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Africa - Outdoor Bathrooms are Scary Things

Back to that bathroom thing...

No matter the beautiful days, I still had to deal with a nagging urge "to go" during the night. I fumbled around for my flashlight and switched it on.

Shadows lunged at me. Through the tent's mesh I glimpsed a flash of red and glint of blade. My mouth went dry, body rigid, scalp prickling. But then I recognized the cloak and spear of the Masai guard padding softly past to make sure nothing carnivorous was about to rip through my tent and gobble my flesh.

I swung my legs out of bed, gave my shoes a thorough shaking to make sure no toe-eaters hid in there, then crossed to the tent "door." I pored over the zipper, illuminating the floor all around it with the flashlight -- I didn't want to wake the whole camp if I touched something animate down there. Satisfied I was alone I unzipped, the sound harsh in the black still of night.

I peeped out, arcing the light to right and left, above, below, (nothing but lush vegetation was visible). I then aimed my flashlight at the tarpaulin flap ten feet away, behind which promised relief. I hopped out of my tent, spun around to zip it back up again (this is vitally important), then I believe I actually flew into the little log structure where resided the chemical toilet.


Thank goodness for my flashlight...

I stared at the lid, my imagination conjuring up all manner of bottom-biters just waiting for me to lift it and present my bare bits. Something rustled in the thatch roof. I stiffened my upper lip and got on with what I came here for. The only place I dared put the flashlight was between my teeth, because who knew what might crawl onto it if I lay it down in the dark?

As I sat so vulnerable, I wondered what would happen if whatever lurked up there dropped into my lap. I would die, that's what! The Masai patrol would find me in this undignified position. I suddenly had one of those out-of-body experiences and saw myself and the situation I was in. It's a good job the flashlight was in my mouth, or I'd have awaken the entire camp with hyena-like laughter.

P.S. The flashlight in my teeth turned out to be a great idea -- a sort of miner's headlamp -- which I recommended the next morning to all my sister travelers. They, too, had faced the toilet demons during the night. At times like this -- we all agreed -- we're Journey Women who, without a doubt, experience tremendous penis envy. Men simply have better camping equipment.


Women's words on animals...

Animals in different countries have different expressions just as people in different countries differ in expressions.
(Source: Gertrude Stein, Everybody's Autobiography, 1937)

Penguins mate for life. Which doesn't surprise me that much 'cause they all look alike -- it's not like their gonna meet a better looking penguin one day.
(Source: Ellen DeGeneres, Mirabella, 1992)

Did you ever see a giraffe? It's like seeing something between the regions of truth and fiction.
(Source: Geraldine Jewsbury, 1892)

The lion began to contemplate me with a kind of quiet premeditation, like that of a slow-witted man fondling an unaccustomed thought.
(Source: Beryl Markham, West With the Night, 1942)

The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women, Rosalie Maggio


Women's words on toilets...

When nature calls, even intrepid travelers prefer to make a comfortable reply. In this spirit, www.thebathroomdiaries.com created by Mary Ann Racin (an American Journeywoman), locates clean, free restrooms around the world. This informative site depends on the largesse of its readers. So, if you know a tidy public loo anywhere in the world, please submit it to this website and make the world a better place for travellin' women.

Also, on the topic of toilets, there's a new book out's that well worth looking into if you're travelling in developing countries. Written by Dr. Jane Wilson-Howarth, it's called "Shitting Pretty : How to Stay Clean and Healthy While Traveling (Travelers' Tales Guides.) Need we say more? We think the very direct title says it all.

Still on the same topic, check out these other Journeywoman articles:
Best Bathroom Times on an Aircraft
In Indonesia, Only Westerners Carry Paper


Have you dreamt of going to Africa?

masai woman If experiencing Africa is what you have always dreamed of, then do it! Start slowly with research on the subject. Find out about clothing that is culturally correct. Think about which areas you'd like to visit. Find out which tour companies in our Journeywoman Network go there. Chat with the women who run the companies. They'll be happy to answer questions, send brochures and point you in the right direction. You Go Girls!

Africa stories in our JW Collection...
She Tackles a Baboon in South Africa
Outdoor Toilets are Scary Things
Two Women One Baby in Africa
She and She and Necklaces

 

 


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