It hurts . . . in my, ah . . . here and here:
Health Care during Travel

Terry Marshall

Note: Health care travel is part of a series of blogs that we did while learning Spanish language in Peru. Each blog focuses on one or two language learning activities. They are designed so show you how to implement Walkabout language learning activities. Use our examples here for any language you want to learn. See the "More Peru Stories" list of links on this page for additional language learning techniques.

Time for practical health care during travel. My notion of community language learning is that by immersing ourselves in situations in the community (on the ground, as the politicians like to say when they talk about Iraq) we learn useful, practical things rather than stuffy old grammar and classroom lingo.

What better source of inspiration than getting sick the third day in Peru?

We toured Cusco Saturday – the cathedral, the Inka Temple of the Sun, Plaza de Armas, a half-dozen Inka ruins, etc. Great day for tours: it's early spring here. On Saturday, that meant cold, windy, enough rain to make us run for cover more than once. We polished off the day sipping cappuccinos on a second-story balcony overlooking the brightly lit plaza.

By nightfall I could feel a sore throat coming on, the clogged head, snuffly nose, tired legs. Sunday morning I'm full into it. Then Shawn comes down with a splitting headache, upset stomach, tired body. Could be nascent high altitude sickness, or just his body reminding him that maybe it wasn't such a great idea to hit the disco scene his second day here and wander home at 3:30 a.m. (despite the half-dozen lovelies he met), or spend half the night Saturday in an internet café.

Practical Health Care Travel lesson #1: A Trip to the Farmacia

Ann and I whipped up a little monolog in Spanish: roughly summarized as "My throat hurts. My nose is snuffly. I'm a lot more tired than I normally am. An amigo of mine said I should buy some Apronax. What do you think? Will that help?" Ok, we're armed, time to try out my health care travel monolog: we're going Walkabout™.

The pharmacist said, in machine-gun speed and soft as a timid school girl, something akin to, "Yep. That'll do the trick." She pulled a packet of four pills from a box on the shelves behind her. I asked her how often to take them. She said, "Three times a day for two days." I looked at the pills, looked back at her. She thought about it, went back to the shelf and tore one of the four-pill packets in half. I bought what I needed, no more. What a concept!

Lucky for Shawn and me, today's a national holiday celebrating a Peruvian battle victory over Chile (One of few victories, my host "Dad" joked), so we have a chance to rest up before the full five-hour-a-day program begins tomorrow. In the meantime we're drowning ourselves in Coca tea and some magical Ikan herb Ann bought from a funky little shop on the Plaza de Armas. We're napping frequently, taking it easy, and listening to the 18,000-decible music that one of the neighbors has so generously serenading us with. Who needs an iPod?

If you want to use the same techniques we're using, we recommend that you download the Walkabout Language Learning Action Guide. It walks you step by step through creating your own tailor-made language learning program.

--Posted by Terry, October 7

← Previous: Beginning Life in Cusco             Next: I Need a Doctor →

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