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On Bowel Movements (Again)

Yes, here I am talking again about one of these topics that have involuntarily become one of my obsessions while traveling.  Truth be told, I  intended to talk about this particular topic in greater detail and more frequently, but for a short while, it sufficed to just have Diesel listen to my rants about the deplorable conditions of most of the bathrooms in SE Asia.  Besides, I didn’t’ want to jinx myself.

By jinxing myself, I mean that never in my adult life have I’ve been so close to peeing and pooping in my pants than while traveling here  in SE Asia.  Now that we are about to leave Indonesia (Bali has great bathrooms, by the way), I am happy to report that I have not lost control of either my bladder or bowel during the entirety of this trip.  HALLELUIAH (rejoice with me)!  This is  more of a feat than most of you may initially think it is, given the fact that clean bathrooms are a rare commodity around these parts of the world.  Clean, Western-style bathrooms are even harder to come by.

Imagine this:  here you are, your bladder about to explode.  You look to your right and spot a shack.  You run and ask for the bathroom, reaching a tiny room in the back where the “toilet” has a big tub with a small bucket which is used to scoop the water out and flush the toilet.  This option, as filthy as it may be, has surprisingly become  acceptable in my book; I mean, you just squat.  And this brings us to the infamous squatting toilets, which do NOT allow for a clean disposal, no matter what squatter proponents say.  I mean, there’s stuff splashing around.  It’s gross.  But as much as I’ve come to terms with using with both the bucket-flushed and squatting toilets, I could NEVER use either for number 2.  There have been many cases where I desperately ran to one place to find a squatter and then rushed to the other side of the street only to find a bucket toilet.  Those were tragic times, I tell you.  Looking back, I don’t know how I survived this with my dignity and civility intact, really.

And it was not just the actual act that caused all sorts of paranoia, but also the stress that came with the anticipation of it.  Waking up and filling all your pockets with a  little stash of toilet paper ,  spending several months semi-dehydrated because I never wanted to run the risk of having to use the toilet,  my mad dashes across several establishments in the search of a clean bathroom; this anticipation even determined how long our treks could be (two days is my max).

Today, I can happily announce that I will soon be in Australia, the developed world, a world filled with beautifully clean bathrooms with real toilets, where there’s always toilet paper, and where you can always wash your hands with soap that smells fruity or flowery.

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2 Responses

  1. anyone who does not admit to similar thoughts and machinations is lying, and don’t forget the wet wipes….

  2. Lucky you’re traveling now. I’ve found at my advanced age, I need to pee all the time. In 10 years, my friend, if you travel like that, you’ll end up with a bladder infection. I guarantee it.

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