This is what I look like after 12 hours of being violently ill.

It was a most inelegant evening.




This picture was taken after 12 hour of throwing up everything but my liver.

I know.

I look pretty good considering.  I’m not sure how that happened.  I’ve had sneezing fits that make more of a mess out of me.

Let’s backtrack for a bit shall we?

Our last night in Bangkok this conversation took place.

Karen: “Can I eat street food?

Tour Guide: “No, please.

Karen: “But I want to try it. I wanna eat a bug.

Tour Guide: “No. You’ll be sick.

Karen:  “Do you eat bugs?

Tour Guide:  “Yes.  But I’m Thai.  I can.  You should not eat street food. You’ll get sick”

Karen: “Yes, but I don’t think I will. Because I really want to eat a bug. And it’s mind over matter, right?

Tour Guide: “No. You’ll be sick. You’re not used to the bacteria. No.

Karen: “O.K. but, how about just something tame, like Pad Thai?  Or a scorpion?

Tour Guide: “No.

Karen: “Fine.  I won’t eat street food.  But Anthony Bourdain does it all the time.”

And so I didn’t eat street food.  I instead ate a prepackaged container of plain yogourt, a banana and some rice pudding.

12 hours later I felt my anus squinch up and all hell broke loose.

Helloooooo Thailand!  I’M HERE!!!

It was like I had a double sided firehose inside me with both nozzles open full force. This lasted for approximately 12 hours with me resting comfortably on the bathroom floor in between bouts praying to God, Buddha, and the bath towel on the floor that this would all stop immediately.   Many hours and several pounds later it did.

Pink tool belt sister also became violently ill.  I knew this  without her telling me because we have that sisterly bond where we can feel what the other one is feeling.  Plus the walls were so thin and the heaving so violent, I could hear her first round of hell at precisely 4:02 a.m.

After our rice capades, we both slept for an entire day missing out on a tour of the old city in Chiang Mai and a visit to the night markets.  Where they sell pashminas, handmade crafts, and local cuisine.  Like bugs.

Onto the next adventure!  And toilet.


For those who are asking, the pajamas are from Target.  I bought the same ones for all the females in my family as a gift.


  1. Wendy says:

    Yeah, well, I ate street food in Thailand 10 years ago, and I was fine. Nobody told me not too, but Hubby begged me to not eat bugs, so I didn’t eat bugs (since I don’t think it’s really necessary to gross out the man you want to get it on with during your honeymoon), and oddly, I kind of wish I’d tried just one. I mean, now we have two little kids, and I’m living with a household of boys/men. There are lots of farts, lots of snot-eating, lots of talk of “poo on your face” and very little getting it on. I can’t imagine I’ll ever make it to Thailand again at this rate . . . you can get a pashmina anywhere, but a deep fried bug . . . now that’s hard to come by!

    FYI: the Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok is like a hotel. I went there to manage an ear infection that wouldn’t go away throughout my stay in Thailand. I got on the plane no problem the next day, and the infection was cleared up by the time I got home. Go there if you’re really sick.

  2. Robin says:

    I can relate to being sick while on holiday. Although it was in San Diego and it was from bad shrimp at Applebee’s…but all the same, being that sick and not in your own home just sucks! I was at my friend’s house and very glad they had two bathrooms in their condo and they heard nothing of my all-nighter of using the toilet and the bathtub at the same time. For the next few days I suffered from a sore gut and every time we went over a speed bump or walked too much I was in pain from wrenching so much that night.
    Well. I hope you are on the mend and back at your crazy antics.
    I enjoy reading your blog…keep the craziness coming!

  3. Natika says:

    Oh no! Well, now that you’ve been there and done that, why not try the street food? ;)

    I’ve had street food in India, Thailand and Vietnam with little to no problem. Just make sure it’s well cooked and you’ll be mostly (maybe not 100% but mostly) all right.

  4. Louise says:

    Poor baby! Glad you’re OK and STILL managed to stay cute! Rest up, enjoy the rest of your trip, and come home to your “chicks” – we’re missing you!

  5. something similar happened to me when I ate from a seafood buffet in Vegas; but it wasn’t as severe as your 12 hour mud-butt. stay away from rice pudding, man. that’s stuff’s lethal! hahaha…glad you’re feeling better.

