This is just one of those that you chalk up to experience it was a long trip through countryside some of it nice – some of it spoilt by rubbish, towns were varied but people were generally poor or at least seemed so. They generally seemed happy with their lot but what does a man travelling by on a air conditioned coach know about the complexities of each individual life that is passed by during such a very long journey.
It was a long journey and there were a lot of things to mull over but the one that I fixated on – when I was not trying to catch some shut-eye – was toilet habits and the old ‘East versus West’ debate. Generally we had come across Western toilets but the Eastern approach was not entirely unknown as I myself had the unfortunate encounter with somewhere or other – the experience being far more memorable than the location!
Okay I cannot remember the location but the actual cubicle is super-engrained in my mind and this particular squat toilet had actually been built on a plinth about 6-8 inches high. Now I had checked out the other cubicles and none were of the kinds us Westerners crave but this toilet as opposed to the others appeared clean by anyone’s standards. I had my clumpy hiking boots on and a bit of a time limit as we needed to be getting a shift on – as opposed to a shit on! I first had to assess the situation and my approach as it was my first time and my poo was not yet at ‘Ground Zero’. Okay it seemed simple enough, crouch down as far as I can go – after first downing my trousers and undies – and perform the necessary. The floor was tiled but my boots had thus far proved able companions during the most difficult of terrain – no problems there then? I walked over to the awaiting gaping hole with the air of a man attempting to negotiate Everest – I had decided upon the ‘show no fear’ approach so up I strode like a man going into battle! I de-bagged and then went for the Squat – now this is something I had seen big fat weightlifters do but as yet not tried myself and as I lowered myself, first I realised how difficult it was and then secondly, that one of my legs could not actually ‘squat’ and one was making a break for it by actually straightening. This was now getting tricky so then I placed the straightening leg against the cubicle wall to prevent it going any further astray and went back to trying to squat lower. As one of my legs was now wedged, the second had to do a bit of extra work and lower even further, which cockled me over onto one side so in order to at least prevent me falling over I had to hold the opposite cubicle wall – please do not try to picture this or try it at home. At this point my body (and brain) were both now starting to panic which in one way helped me void my bowel in double quick time but wiping my arse had now become a tricky business because of my wedgedness. Worse was to come in that both legs had decided to become a wee bit crampy but would they straighten to project me upwards – would they hell – both were moving independently and moving my body in different directions. This was getting bad, my arse was well wiped but hanging precariously over the gaping hole that was the bowl containing my excrement, both legs were trying to do a runner but in separate directions and I was sweating like a racehorse after the Grand National. At this point I decided the only thing I could do was make a jump for it upwards – a star jump with a lot hanging on it! I jumped for it, I jumped for England and all good Western toilets all over the world – I jumped for what seemed like an eternity. To my delight both feet landed on terra firma but my legs were suffering cramp and I boy did I have a story to tell my beloved when I regained fresh air and normal ‘outside of the cubicle’ society – God Save the Queen!
This over I do actually think back and wonder about what it does to Eastern people who spend their lives squatting soooo very low – they say it is good for the crapping but is it good for the joints says this roving reporter – Over and Out (for a Duck)! Western toilets still reign as far as this crapper is concerned.
Journey aside, the other interesting thing to happen when we reached a crappy little place called Probbolingo – a place even the Lonely Planet tells you to beware of – was that we met Nick Nack. This was to be the first of two meetings so you will have to read other blogs for the second part but this guy was the same height, looked like him with slick black hair (side parting) but the Probbolingo version had a bit of a back complaint and possibly something wrong with his legs. Who knows perhaps the actor who played Nick Nack – okay if you do not know who he is, he is Scaramanga,s evil dwarf … lol – suffers with the same complaints!
We had travelled most of the day but still had another 3-4 hours to go all of it uphill – tomorrow we should see Mount Bromo, an active volcano – I could not wait, well I could I think we were both so knackered and the room so cold and crappy that we actually went to bed in our clothes – worse still, we finally got to bed after 11pm and we were due to wake up at 3:15am – this had better be bloody worth it!