First off, I would like to dedicate this post to my brother – who has always been my biggest fan and despite the subject matter of this post as well as the complete embrace of vulgarity, will say “wow, what a great story!”
Secondly, I would like to warn some, especially Brett, that this IS about pooping. Lots and lots of pooping. (Sorry Brett, but at least I didn’t mention my period!)
So there I was, 6:30 am – Kathmandu, Nepal, in the lobby of my guest house. I was standing in the lobby with my 20 kilo backpack waiting for another guest and off we were going to catch the tourist bus. I had been in Nepal for less than 72 hours and was still out of sorts. It’s always a little overwhelming getting to a new country, even though there are similarities here to the other Asian countries in which I have visited.
I booked this bus through the reception at the hotel, so I had no idea what it looked like, except for the ratty picture hanging on the wall advertising a bus company. But really, one can never know if that’s the same bus company that they are partnered with, or if it was given to them during a promotion and decided they wanted to hang it as decoration.
The South Korean gentleman (whom I’ll refer to as SK) and I set out on time and arrived to a laneway full of buses. The cab driver asked for ours and we were soon dropped off next to it. About to board a guy started yelling at us “NEXT BUS, NEXT BUS.” SK and I looked at each other, plopped our bags down and waited for the next bus. At that point I was tired and ready to get on the bus to sleep. The ride to Pokhara was to take 6-7 hours, as confirmed by all the travel blogs I read prior to arriving. Also mentioned were how horrible the roads and rides were, but I paid no mind to that as people also said Vietnamese drivers and buses were horrible, but I ended up being okay with them.
Having not eaten due to the early hour and the fact that as a rule I never eat on travel days (until safely arriving in my destination) in fear of never knowing when the next toilet is coming. Plus, with my experience in SEA toilets in rest stops are generally squatters and what westerner would want to shit in one of those, let alone pee?
Kathmandu roads are poor. The cars and vehicles people drive are poor. The cab from the airport was bumpy and that made me a little queasy even, for the 10 minutes that took. The tourist bus was no different. Off we go the 90 miles to Pokhara… over 6 hours… but before we even leave town we make 3 more stops to pick up more people, to make sure every seat in the bus was full.
As soon as we wind out of Kathmandu the shaking and bouncing of the bus put some unusual and uncomfortable pressure on my bladder and intestines. My thought was “oh shit, I’m gonna have to pee soon.” For me, the goal on travel days is to try to avoid toilets at all costs. The cost is usually dehydration. So one more turn and we’re starting up this windy mountain road and now I’m thinking “Hmm, this doesn’t feel like just having to pee, I’m gonna have to poo too.” So I started my breathing.
I’m an anxious person. At that slightest sign of something nerve racking my tummy begins to hurt. I do not throw up any more, unless it’s a toxic emergency, because I puked too much as a kid and now just can’t do it. So if anything goes wrong in my body, there’s only one way for it to come out.
So there I was, on the bus, sitting next to SK, having to poop. And having to poop really, really badly. I didn’t know what to do. Not only had we JUST left, but there wasn’t a whole lot of option for stopping given the nature of the two lane “highway” (and I use that word loosely) that is the connection between Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Finally, about 30-40 minutes later, I realized this was no joke – I was going to shit my pants. So I did what I think all humans might do – started making plans. Plan 1) The bus driver knows of a Radisson hotel hidden in the mountain where I can use a nice western toilet, with cushiony toilet paper and eucalyptus soap. Plan 2) There’s a nice gas station somewhere, fuck toilet paper, I’ve got wet wipes in my bag. Plan 3) Just stop the god damn bus and I’ll shit on the side of the road… I don’t even care! Plan 4) I’ll shit my pants. I have wet wipes and a change of clothes in my bag. I don’t need these leggings.
After all of the rationalizations and planning I turned to the friendly French couple behind me, because SK was sleeping and announce “I’m going to be sick!” Without missing a beat she reaches down for a plastic bag and he goes for some tissue and offers me water. I look at them and shake my head, “No… no… I need a toilet.” Their faces lit up with “Ohhhh….” like yeah, that’s going to be a problem.
Luckily my panic and anxiety woke up SK, who was older and wiser and shook his head in agreeance and without a word, was headed up to the front of the bus to tell the attendant it was an emergency. I saw the attendant shake his head like – no problem – and hold up his finger for a just a minute. SK came back to our row to report the driver could stop in a minute, just around the bend.
Thank goodness, I thought. And out of nowhere, there was a little outlet on the mountain where about 3 buses could fit and there were a few outhouses and a place to buy coke and pringles. Before the bus came to a complete stop, I was at the door. Running to the toilet, there was about 5 people in front of me. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was about to shit my pants, so instead turned to the other females of my bus who were queued behind me and reported to them. “Ohhh…oh no…” was the general consensus. I apologized for being so honest about my biological state and the older American woman just meh’ed it off and says “honey, we all know exactly what that feels like, sorry it’s happening to you now.” That made me feel good. Humans connecting over the need to poo.
Before running into the squatter stall, I apologized that it may not be as quick as a pee. It wasn’t. There I was needing to shit, in a squatter for the first time, on the side of the mountain, in the pouring rain. Oh yeah, it was raining, and thundering and lightening. Perfect ambiance to shit your brains out. And I did.
It just wouldn’t stop. I was sure there was nothing left so I stood up… nope, more… The bus was honking, someone was yelling (it wasn’t in English so I have no idea if it was for me) and I just kept yelling back “HOLD ON. HOLD ON.”