  6. rktrixy says:

    Been there and done that. Seriously not fun. It;s the roughest way I know to lose weight ever. I was on weight watchers, coming back from a Christmas holiday where I had to miss Christmas dinner because I was losing weight out of both ends. I checked in to WW when I got home, and weighed in… most everyone stayed at their weight or gained a little. I lost 15 pounds. The person weighing me said “Um. Wow. That’s a lot of weight. Are you OK?”

    You might want to ask room service for rice. Just plain rice. No cilantro, no curry. Just rice. And bottled water. Feel better!!!

  7. Shauna says:

    Absolutely nothing worse than food poisoning. ..ugh. except maybe getting it in a foreign country. Mine was on a bad oyster in d.c. 2 weeks after 9/11 and the day before I had to fly back out. Waiting in line at the airport at that time was horrible. I couldn’t even stand. I probably looked like a drug addict. You look amazing considering what you’ve been through.

  8. Feral Turtle says:

    I was thinking poor you as I was laughing through your rendition of diarrhea. Really, really honestly, I do feel bad for you though :( lol And on the upside, you looked really cute in your jammies!!

  9. paulchappel says:

    That’s what’s next for Dundas, “Karen’s Bug Restaurant.” It’ll be a huge hit. I won’t come, but I’ll cheer you on anyway.

    You manage to look adorable even when in hell, that’s amazing, but nothing new to those of us who’ve known you forever. xo

  10. Karen Duke says:

    My dear Karen, I was sitting out in my chicken coop thinking of you today, wondering who is taking care of your chickens while you’re in Thailand. I was also thinking how *I* will never be able to go on a vacation and how it’s all your fault. Your fault, and those cute chickens of yours. March 15th last, I bought 12 chicks. Within 48 hours I was buying 6 more chicks. And now I’ve bought MORE chickens. My chickens have made chickens. My grandchickens are laying their own eggs now too. My husband is collecting fertile eggs and trading them for – get this – MORE CHICKENS. I have 48 living breathing chickens and FORTY TWO foster eggs from Mr. Chicken Geek’s friend. And guess where I’m going in 4 days, 18 hours and 10 minutes from now? I’m going to the feed store to get my head examined while I greet the truck that’s delivering “designer” chickens. Because good ole’ redneck country chickens just won’t do. At least, that’s what my Japanese Silkie chickens say. They’re asking for Houdans, Crevecouers, Polish, Lakenvelders, Andalusians and Cochins. Mr. Chicken Geek started to complain about the exotic chickens that we’ll be adopting this week. “Look”, I said, “we both know how this is going down”.

    Thank you, Miss Canadian Karen, for turning me into a maniacal chicken geek. Not only will I never be able to leave Daisy Duke Farm again for an overnight trip to anywhere due needing someone to come and cuddle, snuggle, feed and water my chickens, I can’t afford to eat seafood any more. I may have to become vegetarian because at least I can grow my own fruits and veggies so I’ll have enough keep our bellies full. All my protein comes from eggs these days. All because of you and your cute ass chickens.

    So you just enjoy your vacation missy. And bring me home some Thai fowl. They have excruciatingly long legs and long necks. My hens think they’re sexy and you’re the only one we know who’s in Thailand at the moment.

  11. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Well wanted a bug..and you got one! LOL..Miss you..

  12. Janet says:

    Glad to hear you survived it. Especially glad, you got over it before getting on the plane headed for home. Now that might have been an interesting story.

  13. Sera says:

    It is for this reason that I usually want to go to places a little more in the first world area. That said, despite my weak stomach I survived ceviche in Mexico with no issue (although maybe I had pickled it with alcohol) and 10 days in Costa Rica without a problem. Who knows.

  14. Gina says:

    Just found your blog randomly today through a google search for a recipe, but found this quite interesting because my niece and nephew with significant others are in Thailand right now. I’m anxious to hear about their trip now. Going to spend a little time looking through your blog today because I love your sense f humor!! May the rest of your trip be incident free!! :)

  15. Barbie says:

    OH HONEY! What a bummer! However you have that look of complete relief on your face…so thankful to be DONE throwing up from both ends! All the world seems so much brighter when you’ve been vomity shittingly sick and it finally passes! You want to sing opera…dance in the street….hug a stranger! Go have fun now…so glad your better! How is Betty doing?

