Back to that bathroom
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.
for my flashlight...
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
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
in different countries have different expressions just as
people in different countries differ in expressions.
(Source: Gertrude Stein, Everybody's Autobiography, 1937)
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
(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
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'
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
Bathroom Times on an Aircraft
Indonesia, Only Westerners Carry Paper