It’s a sweltering 27°c outside and hotter inside. I’m in bed riddled with illness, I’m sweating, shivering got stomach cramps and trying to figure out if I need to go to the loo or not. I’ve been struck with Scombroid poisoning.
We arrived in Paracas on Saturday after a four-hour bus journey in a very luxurious Cruz Del Sur bus from Lima. Paracas is a coastal town south of the capital. It’s beautiful, hot, dusty & dry.
We’re staying in a hotel we found online that is great but is situated in Pisco, about 10km from Paracas. Pisco is known around the world for two reasons, it lent its name to the drink & the town which used to be a major tourist hub was largely destroyed in 2007 by an earthquake. Resulting in all the tourist activity relocating to Paracas.
Sabina and I have both spent a lot of time in Asia so understand the need to be picky when choosing what to eat in some areas of the world. We’re careful to only drink bottled water, brush our teeth with bottled water, not eat salad washed in tap water or consume ice which may be made from tap water.
We woke up yesterday morning intent on heading to Paracas to explore the area. A taxi dropped us off at the main tourist area in Paracas, just before the main beach and right by the marina where boats leave for tours to the Ballestas Island. We wandered around the beach for a little while and were contemplating what to have for brunch.
There was a number of seafood restaurant shacks along the beach and one of them was able to lure us in, it looked good, there was a mix of locals and tourists sitting out front so we didn’t think much of it. Sabina doesn’t eat seafood so ordered vegetarian rice, that was essentially a rice vegetable stir-fry. I didn’t fancy the ceviche so ordered a spicy mixed seafood dish with rice. My dish was delicious and had fish, calamari, octopus and various shellfish.
Afterwards, we wandered through the market and into the marina for about 30 mins when I knew I had to get to the hotel….
We got to the room and I ran into the loo, by the time I had finished in the loo I was sweating like I’d just walked out of the shower, my face had gone red and my eyes were bloodshot, I couldn’t stop sneezing and my ears were very itchy. I told Sabina I was too hot declared I had to get into the pool to cool down and rudely took myself there.
The pool did cool me down but it wasn’t heatstroke I was suffering from, I was having a full allergic reaction. I came back to the room and by this stage, I was struggling to breathe and starting to wheeze, but I was trying to play the symptoms down to Sabina as I didn’t want her to panic.
I took an anti-histamine, lay down, closed my eyes and hoped for the best. When I came back around 20 minutes or so later I was already feeling much better. I googled my symptoms and have self-diagnosed myself as having Scombroid poisoning which comes from eating certain fish that isn’t refrigerated properly. The fish develops a histamine that triggers an allergic reaction when consumed. (this doesn’t mean that I’m allergic to fish)
The rest of the day I spent in bed, with plenty of trips to the loo while sipping water and apologizing to the ever-sympathetic Sabina for ruining the day.
After a deep and long night’s sleep I woke up feeling much better, we have ventured out to wander around the beach in Pisco and sat by the pool. I’m yet to eat anything other than crisps and Ritz biscuits but I think I’ll try solids tonight while avoiding seafood especially from any beachside shacks!