    • Cred says:

      Agreed! After I’ve been ‘that’ sick, I feel empty (literally)… spent; my innards feel like they don’t belong in my body but because the improvement is a thousand-fold, I feel better than I did before I got sick.

      Sorry to hear you were sick on your trip, Karen- it sucks to lose time and miss some fun stuff but also, it’s crappy feeling so unwell when you’re not at home. Yuck! It’s shitty that it wasn’t the street food- doesn’t seem worth it for yoghurt, bananas & rice pudding that you can have anytime. Glad you’re feeling better now.

      btw, Barbie, I was amused by ‘vomity shittingly sick’.

  16. Larraine says:

    But what did Betty eat?

  17. Lynne says:

    Holy crap, (excuse the pun) you look fabulous after all that. I think you should consider that kind of cleanse once a year. You are done for this year now :)

  18. Jacqui says:

    I had a similar experience in Thailand. I went to a snake show and that night they moved into my belly! Was violently sick but it only lasted a day. Enjoy Thailand, lots if fun stuff for you to discover given your talents. Maybe you will teach us how to carve teak or make the beautiful umbrellas!

  19. Valerie says:

    Thailand is challenging particularly so in your condition when there isn’t toilet paper available ANYWHERE in ANY BATHROOM. Procure all the serviettes you can in restaurants. Learning to squat while in your condition is a feat in itself. Having endured this in Thailand my recommendation is to stop all food and have only coca cola from bottles to which you add table salt taken only from packets found in western like hotels. Brush your teeth with bottled water – do not use the water from the taps. Pepto bismal beyond its use as a facial product, is also quite useful as is squelching any coughs when out in public. Best of British luck to you and yours.

  20. Rebecca says:

    There is a saying “you haven’t been to Thailand until you’ve been sick”. So I guess you really are in Thailand….who said the sickness couldn’t come from pre-packaged yogurt? I got reeeeally sick from mango and sticky rice but after that one bout of sickness, it never happened again.

  21. Jeannie B says:

    There’s nothing worse than being sick when you’re far away from home. When my kids visited Thailand about ten years ago, i made them take a little bottle of oregano oil, hand sanitizer and a bottle of pink Pepto Bismol. They didn’t get sick, did eat from local vendors and had a wonderful time. Germs are everywhere. So sorry you were ill Karen. i like how Bob described it as, “excessive regularity”, but the two ended fire house is a great analogy.

  22. Valerie says:

    ugh I had the same experience in Thailand though it was some bad pad thai from the restaurant down the street ‘best in Bangkok’ (it was certainly authentic?). But my boyfriend survived unscathed somehow, even though he was eating off my plate!

    Then was accosted by two different school groups looking to interview foreigners in English the day after who asked me what my favorite food was. Alanis, eat your heart out.

  23. Auntiepatch says:

    Glad you’re feeling better now! And I love the PJ’s from TARGET!

  24. Maggie says:

    I have travelled extensively through Asia and the guides tell you not to eat the street food for a reason. Seriously stick to the better hotels and their food. And, don’t forget Thailand can be taken by the army at any time. It’s happened before, so if you see tanks coming down the street go back to your hotel ASAP!
    Other than that I loved Thailand. If you can hop over to Malaysia it’s natural beauty is not to be missed.
    Have fun!

  25. deborah k says:

    dude – don’t put the local water in yr mouth. even to brush teeth.

    gosh … double-sided fire hose. that’s made a new standard of medical definition for my household! get well soon!

  26. Debbie says:

    I wish I looked that good after just a cold. As others have stated, stay hydrated and let us know if you tried any street food!

  27. Susan says:

    Had the same experience upon return from Mexico….yikes, midway thru lunch at a fancy resturant. Lasted 3days. I was thinner after also….but I caught up again.:)
    Also love the PJ’s.. They are from where again?

  28. Bob says:

    My wife is from Thailand (Udon Thani), and I know from personal experience that eating street food typically only makes you sick once, maybe twice. I once ate nothing but street food for two weeks in Khon Kaen [sp]. I lived through it and didn’t get sick once. But it is not for everyone!

    And the government sanctioned food carts with the special sticker don’t necessarily guarantee freedom from…excessive regularity. :P

    • Karl Micheal says:

      Bob…i spent 6 months in Udorn (Udon Thani) in 1973 and loved it and the people there. Was stationed at the airbase there after leaving my tour in vietnam. lived in a beautiful home on Soi Sup TaVee street with two other airmen. i loved it and the street food too. Would love to return, but alas, will never be! Bless you all!

