Going Solo Tales
of fruit farmers. My adventurous spirit leapt at the chance to experience Thai lifestyle, but six hours later in 35C degree heat, 99 percent humidity and the last of my bodily fluids dripping off the end of my nose, I was grateful, if squeamish, to accept a glass of murky river water – boiled they said. Of course river water was all the family had, for cooking, washing, bathing, and drinking, just like everyone else in that river side community. I drank the water and survived without so much as a grumble in the tummy.
The experts say that eating salads and ice cream in “third world” countries is asking for trouble. I can’t disagree, but again I have to admit to having carelessly tempted fate in that regard on more
than one occasion. Still, I survived.
Solo travelers are especially vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases while on the road. After all, virtually no one wants to be alone all the time. And when you need a little human company, a
chance encounter with a stranger may lead to harmless flirtation. If the vibes and circumstances gibe, flirtation may induce raging hormones, weak knees, fluttering heart, and nature is liable to dictate its
course heedless of safe sex techniques.
Some experts say that good health has as much to do with state of mind as anything else. For me, that logic had proven true five months into my around-the-world journey. Up to that point, the only disagreeable invasions my body had endured were a few excess pounds of fat, which were lodging on my hips as I began my sojourn in South Africa.
At that time in South Africa, the “Apartheid” regime, though losing grip, still had a place in law. I wanted to see and feel for myself what this Apartheid idea was all about, and I intended on spending
at least two months in the country.
At first I was encouraged to find that the system seemed much less restrictive than I had expected. Within hours of my arrival in Johannesburg as I checked into a hotel located in a so-called “white” district, a black woman checked in just ahead of me. I recall lunching at the five-star Carlton Hotel and noting white waiters serving customers both black and white. In banks and other institutions, I observed all races working side by side. In Cape Town I rode the public transport, sitting beside people of every color. I saw prosperous looking black men driving expensive Mercedes and BMW’s. Black artists seemed well regarded and represented in all media. And I was delighted to hear that the most popular television program of the day was The Bill Cosby Show.
As time went on, however, I also experienced the true depth of racial prejudice. In countless small ways, remarks overheard, expressions observed, warnings given, fears expressed, I soon understood