I split my time in Brazil between a modern, touristy city on the coast, and a poor sprawling city on the plains far inland. Salvador, the city on the coast, was my kind of place. Vitoria Da Conquista, the inland city, was not. But, my wife's family is mostly centered in said city, and thus a 6-day trip ensued.
Meeting my mother-in-law was pretty much as I expected. Awkward with the language barrier, and my mother-in-law has been blind for about 5 years now, which also makes non-verbal communication something of a one-way street. To lubricate the wheels, my mother in law procured 5 liters of Cachaca de Alambique, a super-potent moonshine made of ultrapure white rum. Now, I've been drinking Cachaca for about 4 years- it's a beautiful liquor, with which one can make Caiherinhas, Brazil's signature cocktail. But the stuff's strong- a little more potent than scotch, as far as I can tell. Thus, I never, ever drink more than three, which is enough to make me pleasantly happy but unable to drive a vehicle.
So, over the course of my welcome party at her house, my mother-in-law and her friends gave me three shots of straight moonshine on the rocks. Nice stuff, and I relaxed enough to push the boundaries of my Portuguese language skills.
...but then, suddenly, it was 4AM, and I was barfing into the toilet in my hotel room. Confusion reigned. Why was I so sick? It didn't occur to me to wonder why I was in my hotel room at the time, as it felt as though the world was ending, and I was calling ralph on the porcelain phone, which took up much of my focus. Anyhow, I stumbled back to my bed and flopped on top. My wife sleepily asked me if I was finished arguing with her now. I believe I groaned, and curled up into a ball.
However many hours later, my wife pushed me out of the bed again as it was time to meet another series of relatives. I proceeded to dry heave for a few minutes into the bowl, again, and shower. At this point, I realized that there were some gaps in my memory. Now, almost 2 weeks later, I still don't remember any of it.
Apparently, my mother-in-law and her friends discovered that I will drink anything placed into my hands when drunk. I drank a lot of something far, far stronger than I had ever had before, and blacked out early on. I apparently drank about 10 glasses of almost pure ethanol, to the amusement of the folks in the room. My wife, however, was in the other room talking with old friends, and occasionally popping in to check on me. I was cheerful and funny, being my usual goofball self, if somewhat buzzed, and it wasn't until I had had 6 or 7 extra drinks in me that my wife realized that I had no idea what was going on around me, and brought me back to the hotel. Luckily, I was pleasant and polite, and behaved like a more sober man should behave at his mother-in-law's house. However, there is a 4-hour gap where I can't remember anything.
I do certainly remember the hangover. I barfed and napped and barfed every 20 minutes or so until 9pm the next night. I lost a whole 24 hours to the demon alcohol, and, I suspect, came very, very close to being poisoned by it, moreso than at any point in my life.
By 9pm I had managed to eat some crackers and was chatting with my wife, listening with shame and fascination as she relayed the argument we had had in the hotel the night before, when I swore up and down that I was OK, and she had been a party pooper by bringing me back. None of which I remember. After a blissful hour of not gushing from one end or the other, my stomach gave an audible growl, and I ran at full speed for the bathroom, and it started again.
Here's where it gets dicey- I drank the water. In Salvador, the water is treated, and it's fine. In my wife's city... not so much. Montezuma's revenge, and a more potent case I had never heard of. My body, already beat down with the hangover, simply protested, however feebly. The feeling was distinctly similar to that of a hangover, so I pretty much had a hangover for 5 days, which was unpleasant. I was able to work through the last two days so that I didn't miss out on too much, but it was something of a struggle. Nothing feels so good, though, as when pain stops, and I was ready to celebrate when I finally felt better. This next celebration involved no alcohol.
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