So a recent discovery has been that after I had been showering, yes it does happen on occasion, I would notice that I had that familiar small that accompanies a trip to the swimming pool. I would sit at my laptop working and notice that my hands had that unmistakable fragrance of chlorine! I mentioned to Sara and that was that! The following day she said that she could smell the chlorine on herself. This meant action!!!
We started looking around the Internet, on the sites that we understand (those written in English), and discovered that a number of people appear to have comments on the amount of chlorine in the water, and the apparent increase during summer, due to the increased perceived possibility of disease. It would seem that people are divided on this topic , and some say that chlorine really isn’t a problem, and others are on the opposite end of this opinion! My policy is usually based on the fact that if there is a reasonable element of risk with an easy enough work around, then I will do my best to avoid the risk.
To those of you unfamiliar with the wonder that is chlorine, let us investigate some of the information that I found on the Internet, just so that we can all pretend to be a little more intelligent when talking to the local water suppliers!
Chlorine has been used to disinfect water supplies since the early 1900’s, starting with small scale trials and escalating to the mass use that we experience today. It has provided relief from a wide range of waterborne diseases, as it eliminates a lot of bacteria, viruses and amoeba (we all have to be thankful for the reduced amoeba count, that is for sure). I am being a little flippant here, in case you missed it, but chlorination of water has greatly reduced the problems that related to sickness with water supplies, and has been of great use in this area. It is highly reliable, quite inexpensive, and therefore deemed very useful for any municipality looking to protect their residents from the numerous problems that can arise from water that has travelled through a range of pipes over significant distances. At this point I think to myself – I am going to get me some chlorinated water, as I do not want me a belly full of disease, but wait there mister I have to say to myself, is this the complete story? Yep, you guessed it, chlorine has a dark side! So with it’s crime fighting abilities in regards to (virtually) all out destruction of life as we know it as it travels, this does have a few drawbacks. Starting with the relatively benign elements, chlorinated water has that smell (and taste) that we associate with swimming pools, and drinking water of the same smell (and taste) can be less enjoyable! After all the adverts sold us water bubbling from (completely pure and absolutely hygienic) mountain streams, the last thing we want is to drink something that we associate with floating band-aids from an unknown (probably dirty and scabby) knee!! This smell does subside if the water is left exposed to air for a while, as the chlorine evaporates. Some people report rashes associated to exposure to chlorine, such as after a session at a swimming pool, in which the chlorine levels must be pretty elevated if the smell is anything to go by. There are also some concerns with this chemical being associated to dry skin issues and lifeless hair, if the cosmetics industry is to be believed. Perhaps more seriously chlorine and chlorinated compounds are being linked to cancers, with the organisation Breast Cancer Fund which is headquartered in San Francisco stating that people would be advised to avoid chlorine where possible, even choosing non-chlorinated feminine hygiene products! Which coincidentally, and I swear it is coincidental, allows me to link to this article that one of our bloggers wrote, sorry for the shameless plug. 😉 Chlorine also has a nasty tendency to react to organic compounds and produce the catchily titled ‘disinfection byproducts’, more easily remembered with the acronym DBPs. These compounds have a potential to cause cancer and are not recommended to be ingested while watching daytime (or anytime for that matter) TV, and in most developed countries regulations exist to monitor the levels of these to maintain safety.
Suitably bored now?? I apologise for the excess of information there, but that goes on to explain why we (well primarily Sara, as I am a big enough pain in the arse with all of my food requirements! I was going silent regarding deadly DBPs in my water supply) set off to find water filtration in this town!
We decided to go on a hunt to find a portable water jug with a filter, and Sara found a possible resource, a hypermarket called Jumbo. This has to be the largest supermarket type store we have found since we have been here, and it had a range of semi-familiar brands of all types of produce. It even stocked such exciting items as Vileda (not necessarily ethical or anything, but I know them, and they work) mops and the ever popular handheld vacuum cleaner! Neither of which we purchased, as I appreciate that we do not know how long we will be here. Also I love washing floors on my knees, it makes me feel humble and closer to the god that I do not believe in! Anyhow, we were not able to have any success at all in this area, and we believe that most people rely on household water filtration connected to their internal pipes, bottled water, or simply believe that it is not a big enough issue to warrant concern!
Anyhow, it was a great walk and we were out for nearly 3 hours, just looking around the place. Unfortunately there are few other stories here at the moment. Before we move on though, I would like to address a request that has come in from one of our favourite people, one Mrs K Underhill from Tempe, Arizona. She has asked what the blazes do we eat on any given day, and if Sara is happy with the food options that I force on her, in a similar manner to a geese being fattened for foie gras production! So great question, and thanks for asking! 🙂 To be honest, things are still a bit ropey, and right now, breakfast and lunch consists of eating as much fruit as I possibly can, in what ever format I can get it in! So I have melon, apple, pear, peach and plums wherever possible. I also eat raisins/sultanas mixed with sunflower seeds if the gods have been kind enough to allow me to buy them! 🙂 Dinner consists of a salad. This will have potato, if we have any, otherwise, it is carrot, tomato, onion, garlic, leafies (lettuce, rocket/rucola, cabbage), beets/beetroot, cucumber and olives. That is pretty much it for me. Sara will have a slightly more dense diet: bread with a jam for breakfast, with a piece or two of fruit. For lunch it will usually be bread with oil and salad. For dinner, the same salad as me, with olive oil and pasta. She will have some sweet snacks interspersed throughout the day. This could be the reason that she is a far more approachable and well balanced human being than I am! 🙂 I think that sara is okay, as long as we have enough food and enough sweet things to tide her over, not entirely disimilar to me, but I think that our choices vary slightly, with me being a bit odd with my desired to try and avoid refined sugars as much as possible. However, Sara does appear to be dealing with the changes in diet here well I hope that she is not to full of resentment, having married a food freak! 🙂
We have since asked Phyllis (Sara’s mum) and she has kindly accepted the challenge to send us a portable filter from the UK! We may live to fight another day, if chlorine does not get us first!!
Thanks for reading and please fire any questions through to us here and we’ll do our best to answer them as soon as I can be bothered, I mean as soon as I can pull myself away from the busy life here!!