Ceviche, Coca-Cola, and a Fijian Witch Doctor

My sister and I met up the finance of our step-sister in the Philippines 🇵🇭 One of the topics of discussion was, unfortunately, food poisoning.

Thankfully they each shared a quick story without asking me to jump in, and also moved on.

That still left my mind on Memory Lane. I stopped at the one and only time (that I remember) I was poisoned by food.

Ceviche, Coca-Cola and a Fijian Witch Doctor

Several years ago I worked for Costco Travel. One of the fringe benefits was work-sponsored business trips to the destinations we sold for the sole purpose of education. One of those destinations was the South Pacific. Lastly, one of the island chains we sold was Fiji.

November 2010 … A high-speed boat arrived early in the morning to pick up the team to take us to our first site inspection of the day. Today’s itinerary was jam-packed. We were gonna be flat-out today.

Castaway Island Resort was the first resort to inspect. As we neared the resort, another boat with Fijian Warriors “intercepted us”. I barely captured a few photos of them. Then I looked at the beach to find a gang of staff members singing upon our arrival. Lingo, our host, was an absolute blast! Funny as hell. We completed the site inspection quickly because, as I will describe in better detail, Fijians love to eat!

The resort set up the whole nine yards on the beach. A table for all of us, welcome drinks, all of it!

Ceviche, Coca-Cola and a Fijian Witch Doctor
A Customized Coca-Cola Can

On the menu was an item of ceviche. I had heard of it, but never tried it. As always, I wanted to try new things so I can better sell it to Costco Members. I was explained that ceviche itself is simply the process of searing using only lemons and limes.

The seafood used was a carrion that lived nearby.

[Shortly after … ]

By the time we were at our last inspection, and also ate the ceviche, were sidelined with sickness. I remained standing but was violently vomiting or battling diarrhea.

The Fijian staff were so compassionate to everyone ill. They served me coconut water, and foods that I thought I would keep down. The concierge had a suggestion if I was willing to do use it.

He suggested I visit the local waterfalls guarded by a Fijian Witch Doctor.

A Coke and A Smile

I had never experienced food poisoning so that was a first. I felt like death wormed over. So any suggestion to feel better was a welcomed idea. I readily accepted his suggestion.

The concierge and a staff member were assigned to the task. If memory serves me, Heidi, Fabian, Eric and our leader, Corrie, accompanied me.

We were instructed that to be very respectful to the witch doctor, and to follow the lead of the driver.

I thought, Anything to feel better, brother. Anything!

As we drove through the village, the little kids was curious about the unannounced visitors! They ran alongside the van, jumping up and down to see inside the windows. We stopped and piled out. The driver led us to an unassuming hut. Yes, a literal grass hut.

He signaled us to be quiet, and not to speak until spoken to. We collectively removed our shoes, and entered. We sat down in a large circle that was drawn on the ground with the actual witch doctor silently sitting there already with his legs folded.


– myself

Our driver quietly explained our circumstance and our intentions. We put on a white chalky substance on our faces that was passed around on a wood plate. After a few uneasy moments, and what I think was praying, our driver stood up.

We followed suit.

After he put on his shoes, and led us a few feet from the hut, he said we were given permission to hike to the waterfalls now.

WHAT? Wait … a hike? In the condition, I’m in? I silently regretted this suggestion.

After a short hike, we arrived to the promised healing waterfalls. The little kids unofficially accompanied us like monkey chaperones. They invited me to swim so I waded in and swam around.

I was careful not to consumer unfiltered water. I already felt like I was on the edge of death. I didn’t want compound my issues today. My co-workers stood on the edge of the water, took pictures and kinda wandered around.

The kids, however, would crawl and climb the sheer face of the rock next to the waterfall then dive in! WHAT! It was nuts to say the least.

I asked how long should I swim in the water? The driver casually mentioned 5-10 minute session should be right. I stayed for 15-minutes just to be sure.

Back at the final hotel …

Not more than 20 minutes later, and still consuming coconut water, I honestly felt better! The vomiting and diarrhea had subsided somewhat. And for everyone who has experienced this you know when you’re ok.

You’re ready to eat again with a voracious appetite!

As you can imagine, I shy away from ceviche prepared seafood, because I never wanna experience that ever again.

So Spaceship Earth… have you experienced food poisoning? Have you experienced non-appropriate dinner conversions? If you have, what are they?

Drop them in the comments below!

‘los; out

Published by losisthemost

"You only live once, but ... if you do it right, once is all you need" ~ I'm an active American-Filipino that has many skills I use to their best advantage.

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