The “D” Word Exposed

Living in a foreign country can have varying affects on you. Adjusting to new customs, new weather, new language, new food, all takes its toll. Sometimes the latter, the gastronomic affects, can be some of the hardest adjustments to make, and it’s not just making sure there’s no pigeon in your soup.

Initally when I thought of the “D” word I thought it was fairly straight-forward in terms of Cairo. But then, thinking further, I realized that Dust, Dirt, Debris, Decibles, Desert, Donkey, Deafening, and Driving, could all apply. So let me just spell it out for you: D-I-A-R-R-H-E-A.

Since moving to Cairo, the number of diarrhea discussions I’ve been privy to has skyrocketed. Prior to Cairo, diarrhea was probably not in the top 10,000 topic-list, unless it was cat diarrhea (which might have made the top 9,000 topic-list). Unfortunately, here in Cairo it’s a fact of life.

Luckily it’s not a constant or chronic one, but anytime a bunch of dips go out to eat you can hear a hushed gasp or see physical flinching when someone’s glass comes with ice in it. We’re told to avoid anything to do with non-bottled water, which includes ice cubes. When my mother was here in the 1980s she was also told not to even brush her teeth with the tap water. Because our house water is filtered we feel safe cooking and cleaning with it, however drinking water we purchase and I’ve recently even moved the cats onto bottled water (Dip cats indeed!). In addition to shunning the poor icecube, we’ve all mastered the casual inspection of one’s silverware, plates and glassware prior to use.

We recently ate lunch at a small restaurant out in Bahariya when we went camping in the White Desert (which remains on my list of “Bloggable Items”) and our silverware came with some chunks already on it. We all discretely tried to chip away at them and did our best to not touch our lips or teeth to the actual implement (the skills one acquires as a dip never fail to amaze/amuse me). I have subsequently purchased camping silverware that we can carry with us for future similar expeditions.

Ron kind of summed up the diarrhea issue when we had a houseguest and he said, “It’s just diarrhea. You’re among friends.” Sadly that’s what Cairo brings you to – breaking down the diarrhea-discussion barrier. Luckily, in addition to discussing it, we also have some great local pharmaceutical remedies that we all have on hand in every bathroom. So, while this D-word is probably not something worthy of a license plate or t-shirt, and I don’t expect to see it on the Egyptian Chamber of Commerce logo, it definitely takes its place among the Top Ten D-Word Dip Discussions. Now, who’s our next houseguest?