Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Don’t drink the water

I cannot swim in this pool or sip its blue nectar.

I’ve stayed in many hotels where I haven’t been allowed to drink the water (for my own health). They were in Guatemala, in India, in Mexico, in Malaysia, in China, in Colombia … places where we delicate gringos get hit with puking disease when we have a sip. In India, my friend Abigail slapped a big square of duct tape over her mouth for each shower she took so she would avoid taking a sip.

I’m in the US right now, but was handed a letter upon check in to this Best Western that the water is unsafe to drink. They handed me two bottles of “Sunny Select Premium Drinking Water” and told me there were many more bottles if I needed them.

Apparently, the water is flush with bacteria: the Department of Public Works is doing work on the city’s water system under the main street through town. I was warned not to brush my teeth with the water, and the pool is barricaded.

I took a shower this morning. I did a good job avoiding swallowing the water. I have dutifully used my bottled water for brushing my teeth.

The person at the front desk this morning didn’t seem to want to give me any more water. "Didn’t you get some bottled water when you checked in?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “And I was told that I could come back and get as much water as I wanted.”

He harrumphed and passed me two bottles. I thanked him and returned to my room.

Now I watch CNN and see the desperate people in China and Myanmar who have no clean water at all. And no homes. And corrupt, horrible governments. And I will drive to the next town where I can drink the water.

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