Warning after tourists 'poisoned' by cocktail in Bali: 'Sketchy'
Another suspected case of methanol poisoning has sent a shock wave through Bali’s tourist community.
“Another day, another tourist cops a wack from a very sketchy drink,” a post read online.
“One cocktail [and] spewing his heart up 20 minutes later. Still not out of the woods.
“This s**t is still very real.”
Visitors to the holiday island are regularly reminded about the dangers of drinking spirits and local liquors which can be laced with methanol. But this wasn’t known to the victim.
“I am from Canada and this, at least where I am from, is not common knowledge,” Krauzby Rea wrote online.
“Please, please be careful.
“Myself and my fiancée are very sick still, and I would never wish this upon anyone.”
From ‘high class’ cocktails to hospitalisation
The 25-year-old from Vancouver was on a two-week holiday to Bali with his girlfriend, Amanda Mawdsley, and her younger sister when they ended up at a “very high class and very well rated restaurant” on their second night, Mr Rea said.
Not thinking twice, the couple got one “very expensive” cocktail each.
Five minutes later, Mr Rea says he became extremely drunk, which he said was not normal as he is a 109-kilogram man. And, 15 minutes after that, he became violently sick.
“Something didn’t feel right so I was kind of panicking,” he told Yahoo News Australia.
“I started looking into what this could be, and then figured out it was likely methanol poisoning.
“I got really scared because I [read] about quite a few people dying from it.”
Through research, Mr Rea discovered that drinking ethanol, found in all alcoholic drinks, counteracts methanol and can delay the poisoning so immediately ran out to buy some imported beer.
After a worrying night, the couple tried to seek treatment the next morning but were turned away from the first hospital they visited.
“They would not treat me for methanol poisoning,“ he said. “They couldn’t even test for it.
“I ended up going to a hospital in a bigger city, but they also couldn’t test or treat it.
“However I ended up staying there and they rehydrated me and gave me some medication, which helped the symptoms quite a bit.”
Unfortunately by the time Mr Rea was better and discharged, Ms Mawdsley had become violently sick.
Knowing there was a three-hour wait to be seen at the hospital, and the lack of any treatment, the couple headed back to their hotel room.
Between sipping safe alcohol, they both continued to suffer vomiting and severe diarrhoea.
“I had really bad stomach cramps and was getting very, very dizzy all day,” Mr Rea said.
He added that they came close to going home but now that they’re feeling better they want to stay on and just put it all behind them.
The Canadian is now determined to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking in Bali.
“It happens too often here and so many just have no idea,” he said.
“So it is just super important that the word gets out that spirits are not safe here, because it’s just not well known, at least not in North America.”
Many remain in the dark
Unfortunately, Mr Rea isn’t wrong.
Earlier this month a tourist was hospitalised following a brush with the local brew known as arak, while in June an expat mother of two living in Bali died after drinking a home-made batch of limoncello.
“I lost my 21-year-old sister in law to methanol,” one woman wrote online. “She had no idea about methanol poisoning as she had never heard of it.
“She was Irish so she would not have been aware of any Indonesian news.”
Troublingly, it can happen anywhere at any time, according to Colin Ahern, who runs the Just Don’t Drink Spirits in Bali Facebook page.
Drinks can become contaminated at any point in the supply chain.
“Everywhere has the possibility of serving a drink that could hospitalise you,” he said.
“Nearly all won’t but you really don’t want to find the one that does.”
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Friends 'poisoned' after drinking cocktails at five-star Bali restaurant
Others online chipped in with their own horror stories.
“It can happen at your hotel, no one knows which bottle it’s in,” one person wrote. “I had a cocktail at my hotel, passed out. Luckily there was a nurse there and she took me to the hospital.”
“I got spiked [from] my first ever cocktail in Bali,” another said. “My eyesight has never been the same from that night on. I would never ever drink a cocktail in Bali again.”
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