Shawerma of Death

While we were out of town, there was a major outbreak of salmonella poisoning in Amman. The culprit is apparently chicken shawerma sandwiches, which have long been on my "Do Not Eat" list.

This list varies in length according to what country - or even city - I am currently visiting.

Shawerma is near the top of my short list of Foods Not to Eat. I can never decide if it's the chicken (rotating around a grill all day, said grill not always being hot), mayonnaise (sitting out all day, unrefrigerated), or toppings (raw vegetables) that scares me the most. Maybe a combination of all of the above.

But nothing makes me cower in fear like the little green herb of death: parsley. Its tiny leaves are notoriously hard to clean properly, and in a place like Egypt or Syria, eating it often means suffering from an upset stomach (or worse) for the next week.

At least, that's been our experience. Some people seem to get along fine eating whatever, wherever, no matter how parasite-ridden it is. Jeremy, on the other hand, has gotten food poisoning from water, of all things.

(Of course, the water must have been cross-contaminated with something, but still!)

An American friend of ours who's been burned by the food-poisoning bug one too many times decided that for the remainder of his time in Amman (a few days), he'll be sticking to bread-based products. That's not a bad strategy in a region of the world where "I've never gotten sick from eating there" is a highly legitimate compliment for any eating establishment.

Until the city's stomachs have calmed down a bit, officials here have actually banned the sale of chicken shawerma sandwiches. That news apparently didn't reach Reem Shawerma near 2nd Circle. We drove past there tonight and there was a large group of people lining up behind a fired-up shawerma stack.

I hope they have a few spare days to spend in the hospital.

Yalla Bye

Day 8: Swimming at last, and back to Amman