A short interlude…

about going to the loo in foreign parts.

When you’re away you do tend to become somewhat obsessed about your toilet requirements,  or maybe it’s just that I do. Lessons learnt over number of years of travelling to India  in the early 90s taught me  to expect the unexpected, always carry loo roll, be grateful you can squat without falling over and make sure you aim in the hole.

Going too much or not enough….both are hazards in their own way when it comes to the euphemistically called ‘number 2s’. Who knows what lurks behind the backlog, and what happens if you’ve unleashed a force to be reckoned with and there’s just no going back, particularly if  your evening meal of chilies with your nasi goreng is determinedly exiting to its final resting place.  I probably am the only person to go to India, eat lentils till they’re falling out my ears and be so constipated that I even considered soap up the bum – a tip recommended by a fellow yogini, but the thought of blowing bubbles out the wrong end meant I stuck with the senna tablets I’d brought with me.

Getting caught short whilst travelling is the worst. Buttock clenching is often a lot easier to maintain than bladder lockdown. I had to pee into a duty free plastic bag whilst seated-ish (ok, squatting) in the ‘top bunk’ of a bus from Udaipur  (basically a luggage compartment with sliding doors and thankfully a curtain). Have managed to achieve without exposure or spillage I then had to dispose of the rather full bag of ‘not so’ goodies out of the window and pray it wouldn’t blow back into the passengers below.  Therefore peeing at every stopping point when on a long bus journey is a must-do strategy even if is does mean you are sharing the loos with a cockerel  (as happened en route to Inle – definitely was there, wasn’t hallucinating, it wasn’t even that late).

The toilets in Burma, without exception,  have been spotlessly clean even with the presence of unwanted fowl.  Soap and sinks are also in plentiful supply, although the men seem to swerve them. It certainly makes for a more relaxed approach to doing ones business when you’re not having to navigate around lurking turds that failed to reach the bowl. How does that happen and as important – who does makes the decision to deliberately not poo down what is clearly the disposal hole?

I’m thankful that nowadays either I’m more resilient to germs or probably that hygiene has improved so much, plus bottled water is available everywhere (although the plastic rubbish it creates is a major issue) that the chance of a bout of ‘having the shits’ (as Micky Flanagan so expertly explained here) is now drastically reduced. The days of having to stay in a hotel room, next to the toilet in anticipation of the next explosion are hopefully over – let’s hope they are not famous last words.



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