Just under a year ago, I embarked on my first journey outside of the contiguous United States to the magical land of Peru in South America. For two weeks, I worked interpreting in a hospital in a small town before making my way to Lima, the country’s capital, to live with a host family and take a few classes.A lot of things about Peru are much different than the United States. The language they speak is one of them. In the US, we speak English, but down there, they speak Spanish. Now that you understand that cultural complexity, let’s take a look at one of the other big differences: the food.
Everybody knows that you shouldn’t drink the water (unless filtered) down in South America, and since the food made on the street is cooked with that same water, you can’t trust local vendors. This was a fact I was made well aware of, and with a long history of poop related trauma in my life, I made sure that I was eating clean while I was down there. There was one Peruvian delicacy, though, that I was desperate to try: cuy, which is the Peruvian Spanish word for “guinea pig.” That’s right. I’m a monster.
One afternoon in Lima I ventured out to the closest restaurant I could that prepared this exotic cuisine, and after six beers on an empty stomach to numb myself from what I was about to do, I sat down to lunch. This is what I ate:
Honestly, it wasn’t bad. Lots of bones to eat around, but it tasted like chicken with the texture of duck. Would I have it again? No. But that has nothing to do with my enjoyment of the meal. It has everything to do with the digestive destruction it brought unto my body.
The day after absolutely housing a rodent, I strutted home from class to a local gas station that had an ATM for me to withdraw money and pay my host family. Upon my arrival and mere moments into getting through my transaction at the machine, I felt a sharp, stabbing, excruciating pain in my gut. It’s what I imagine a contraction feels like. With sweat beginning to drip from my head and my butt cheeks clenching more and more with each breath, it soon became apparent that at any given moment, my rectal sphincter would open up and release a hellish, brown, liquified guinea pig – regardless of whether or not my anus was positioned over a toilet.
I quickly pocketed my money, penguin-walked to the bathrooms, and let my jaw drop in silent horror at the sight of both bathrooms being occupied. I am not a religious guy, and I never have been. But in that moment, I prayed to God, Buddha, Jewish God, and Allah to give me just a few more minutes of butthole control. As if Jesus himself floated down to Lima and personally corked my grumbling asshole, I was somehow able to maintain my composure over the next three minutes as I waited desperately for someone to exit the can.
Gut punch number two came as that lavatory door swung open: women’s room. Now in this situation, there’s two kinds of people. The first kind is the guy with self-control. He’ll purse his balloon knot and tough it out, knowing that he can handle waiting until the men’s room opens. I’m not that guy. I’m the second guy:
I immediately made a dash toward the women’s room, warranting shouts of protests from the man and woman behind the counter of the gas station, yelling, “¡No, no! Es solo para mujeres! ¡No puedas usarlo! ¡Señor!” That loosely translates to, “Dear God no. Don’t do it you disgusting bastard. Don’t even think about defiling that women’s room with sour water, you pathetic American piece of garbage!”
I responded only with a hand outstretched and screaming, “Emergencia,” at the top of my lungs as I charged into the open restroom. My rear end was barely hovering over the porcelain before I felt my anal dam burst and a downpour of mud spill out of me.
The look of horror on their faces as I exited that bathroom was nothing compared to the look of impending doom that I saw as the smell floated over to them. It only got worse as I had to return not fifteen minutes later due to the fact that in my poopy panic, I had not taken out enough money.
Before reading this blog, you probably didn’t know all of that about me. Now that you’ve read it, you know every agonizing moment of the fecal frenzy I endured. That does not bother me, though, because when you’ve looked a Peruvian woman in the eyes after she watched you sprint to take a dump in a gas station women’s room while screaming at the top of your lungs, there’s nothing in this world that can ever embarrass you again.