and pepe take a while for our sensitive Palagie tummies to figure out), cuts and scrapes. But I’m not sure I have ever experienced anything as miserable as food poisoning.

Wednesday I went to Maries Café right next to the PC office for lunch. They have a great fish steak. Which I have had (without the following food poisoning) at least a dozen times. It is a huge amount of fish, well prepared, and usually comes with veggies and a salad (or what passes as a salad). It’s good, it’s healthy, and it’s even reasonably priced.

Let me say a few things here about fish preparation. In my humble experience there are really only three results of cooking fish. The first is dry overcooked fish. This is not always a bad thing as you are assured that any bad things laying in wait to make you sick are now dead. But it is not preferable. The second is undercooked fish (such as the kind I had on Wednesday). The outside may appear well cooked but inside the flesh is still pink and slimy. And the third is perfectly cooked fish. It has been cooked to the perfect point of not overdone, and just done enough. This is not an easy point to find and as a chef I tend to just default to overcooking just in case.

I noticed that the fish steak was slightly undercooked when it came to our table on Wednesday. But it didn’t bother me much as I have been eating a lot of sashimi lately and I figured my stomach could handle a little undercooking. Unfortunately the fish we were eating at the café must not have been Sushi grade fish, and my stomachs ability to “handle it” was greatly underestimated.

As I went back to work after lunch on Wednesday I noticed I didn’t feel so well. I spent most of the afternoon sitting my office whishing I had had… anything else for lunch. After work I went home, had some toast, and tried to fall asleep on my couch watching a movie, hoping the ick tummy would go away. I finally crawled to bed around 10. Only to be woken by the most gut wrenching stomach cramps I have ever had in my life around midnight. It felt similar to what I imagine it felt like for the poor guys in Alien when the creatures burst out of there abdomens. I spent the rest of the night in the bathroom throwing up. By the time what was left of lunch and dinner toast had exited, my tummy moved on to attempting to expel nothing. Which is always fun.

I spent so much time tired, and sick in my bathroom that at one point I thought I heard a giant chipmunk come through my front door. Please note, there are no chipmunks on the Samoan Islands. After which my next thought was… “Hey great! Now I am hallucinating”. (Your sarcasm meter should be going off).

Thursday morning I laid in bed and wished for death. Work was simply out of the question. I slept all morning. Around noon I got up and the cramping and wrenching had stopped. Now I was just exhausted, dehydrated and sore. Attempting to drink waster brought the symptoms of the night before right back and so I stopped consuming anything at all. About three I went into town to see the PCMO who told me I needed to try at drink some liquids. I stopped and got my mail and a movie as well since I planned on being at home and miserable all evening. (Oh and I updated my journal for yesterday.)

This morning I had a piece of toast and water. It seems to be staying down ok. We shall see.

I can’t very well avoid fish eating fish here. It is about the healthiest thing you can get. And moreover I wouldn’t want to, I like it. I may however be much less timid about sending fish back to the kitchen to be cooked a little longer if I ever find it still pink in the middle with a slightly slimy texture.

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Our debt to Bill Moyers Our debt to Bill Moyers
Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS- Samoa; PCVs in the Field - Samoa; Blogs - Samoa



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