Around the World 1977 - Iran
This is a typical tea shop in a souk (market). Domed roof with an opening to let out the heat. They served tea, flat bread and yogurt and some sticky sweet desserts.
We all expected that we might get ill now and then. Most of us had a few jabs before we left and got someone to prescribe a decent self-medication kit. I went to a National Health doctor in Chagford who gave me a tetanus booster, inoculations for typhoid and cholera and a Gamma Globulin shot for hepatitis, I think. He also prescribed some Lomotil and codeine phosphate for diarrhea and gave me some broad spectrum antibiotics. Other people brought along malaria prophylactic drugs and others took antibiotics daily as a preventative measure.
The first one to fall was my tent mate, Bill. He came down with severe diarrhea shortly after we entered Turkey. To this day he blames it on some "dodgy prawns" he consumed on our last day in Greece. The rest of us, but one, followed quickly. Most of us had some sort of intestinal trouble for the rest of the trip. One person became so severely ill and dehydrated that he had to be evacuated, hospitalized and infused with drip antibiotics to wipe out the severe infection that had invaded his entire system and caused him to swell up like a boiled prune.
The only one who never got sick was the oldest guy on the truck; a Brit named John who never once consumed any of our locally procured food. He subsisted mainly on cookies (biscuits) and other packaged snack food that he bought along the way. He only drank water that he purified himself. He was also the only one who wore appropriate clothes. While the rest of us were in hot, heavy Levi's and t-shirts he wore light weight cotton pants and very light cotton dress shirts. His wardrobe was cool, easy to launder and light to carry.
It didn't take long for some of us to deduce that we were all so sick because of the water we carried with us and replenished along the way. The van had a 60 gallon tank which we refilled whenever water was available. The drivers "purified" it using tiny quantities (the amount that would fit on a matchstick) of what they called "chloramine". Now this is highly unstable stuff that is used in municipal water treatment. I don't think anyone really uses it for personal water purification. I don't know what they really had, but in the small amounts they used, nothing would do the trick of purifying 60 gallons of the crud we managed to obtain along the way.
Some of us resorted to using our own purification stuff. I had a bottle of iodine tablets which I used, but I still suffered bouts of what I can only describe as "fire-hose diarrhea".
My friend Bill was ill the entire trip and went home skinny as a rail and in need of medical treatment by the time he got to Brisbane.
Photo number: ir010.jpg -
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Photographs and text copyright Michael Newman and William Garsden: 2017.