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September 25, 2008



Patterson's list makes sense, but I disagree with the bit about skipping the antimalarial pills. It's not true that people who live in malarial areas don't get the disease. They do. It remains a major killer. Take the pills.

Whether or not you want to drink the tap water depends on what's in the tap water. In some places, the water's OK except for the bacterial strains that will make you really sick for a few days, assuming you're there long enough. Other places, the water's got cheery things like asbestos and other chemcials in it. Even if it doesn't make you sick, you don't want to drink it. Sometimes the U.S. embassy will have recently tested the water so they might be willing to pass on the results. (I lived for a few years in southern Africa. The water pipes were embedded with asbestos, they had millions of cracks, most of the pipes were not all that deep underneath pastures populated by grazing cows, and it rained a lot. More stuff leaked into the pipes than out. I boiled and filtered water every day.)


My most memorable "the kindness of strangers" experience was in 1979 in Greece. Five friends (all college students) and I were traveling near Athens a few days before Christmas. We had no definite plans, and were a little stuck lodging-wise because of the holidays. A young man seated across from us on a train invited all of us to his home in a small village not far from Athens. We accepted (strength in numbers I think) and had an incredible time. Think tiny village and home (there was only one telephone in the entire village), orange tree branches braided through our windows, olive groves across the way, young carolers waking us Christmas morning, our first taste of rabbit, and more. I am still struck by this man and his family's generosity and warmth.



I'm envious in retrospect. I'd love to go to a small town in Greece in the warm embrace of a local and his family! That's such a great story.


I'm with you on this. I have no interest in taking some of the risks Patterson takes. I'd rather have as comfortable a trip as possible...there are enough bumps in the road when traveling in a new place.

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