Tale of a Peruvian birthday

I spent my birthday in Peru.

That was of course intentional. I tend to get caught up in birthday expectations, which causes me to always be disappointed. I decided to take the occasion into my own hands this year by being out of town for my birthday – in Peru.

Ideally, I would’ve been hiking the Inca trail, but I just couldn’t make the timing work. Instead I was in Lima, by myself. Here’s what happened:

I should warn you before we get too far, this turns into a poop story.

I woke up early on the morning of my birthday. I had signed up for a cooking class through my tour company, and I was supposed to check in to my hotel by 9am. While I was packing the last of the items I’d strewn around the room, I let out a small fart. It was morning, it happens. It wasn’t a big deal. Except shortly thereafter, I heard a spatter on the floor.

I don’t eat meat very often. I won’t lie and say I’m a vegetarian; I love a good ribeye and Chipotle steak burritos are my go-to comfort food. But for the most part, I avoid meat when I can. Traveling is a little different though. I feel like you miss out on some of the experience if you limit your diet unnecessarily.

In Lima for some reason, whenever I asked for recommendations, the waiter would give

me a list of meat options and then look at me and say, “but you don’t eat meat, so try this fish dish instead.”


The culprit.

It was really odd because I never told them that I wasn’t a big meat-eater. Nevertheless, given the option, I went with the fish.

The night before my birthday I had pretty much the most amazing swordfish I’ve ever had. I honestly don’t know if I’ve had swordfish before, but if I did it certainly wasn’t as good as this.

So back to the spatter.

It took me a few seconds to realize that…what happened had actually just happened. I cleaned up as best as I could using some of the Kleenex I’d brought. But the spatter was incredibly oily and very yellow for some reason. Unfortunately, because I decided to stay in a hostel, the bathroom was shared and down the hall from my room.

In the bathroom (and I’m sorry for the details here, but…it’s part of the story) I took care of business. But for some reason my poop was incredibly oily. It was completely liquid, but it sat on top of the water just like oil and wouldn’t flush with the water. Fun fact about Peru: they don’t like it if you flush toilet paper down the toilet; you have to just throw it away.

If you Google “oily poop” the first thing to show up is “gallbladder failure”. Naturally. I spent a good five minutes convinced that I’d somehow eaten something in Peru that had caused my gallbladder to fail.

Then my logical brain took over and I remembered that the Internet is designed to terrify you before giving up any reasonable information.

It turns out, if you eat foods that are high in fat you can have an oily, yellow poop. It only lasts for about 36 hours. But for me that was 36 hours of being afraid to fart.

The rest of my birthday was spent…afraid of farting, but otherwise uneventful.

I took a cooking class through my tour company. I learned to make ceviche, pisco sour, and a crab cake appetizer. It was amazing. Cooking classes while traveling is one of my new favorite things.

I also went for a run. I love running. Running is how I center myself; it stops me from being crazy and gets me out of my head. I run every year on my birthday, no matter the circumstance, because it is the thing that makes me the happiest. And running to explore cities doesn’t hurt either.

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I ran to here

And that’s how I spent my birthday in Peru. Run-sploring, cooking, and afraid of farting :).