I had given up everything in that moment. I didn’t give a shit (haha) if the bus left – I’d find a way. I didn’t care if the rain took the walls down – I’d still be shitting. Nothing mattered, I was in a state of complete wholeness of vulnerability and service to my body. There was nothing I could do.
Feeling finished I used the bucket of water to wash my waste down the basin, wet wiped and went. My bus was gone. The guy selling pringles next to the toilet pointed down the hill and about 50 feet down the hill was my bus, waiting, blocking 1/3 of the highway. Traffic was bumper to bumper, apparently as usual for this small mountain road. So I weaved my way through to the bus and the attendant goes, “what, did you poop?” I looked at him like “yep.”
Got on the bus, stomach a little more settled, but still really dizzy and shaking a little. My body was not doing well and I had no idea if it was motion sickness or food poisoning from the day before. I settled into my seat, closed my eyes and started to think about my future travels to lands with western toilets – anything to get my mind off how I was actually feeling.
Thinking ages must have passed and we must be half way there already the bus stops again, at a designated stop. “Breakfast break” the attendant says. What? Only breakfast? I checked my phone it was 10 am. 4 more bus hours to go. So I get off… and of course, go to the toilet. Same thing. I thought I had nothing else to give to the mountains, but surely I had just a little bit more.
At this point half the bus knew I was feeling sick and practically shitting myself. They were all concerned and trying to think of ways to help. There was an American girl from Hawaii on board, who gave me some pepto bismol tablets. We got back on the bus. About 10 minutes or so after we leave the breakfast stop, traffic comes to a complete hult. 10, 15, 20 minutes go by and you realize something is seriously wrong because there is no traffic on the other side of the road.
Eventually, about an hour later it is reported there was an awful, fatal accident and 2 buses collided, killing 5 people and injuring 8. We were stood there for another hour or so, until the ambulances and locals could help get the people out and off to seek care and they cleared enough space for traffic to continue.
Passing that, and already feeling nauseous made me even more sick. I had to open a window. Luckily I don’t puke, otherwise I surely would have after passing that scene and knowing what just happened. They were about 20 cars ahead of us. It was really, really awful.
Another guy on the bus thought so too. And stuck his head out of the window. I thought to myself “we just saw a brutal car accident, get your fucking head back in the bus” and then soon realized he was puking.
I was feeling better since the 2 hours of not moving helped me readjust. He was not. Everyone on the bus was getting queasy and uneasy, and eventually it was time for lunch. Everyone happily de-boarded to eat as our 6 hour journey was already at 7, and we weren’t there yet. I went to the toilets again, but was better. Still a little poopy-poop, but honestly I think it was just part of my intestines or stomach that had been shit out, and not actual feces.
With this new bus rider camaraderie I had acquired though my honesty with my new found skill of being a pooping machine, I decided to share that with the guy puking out the window (who was also pooping at all stops)(from what I picked up by him trying to sneak toilet paper in his sleeve). He was very catty and defensive, even though I offered my sincere empathy and some Peptol. I explained I was sick too. And he just looked at me. He didn’t care – *HE WAS GOING THROUGH THE WORST THING EVER, NO ONE ELSE COULD KNOW HOW HE FELT* So I handed him the peptol and walked away.
The french couple and SK called me over and offered to help me get some food, but I told them I wasn’t able to eat just yet. I didn’t want to risk it. Instead I bought a bottle of Sprite in hopes the bubbles would help calm my precious tummy. Back on the bus for the last stretch. I finally had rid my stomach and intestines of every single thing. I was ready for the last 2 hours of the ride.
Still, through windy roads and bumpy grounds we trotted onward. The 90 mile dive had now taken 10 hours. TEN. HOURS. We arrived into a muddy lot close to 5pm. I was still shaking and my stomach was still in circles. I jumped in a cab and proceeded to my guest house. All I wanted was a bed. I also wanted to know I had a toilet, even though I knew I wouldn’t need one for a while.
My guest house is clean and quaint, the owner is very friendly and wanted to chat, until I had to apologize for interrupting but I was sick from my journey and needed to rest. He understood yet still asked me what my plans were for Pokhara. I told him I was here to do a mediation retreat to which he responded “Oh there’s another guest here for that too!” He introduced us, we chatted for a few minutes and then I apologized again and stated I needed a rest. She understood as well.
Today – not much better. Still sick, even now with a cold as we were in the rain a lot (none of the stops were covered) and the need for the windows to be flung open every now and then for fresh air. My stomach still feels like it’s moving, so I ate lunch and retired to my room. I’m still so uncomfortable I am debating flying back to Kathmandu ($100/25 minutes) instead of taking the bus ($9/up to 10 hours/horrifying). $100 is a hefty price tag, but when I told my Mommy this morning what had happened and that I’m debating flying back – the wise ol’ bird goes “Sure, pay the $9, when you get to the bus stop you’ll see the bus and have to shit.” God, I love her. So I think I’ll take the 20 seat commuter plane because we all know THAT will be a story too.
Now it’s 4 pm, and I wanted to share my story with you, for several reasons – 1) Because as friends and followers you deserve to know the ups and the downs 2) Let’s face it, people get a good kick out of other people’s bowel follies 3) To educate those that are unaware that travel is not always glorious pursuits of underwater selfies and once in a lifetime moments.
Ah, let’s face it, this is funny and a good story. And I’m sure I will recall it frequently whenever I complain about a situation… I will think to myself “it’s never as bad as almost shitting yourself on the side of the mountain in Nepal bad.”
Namaste. Enjoy your comforts. ❤
One thought on “That time I almost shit my pants on the side of a mountain.”
Well, I must admit that I DID get a kick out of this story…in fact it was hilarious…but I feel bad that you had to suffer!!