Methanol poisoning PSA.
Having heard several stories over the years of horrid 'Bali belly" situations, I was on high alert in regards to food as soon as I arrived in Indonesia. How I never heard any warnings about alcohol until after I was already sick, is beyond me.
Wine is my drink of choice, if out at a restaurant I will generally always order a glass of white with my meal, and I always finish my drink. The first glass I purchased with lunch at a prominent bar/club/restaurant on Jl. Raya Legian (Legian Street) tasted strong. I heard girls at the table next to me mention their blue vodka cocktails were strong too, so I just figured this was the norm for Bali. I finished the glass and ordered another.
When walking back to my accommodation after lunch, I began to feel sick. I kept thinking things like "oh it must have been the salad leaves, the lettuce would have been washed in water", and, "it could have been the pasta, it was cooked in water".
Running at about 50% energy and not wanting to give up on my Bali plans, I pushed through and spent the night having a great time at Paddy's Pub. When Paddy's closed, I walked back, once again along Jl. Raya Legian and decided to stop into a small bar that was still open and had a soccer game playing on the TV. I ordered wine. Half a glass of this horrid wine and I was running for the bathroom to spew. It was at that point I realised that I was sick because of the wine, not the food! As mentioned above, I never leave a glass unfinished, and I walked away from this one. That's how you know its bad!
The next day was a battle to stay 'travel happy'. I had a major sleep in, woke up at 4 pm, and I felt so sick that I would dry retch every time I tried to swallow any food. I began to get scared of eating for fear of throwing up. I had to cancel my Gili plans and extend my stay in Kuta for three more nights. There was no way I could get on a fast boat and head anywhere with the queasy feeling I had in my stomach.
Days 4, 5 and 6:
From this point, if drinking anything, I stuck to bottled Bintang's if along the main street (and a couple of cocktails at Paddy's), plus cocktails and a glass or two of wine at Kutabex (a hotel opposite the beach). Thankfully after staying away from wine on Legian Street, I started to feel okay again by the end of day 4. My appetite came back on day 5, and I managed to eat a pizza without feeling like I was going to die.
I cannot believe how derailed I was from drinking two and a half glasses of bad wine.
If you want a boozy bender in Bali here are five tips to avoid this situation:
Due to legal reasons, I'm not going to publicly name and shame the bars I purchased the bad wine at, however, if you have major concerns, email me and I'll privately tell you the places to avoid.