  29. kelliblue says:

    omg Karenm you poor thing! (and your sister too) Another bright side to this (aside from now fitting into your jeans…um, yay?) is that this is a vacation you will definitely NOT forget…no matter how hard you try. :( However, your sense of humor is intact, you do indeed look surprisingly fab, and those jammies are as cute as they can be! Stay well and get home safely!

  30. Ajay says:

    All part of the travel experience ; ) Although…the only time I ever got sick (seems like such a mild descriptor for believing you are dying) was due to a drug reaction to an anti-malarial
    we were REQUIRED to take by the Indonesian government. As in, if you leave HERE, and travel THERE, (Irian Jaya at the time) you will take this and we will test your blood when you come back. They were deadly serious about this.
    Wonder if something similar happened to you? Either way, glad you’re on the other side of it…

  31. Mickey says:


  32. Jean says:

    I didn’t have to go to Thailand to catch that bug. Just had it Thursday. And how do you still have a clean pair of pajamas? I went thru 3 nightgowns. They are gorgeous pjs btw and you look no worse for wear. Hope you feel better soon.

    • Louise says:

      Jean, your description is really disgusting. . . and so true. And Karen’s “double sided firehose” is exactly what it was like. I had that same bug here in So. Calif. last month. I had absolutely NO control of my body and really thought I might die.

      I lost 10 lbs in 2 days and have actually kept it off for 7 weeks, so it was almost worth . . . nah, it was still too horrible!

  33. OH BOY. you poor thing. your post was so descriptive I was right there with ya on the floor next to the bath towel. I think I’ll pass on my blueberry yogurt this morning.

    glad you’re feeling better. Go getum!!!

  34. Ev says:

    Sorry for that experience-another chapter of never forgetting “The Adventures of Karen in Thailand”! Sounds like you really DID “pick up a bug”!

  35. Marti says:

    I’m so sorry you got sick. I did eat the street food in Thailand, but only the stuff I watched being deep fried and immediately put into a container (NO TOUCHING! NO. TOUCHING!) and handed directly to me to consume. Also Dad (the retired food science professor) gave me a tiny bottle of bleach and eyedropper to use because he knew I would want to try some of those amazing fruits I’d never seen before. It was probably still a miracle.

    On the bright side, the pajamas really are stunning. (New? Custom-made?) The jeans will be great. And the upside on the pashminas is most of them are fake and the merchants are truly offended when you do a burn test.

    • Auntiepatch says:

      PJ’s are from Target

    • Sera says:

      Wait, wait, wait. You bleach your fruit??? How does that not make you vomit?

      • Marti says:

        Dad, who has a Phd in Food Science and Nutrition, a Masters in Chemistry and an undergrad in Molecular Biology, recommends taking a tiny (a couple of ounces) bottle of bleach abroad with you, if you want to try the local produce. When I visited him in Cambodia, he gave me a bottle with this advice:

        “When you buy the fruit, put it in the bathroom sink, run water and add several drops of bleach. Let the fruit soak for a few minutes, no more. Remove the fruit, dry it on a towel and consume.”

        That small amount of bleach (maybe a teaspoon per gallon of water?) won’t make you sick, particularly if you wipe it off on clean towels. But it will kill viruses and parasites. He knew that I would feel as Karen does, that the native food is part of the experience. Exciting. Interesting. And by the way, Karen, congratulations on building your immune system. It was painful, but that’s why those Thai people can eat it: because they built their immune system. I hope your mother didn’t eat whatever, because as I recall, she’s old enough that it could be fatal. (Tell her that; I’m sure she’ll be so flattered, right?)

        Dad also gave me this suggestion when I ate jellyfish in a Chinese restaurant in Phoenix, AZ: Don’t eat stuff that’s poisonous in its daily life. (Felt sluggish the next day.) He also recommends avoiding sushi. He and I don’t agree on a lot of things. He has eaten bugs. I do not.

    • Peg says:

      I have those same pj’s. sorry you so sick :(

  36. Reg says:

    Oh poor Karen and pink tool belt sister.
    Something I’ve noticed about Anthony Bourdain’s ability to sample street food all over the world. He also samples local alcohol concoctions. Maybe that’s the secret to sampling street food. Couldn’t hurt any worse could it?

