Tuesday, 25 August 2009

42: Why there's no cure for Cornish and getting ill in India

Issue 42, summer 2005

Whenever I venture abroad, and I don’t mean just over the Tamar to England, I always consider myself as a Cornish national and, as a consequence, an ambassador for Cornwall.

I’ve been to every continent in the world and a fair few countries on those continents.

Many of the people I have met on my travels have been courteous and hospitable. There have been times when unsavory incidents have arose but these moments you have put down to the experience of life, and you have to learn from these experiences.

Sometimes on my travels people ask me where I am from because of my accent. Occasionally, when others come across my name I am asked if I am Italian. Italian? Pengelly? Do I look or sound Italian?

When I travel, I try to set an example and respect the cultures of other people and generally keep out of trouble.

The only time I experienced real trouble was in India. Terrible tummy trouble.
I contracted dysentery in Jaipur and thought I would never live a life further than three feet from a toilet ever again. I lived on bananas and water for a week and in my fever dreamed of the A30 taking me back to Cornwall.

When the sickness came on first, it hit me like a wild bullock out of a shed. One minute I was happily nourishing myself with a chana masala and a cold Cobra lager in a smart restaurant, the next I was curled up in my hotel room with stomach cramps.

I thought I had been poisoned (which isn’t far from the truth) and called for the hotel room service. A man came up to my room and I begged him to call a doctor at whatever the cost.

After what seem an eternity of shivering and dashing to the toilet, there was a knock at the door and in walked an doctor with the hotel manager.

The two men spoke in Urdu and the hotel manager nodded at me and said: “He is English. He arrived yesterday.”

“Help me. I’m ill,” I pleaded, “and I’m Cornish.”

“I can help you with your illness but I cannot do anything about the Cornish,” the doctor replied seriously.

The doctor and hotel staff were both very kind and brought me bananas, water, medicine and toilet paper on a regular basis until I was better.

I remember their kindness whenever people come to visit Cornwall and act as an ambassador at home as well as abroad.

It is this generous hospitality of the Cornish that make them such good hosts, and also good guests.

The Cornish get a thrill out of welcoming others into our country as well as our homes. The Cornish also get a thrill out of travelling and are considered intrepid explorers, rising to the challenge of life in other places. The fact that there are some 9 million people of Cornish descent around the world is testament to this. If only they all bought a copy of Cornish World.

So welcome people into your home and appreciate the generosity when others invite you into theirs.

Yet for the millions of Cornish around the world, Cornwall will always be our home.
Have an enjoyable summer.

Nigel Pengelly, Editor
Pictured: The end of mining at Geevor, graffiti in the dry on the day mine closed for good.


Post a Comment