I traveled, I ate, I got home, I got sick.
Let's back up... There are more than a few "been there" dots on my travel map. My first big trip abroad was to Egypt. I thought I knew The Rules of eating abroad, but I wasn't experienced enough to really think them through. The rules are: Cook, Boil, Peel, Seal. Don't eat any meat that isn't COOKED, don't drink water unless it's BOILED, don't eat any fruits or veggies that you can't PEEL, and don't drink any beverages that aren't in a SEALED bottle. Easy enough, but when you live in the US and you're used to eating almost anything in sight, you take that ease for granted. I was staying at the Four Seasons so I figured I was going to be fine. One evening I ordered up some hummus. In hindsight: mistake. Hummus isn't cooked, it's made with rinsed chickpeas. I'm sure I may have eaten something else in the meantime, but a couple days later I was cursed with Mummy Tummy. I felt so sick that day that I didn't want to eat anything heavy, so I ordered a salad. D'oh! Salad is raw, and the contents are rinsed in water. And I had soda with ice. Made with local water. Let's say I learned my lesson after that trip. I was well enough to work through my itinerary, but I was so bloated for 2 weeks I looked like I could birth a baboon.
When I returned to home, the very next day my stomach was a hot mess. It went on for a couple weeks until I visited my doctor, she wrote out a Rx, and I thought I was all cured a couple weeks later. Until last Monday when all hell broke loose and the illness made a mean resurgence. I'll spare the gory details, but I was in the ER for 8 hours on an IV, pain meds, and anti-nausea meds until they deemed it safe to release me into the wild. Turns out that the Peruvian stowaway in my stomach could have been from water (but see explanation below), or some jerk in a restaurant didn't wash their hands before handling my food (sez my doc). Turns out that's the most likely explanation.
The point is, you can follow all the rules, but sometimes there are other factors involved. Hell, I'd be MORE prone to eat street meat next time because at least I can see it being prepared, cooked, handled, and straight into my mouth. Get in my belly! It turns out that what I had/have is pretty common and can be picked up easily in the US as well, although I was one of the special ones to be rewarded with doting at the hands of some handsome doctors. We know not what lurks on the hands of humanity and if it was smeared all over your delicious sandwich. Or spaghetti.
Was it worth it? Hell yes. I'd do it all again. Pass the salt.