• Emmy Ciabattoni

A Pedacito of Getting Bali Belly in Canggu, Indonesia

Updated: May 22, 2021

I drank the water.


The water from a plastic dispenser labeled ‘filtered’ at the hostel. While drinking, my throat tickled and my stomach kicked. I thought that was normal; my body wasn’t used to the Canggu bacteria yet. I kept drinking because it was hot and humid and I needed to stay hydrated…

The rice fields of Canguu, Indonesia
The rice fields of Canguu, Indonesia

I will never make that mistake again. Not in Bali. While I can, actually, afford to spend an extra fifty cents on a liter of bottled water. Apparently, bottled water is different than 'filtered' water.

Though Bali's food is fantastic, I recommend being careful with the water
Though Bali's food is fantastic, I recommend being careful with the water

The next morning I woke up nauseous. I didn’t want to believe it, so I pretended it wasn’t there. I found a cute brunch spot, got a pitaya bowl (which is good for gut problems, just in case the nausea was real), and sat on the veranda. But I spent more time in the bathroom than at the table.

I was definitely experiencing Bali Belly
I was definitely experiencing Bali Belly

I left the fruit bowl and money and bolted back to the hostel alone, through blistering heat. It was only a 15-minute walk, but I couldn’t ignore the nausea any longer. I stared at the dirt beneath my feet. I felt sleepy like the world was about to go black…

Our surfboards went un-used as I lay in bed in Canguu
Our surfboards went un-used as I lay in bed in Canguu

But I made it. I curled up in bed, head over the edge, trying to throw up in a trash can. Six hours later, nothing came up. There was no relief. I wandered into the pharmacy across the street (how lucky is that) and a woman in a white coat gave me painkillers and activated charcoal.


I took the medications and passed in and out of deep sleep for a day and a half. If you're suffering from Bali Belly, I definitely advise visiting the pharmacy to see what they'd recommend. The condition is common with tourists and they know how to treat it. Here's what they gave me:

  • painkillers (white pill)

  • activated charcoal

  • lots of good water

I shivered, sweat, shook. I was weak. I had vivid dreams. Dreams like I was dying. Where my mom, brother, best friends, sat on the edge of my bed, visiting, and I thought it was real. A man came to my bedside but I didn’t know who he was. He went inside my skin and straightened every vein.. every artery.. every vessel.. it felt so good.


I was hazy, confused, and seeing things. Between periods of sleep, I purchased travel insurance although I’d been without it for the last six months. Forty-eight hours later, the suffering conveniently ended on my birthday. So I wandered to the beach club and got a huge, fresh coconut, which is also apparently good for gut problems. Sitting on the beach, coconut in hand, and ocean breeze across my skin, it wasn’t so bad. It was like Bali Belly had never happened at all.

Me and my boyfriend scooting around Canguu, Indonesia
Me and my boyfriend scooting around Canguu, Indonesia
 

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