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It's not all Glamour You Know

| 9

It's difficult to know exactly what my interviewee thought as I broke off from a question about Prince William's attire with a quick "Uh I'm going to be sick" before vomiting into a wastepaper bin. But it would have taken a glass-half-full type of chap to conclude she hadn't noticed anything amiss. The only saving grace was that I was conducting the interview by phone. Mine was a strange weekend in many ways. Stomach bugs are a hack's occupational hazard in this part of the world but this was the first time a bout of vomiting and diarrhoea had affected my ability to do the job. The rest of Saturday is best left undescribed. On previous occasions the show has gone on with only a slight interruption for other business. 1) Mogadishu International Airport - my bowels had survived a rather hair-raising drive through burning barricades on the way to the airport (I had to leave that particular day because I was due to attend a hostile environment training course, oh the irony) but gave out 30 mins before I was due to board. Escorted to the "toilet" by a man with an AK-47, the absence of toilet paper and running water (not to mention the fixture you and I would recognise as an actual toilet) would normally have been enough to make me seek alternative arrangements. On this occasion the choice was out of my hands. Suffice to say the rest of my journey passed in unpleasant fashion as the rickety 727 to Dubai had neither toilet paper nor water either. (This episode was discussed during the personal hygiene section of the hazardous environment course later that week. I learned that I should always consider my socks to be expendable.) 2) The Botswana Bush - Engaged in a stealth operation involving a pair of binoculars and a long lens is not the time to have a toilet emergency. So I'd put it off until it was un-put-offable with the result that I set off our car's alarm in my haste to exit the scene. Again something not required in a stealth operation. And again, I'll leave the details to your imagination adding only that a pair of my trousers is rotting in a bush somewhere in the Okavango Delta. Anyone got any similar stories?


Tamar | May 18, 2008 6:59 PM | Reply

yes I do but I'd rather keep my dignity or what little

is left of it.....

Anonymous | May 18, 2008 7:33 PM | Reply

Are you suggesting I have no dignity?

Rich | May 19, 2008 6:30 AM | Reply

The list is long. Ever since an unidentified parasite invaded my intestines back in '98 my guthas never been the same. I could tell you about the bus I had to force off the road between Delhi and Jaipur, or the boat ride from Bukavu to Goma...the list is long and certainly undignified! The sock is far more helpful than anything else I learnt on the hostile environment course!

Tamar | May 19, 2008 7:25 AM | Reply


try and imagine a young woman(moi) trying to obtain a signature on my permit from the suprefe in a tiny village in east Chad while suffering from a similar condition to what you described...

keep in mind that this is outside.... and I'm surroundedby soliders and refugees, I don't think they'll ever forget me.

other situations 'happened' while working in the OPT.... I think think there should be a special training course for women reporters on these issues.

and than you wonder why no one wants to date us.

Anonymous | May 19, 2008 12:51 PM | Reply

Did you get the signature?

Tamar | May 19, 2008 4:55 PM | Reply

I sure did

he was happy to be rid of me......


tara | May 19, 2008 9:38 PM | Reply

was it as bad as when you went through your vegetarian period in university and your house mates out warning signs all over the bathrooom door? i do hope not or maybe a few microbiology samples may be in order!!

Anonymous | May 20, 2008 7:55 AM | Reply

Tamar, that's the sign of a true professional. Tara, you no doubt could have diagnosed me at 100 paces

Anonymous | May 26, 2008 9:32 PM | Reply

Acchhh... Surprisingly few mishaps in Saigon, a few moments - and an entire week - I'd rather forget in Hanoi, some difficulty exiting Slovakia. But I'd rather not elaborate further...

What do you think?