Sunday, May 2, 2010

More Options for Water Consumption

Author’s Note to his Mother:  You might not want to skip this post which outlines the reasons and situations where I’ve moved beyond simple bottled water for various purposes.

A primary concern for travelers to India is where they get their water. In our apartment, we have a reverse osmosis ultra violet (RO-UV) filter system from which we take all the water we consume. However, the first glass of water, even from that top-of-the-line machine, was something of a leap of faith. However, once you don’t get sick, you quickly acclimate and gain a level of confidence and trust.

The discerning and careful traveler will obviously stick to bottled mineral water. In restaurants, waiters automatically try and upsell to Evian or some other import, but the Indian stuff (i.e., Himalayan, Catch, etc.) is just as safe and typically half the price. The longer I’m here, the less vigilant I’ve become. I’m not doing something as stupid from drinking from the tap (or, as was the case with a friend when here 5 years ago, drinking from a random well in the middle of the country), but have started to follow the lead of other westerners I’ve seen. At some restaurants, I’ve decided to start trusting the filtered water. While this is risky, if others are doing, why not? While I’m sure the chemistry in my body hasn’t changed, the fact remains – it’s filtered water. If the water were THAT contaminated, no one would drink it. Bottom line, I’ve decided to start racial profiling; if I see other white people drinking water from a pitcher, I’m going to follow their lead.

I stay away from known tap water with one exception: brushing my teeth. At the end of month two, I decided that it’s no more or less dangerous to shower in the water than it is to brush your teeth with it. How much water do you swallow when you brush your teeth? Probably about as much as you accidentally and unintentionally consume when you’re in the shower. I have no data to back this claim, but I’m considering it a fact nonetheless. That’s why I decided to put it in the “safe” column. If you’ve ever brushed your teeth with bottled water, it’s fine for a few days. Two years? It’s an entirely different situation.

Of course, there’s a good chance you’ll see a post in the near future talking about how I can’t imagine how I could have gotten sick. Consider it one of the pillars of the John Luth Weight Loss Plan. 

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