Food Poisoning and Hostel Hospitality


When trying to find places to eat in Korea our eyes and noses picked up on pleasant sights and smells coming from narrow streets and alleyways.  We ate street food.  It was cheap, bountiful, and delicious.

It also may have made us sick.  I woke up nauseous on our second morning in Busan and ended up giving the other people in our group a rude awakening as I rushed to get to the bathroom.  Thankfully we spent most of that day traveling to Seoul on an express train.  It gave me time to rest and a private, isolated bathroom if I needed it.  Julie unfortunately became sick on our way to the DMZ the next day.  Thankfully she had the rest of the day to relax and recover once we returned to the guesthouse.

We had speedy recoveries though.  By the afternoon I was able to hold down fluids and saltine crackers.  When we checked into the hostel in Seoul I went to bed early while the rest of the group went out to dinner.

Julie returned a little earlier than the others that night (at this point she wasn’t sick yet) to see how I was doing.  While she was in the room the owner of the guesthouse also came in to put up a poster of a street map of Seoul on the wall.  She told us her name was Mary and picked up right away that I was under the weather.

Mary exuded kindness from the moment we checked into the hostel.  When she found out I was sick she immediately reached out to touch my hand.  She said I felt cold which means the food I was eating was just sitting in my stomach and not passing through.  She recommended I come down to her office for some acupuncture to help get things moving again.

We trusted Mary so Julie and I went down to her office.  After rubbing my back and hands for a few minutes to get some blood flowing, she sterilized a sewing needle before wrapping a piece of thread tightly around my right thumb.  She then relieved the pressure by poking a small hole just below the fingernail and pushed out a little blood to help my digestive system relax.  The process was repeated on my left thumb.

After we thanked her we returned to our room for the night.  I did feel warmer after the procedure and my stomach was more relaxed.  I remain skeptical about the actual acupuncture, however.    Any healing that took place probably had more to do with the kindness and hospitality of someone who took the time to help a strange visitor in her home.


3 Responses to “Food Poisoning and Hostel Hospitality”

  1. Trip to Korea Spring 2009 « Pacificloons Says:

    […] Food Poisoning and Hostel Hospitality […]

  2. kotonii Says:

    Wow….. pricked under the fingernail??? Did that hurt?

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