  37. jainegayer says:

    You poor girl!
    Glad you’re better, stay safe and well.

  38. Susan Preston says:

    Poor baby! That’ll teach you for going away and leaving your girls! Hope you enjoyed your holiday regardless. Why not pick Windsor next time….it’s south of here?

  39. karol says:

    I shall sing to you…. “warm kitty. soft kitty, little ball of fur. happy kitty, sleepy kitty. purr, purr, purr.” You’re welcome.

  40. Tigersmom says:

    Somehow I knew you would find the only bright side to this all too familiar to me situation.

    Food poisoning is even worse than being sick from way too many dirty martinis (an episode that was decades ago, but remains fresh in memory still).

    Hope you’re all better and can enjoy the rest of your vacation.

  41. Diana says:

    In Spain last year, my buddy had something like that, I did not now, how to handle it and called a doctor.
    When the ambulance came and took him away, the only thing I could think off was the film where they traded with organs..
    But I had the key for the save, all the ID`s and creditcards…
    Booohoo, let`s go to the beach and drink a cocktails!

    All the best for you and your sister…

    PS. He came backe the same evening, toghether with all the organs which he carried within him.

  42. Sally A. says:

    You poor thing! That is the worst kind of sick! My friend and I got so sick in Mexico, that I actually somehow called my mother in the states and told her that I didn’t know how they would get my body back home as I was sure I was going to die. Luckily other people we were traveling with had some antibiotics for just such an emergency. On the bus ride to our hotel at the beginning of the trip the driver proudly told us that the water was much better and to not worry about drinking it, we were still careful and just drank from the large communal Ozarka bottle in the hotel lobby. How did we get so sick then? Well, as we were leaving, my friend saw them filling that same Ozarka bottle with a garden hose!! Stupid Mexico. Now I take antiobiotics days before I leave. Here’s hoping you and the girls stay healthy the rest of the trip!!

  43. Grammy says:

    No one should look that cute after 12 hours of puking their guts up. Hope you and PTB sister are A-OK now and back on tour.

  44. Amber says:

    poor kitty! at least you know you wont have to worry about weight loss for a while.
    Keep hydrated, sleep, and get back on that tour as soon as you can!

  45. Marion says:

    Your poor, poor thing, at least afterwards you can eat as many chips as you like! I love your pyjama – its the prettiest pyjame I’ve ever seen – where can I get it? I have to have it!
    Good luck for your upcoming adventures and get well soon!

  46. Cathy says:

    Just makes me want to stay in safe non-exotic places. I’d rather crawl on ground glass than puke once…12 hrs sounds like hell.

  47. Amie Mason says:

    Oh Karen you poor thing. It’s inevitable I’m afraid. You’re bound to get sick in South East Asia and often its the hotel food or the prepacked stuff that sets you off. I’ve never had any troubles with street food, as long as it is fresh and cooked to order you will be fine. Avoid dairy and salad, the risk of e-coli is massive. Drink plenty of bottled water, try and have some ginger or lemongrass tea, and as soon as you can stomach it smash down some watermelon and carrot ginger juice. Avoid meat for a few days too. And if you can find it at any of the apoteks, try and get your hands on Travelan – it works a treat; we take it two weeks before and every day during our holiday. I never get sick anymore and I eat all the street food I can get my hands on!

    Good luck – hope you feel better soon!

  48. Ha! Brings back memories. I think it’s all part of the tour. Now that you’ve got that done, you can move on to other things ;) Have a great time, and a little extra great time for me!

  49. Pam'a says:

    Oh, rats. Er, bugs… Er, so sorry to hear you had to go through that… :(

  50. Laura Bee says:

    It is quite obvious now, you will never lose your sense of humour. I am not laughing at you – I’m laughing with you! Hahahaha! Oh you poor thing.

    • Karen says:

      Oh don’t worry about it! I can laugh now. In fact I was kind of laughing mid 37th vomit knowing that a pair of jeans that have been too small for a while will finally fit me. There’s always a bright side to projectile vomiting. ~ karen!

      • Ruth says:

        LOL *dead*

        Now I’m thinking that the street food may have been a better bet than that pre-packaged yogurt. I am glad that you are feeling better. Now… please go eat street food.

        Kidding… sort of. (I’m a bit curious about whether the tour guide is right, or just expressing a bit of Thai superiority) ;-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • About Karen