A personal reflection on food poisoning and camp life – the other side of field work

I don’t know what it was that did it, but it got done – I have been poisoned. Every single person you talk to about visiting Egypt warns that you’ll get it, the old Cairo Belly, but you always think/hope, “Nope! Not me!” And you’d be wrong every time. It’s probably just getting used to the country and the water (oh no, we don’t drink it!) and all the rest. I am the first to succumb, but mark my words it will get us all.

In the morning I get all my gear on, pretending that it will trick my body into thinking we’re in tip-top shape. That is a poor life choice – what the body wants the body wants, you just gotta let it do its thing. So what do you do when the entire crew goes out into the field and you have to stay behind lest ye be overcome with the desire to pay respects to the Porcelain God? I spend the days inside keeping cool and hydrated. Unfortunately, we’re still so early on in the season that there’s not a huge amount of work to do back at the house. On the plus side, we’re still in the early days of survey, working in areas where there isn’t a huge density of surface artefacts. This means, selfishly, that I’m not missing out on too much. But hey, we’re here for five (!) weeks, so there will be plenty of time in the field!

I’m not the only one home sick! At least two others working out at Karanis (a Greco-Roman town also in the Fayum that’s a wee bit later than what we’re here looking at) are home with a flu and vomiting. But we’re keeping our spirits high, because eventually we’ll be fighting fit once more and rearing to go. Depending on your scale of sickness you’re either huddled in bed next to a bucket, or doing paperwork and other tasks in between visits… elsewhere.

There is some simple work to do – fixing some things with our DSM (Digital Surface Model, in our case a highly detailed scan of the desert surface including features like irrigation canals and roads along with man-made and natural mounds and depressions), and working out a way to streamline our photo registry process each night. To be fair, these can be very long processes of experimentation with different methods, but once that stuff is done…

With any luck I’ll be ready to rock tomorrow or the day after. In the meantime I have a Masters proposal I should probably be thinking about. And hey, as far as places I could be sitting for inspiration this ain’t half bad.

–          Sam

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3 Responses to A personal reflection on food poisoning and camp life – the other side of field work

  1. Pingback: Pedestrian survey | Fayum Dig Diaries

  2. Theresa Fa'amoana says:

    Hope you get better soon, Sam!

    • Samantha Lagos says:

      Thanks yo! Made it back into the field yesterday, thanks to some magical antiseptic pills called Antinal and some Imodium. But now the others are beginning to fall…

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