Leaving Ulaanbaatar I was not aware I was also leaving behind the sit-down flushing toilets. Sure, I had read the stories online about the squat toilets, but I could not have imagined the true horror of what they call a toilet: a deep dark hole, with 2 poo/shit covered planks………
At our first camp I was wondering why the ‘toilets’ were so far away from the camp, but while walking over, slowly getting closer, it became clear to me. The smell is unbearable!
I wanted to turn around, but when you gotta go, you gotta go. I decided to just cover my mouth with my hand and try not to breathe too much. I open door and almost faint. I gather up some courage and step inside. I want to close the door behind me and realize there is no lock. No problem, I can keep the door closed with my other hand. For a few quick seconds I stop covering my mouth to unzip my pants and squat down. Not a good idea. It makes me want to vomit. I need to cover my mouth again, but I also need a hand to keep my pants in the right position, because we all know what happens otherwise……
There are so many flies in the toilet and they start attacking me. They must know a fresh supply is coming and they multiply quickly. I swat them away with my other hand, which means I have to let go of the door.
As I only have 2 hands I need to make choices. I decide I don’t care who sees me and we are far enough away from the camp anyway.
So with the door open, trying not breathe, holding my pants in position and swatting away the flies, I need to relax enough to release myself. But this is not happening. I want to get out of here as soon as I can and decide to hold it all in.
After a while out in the country side I had to draw line, and I decided not to use the ‘toilet’, but rather squat behind behind the little shed. Not caring any more who sees me. Reaching the area behind the shed, I could see evidence of other people coming to the same decision.
Travelling with a friend makes these visits a bit easier. She can stand guard, to see if anybody is coming, and I do the same for her.
We have decided our friendship has reached a new level. We now openly speak about our daily toilet routine and of course witness each other doing it.
However, after more than a week I still have not been able to do a number 2. I just can’t relax enough and want to make these visits as short as possible.
One day, while visiting a beautiful waterfall, my body decides enough is enough. I need to go. I need go NOW!
But there are no toilets in the area! Even though that should not make a difference at this point, but there is no place to hide. No bushes to squat behind. And lots of people in the area.
I have cramps.
I remember our walk to the waterfall, and the steep climb on the rocks. I would have to do that again to get to a toilet.
The cramps get worse.
We start the climb anyway. I am scared. I start sweating.
The climb up seems to take a lot longer this time.
Once we reach the top I can see a toilet in the distance. I have never been so happy to see it!
I start running. I can’t hold it any longer, I have been holding it long enough!
O the sweet relief!!!!
And then I realise I have no toilet paper………