There’s a common myth that if you travel in India you’re going to be confined to bathrooms along your route. In my 14 years there I’ve been stricken once only. And that was in a 4* hotel in Delhi which came highly recommended.
I was careful about what I ate so I can’t put it down to the food. I suspect that it involved a lazy Housekeeper who filled the water jug in the room from the tap rather than with filtered water. I arrived late and tired. I was too lazy to ring for bottled water and put up with all the form signing etc so I took a chance.
Bad mistake. I lost two days of my travel time due to solitary confinement.
In Raheem Residency, we bring twice-filtered water to your room in a jug at check-in time. We don’t bring it to you in sealed bottles because we are furiously anti-plastic. But we stand over what we bring you.
Tip No.1: Always check the source of the water in your room if it’s not in a sealed bottle.
In our eleven years of operations in Raheem Residency we had one case only of Delhi Belly. I couldn’t understand it. Our track record was nothing short of excellent. So I did a bit of investigation. The previous night I’d eaten the same dish as the guest. And I had no after-effects. Then I poked around a bit more. He had eaten a meal from somewhere else in the meantime. And there are lots of excellent alternatives around us in Alleppey. But you need to know where to go. He didn’t. He also lost two days of his holiday.
Tip No.2: Choose carefully if you eat in venues that are further down the money scale.
For example the top street vendors – the Indian equivalent of the American hot-dog stand – can produce the best snacks. That’s because these treats eg samosas, bhajis etc are cooked in fat at high temperatures thus killing off any potential harmful bacteria in the process. The immediate environment can definitely be shabby so keep one eye closed!
On the other hand, buffets in hotels are hugely popular. There’s a great variety of dishes and for those who like the principal of ‘Eat as much as you like’ this eating experience is almost like a dream come true. But I’ve never had a buffet – even at 5* level – that is steaming hot. So I become suspicious.
Tip No.3: Be prepared for lukewarm buffets.
Common sense rules should prevail. Wash raw fruit and vegetables thoroughly if you’re going to munch on them. Avoid salad leaves that may have been washed under the tap. It’s not too difficult. A good salad is hard to find.
And for the cure, make sure you have packed your digestive ‘cement’ and stay well-hydrated – include some electrolytes which you can find in any pharmacy.
But let’s not hammer our beloved India especially for this curse.I ndia has no such exclusivity. The same undesirable condition also comes with the monikers Montezuma’s revenge (S America), traveller’s trots (universal?) and ugh! so much more.