At this point, dear reader, I am about to lower the tone of the entire blog. Some of you might think that is not possible, but I assure you it is. I am about to plumb the depths of bathroom humour. As such I am according it an entirely separate entry. Because of the subject matter, you will, I am sure , be relieved (ooops, sorry) to know that this is the first entry with no photos. However if you are of a delicate disposition you may choose to skip today’s blog and wait for the next one, which I assure you, will be of a far more spiritual and uplifting nature.
You may have already wondered about bathroom breaks, and to be honest with you it has been a topic dear to our hearts throughout this adventure.
On previous trips we have taken we have been traveling in parts of the world where every couple of hours we could take advantage of a road side place offering a nice cup of coffee and a clean bathroom. But those days are long gone. I think I have made it quite clear, without spelling it out in unnecessary detail, that the villages we are visiting do not offer nice cups of coffee, nor do they offer bathrooms of any description. We cannot as the saying goes, point Percy at the Porcelain.
On this particular day we have been traveling since eight o’clock in the morning and it is now after two in the afternoon. It has been a long time for bladders of a certain age and a certain discomfort is being felt throughout the Intrepid Ten. We delicately make our discomfort known to the guide who starts looking for a place where he can bring the pontoon into the river bank and where the undergrowth is not too thick for the purpose we have in mind. It takes a while but he eventually finds a suitable place to tie up. But we are not alone. There are seemingly thousands of the largest mosquitoes ever seen by man, and they have been waiting a very long time for a meal like this to come their way. The air is alive with their buzzing, but we decide it will probably be the same wherever we pull in, and besides the urgency of the matter at hand dictates that we do not wait any longer. Fortunately both Colette and Roger have some bug spray with them. We all spray our extremities liberally.
A democratic vote takes place and the men win the right of first access to the facilities. We take our places behind assorted trees, and point Percy. It soon becomes apparent that there is one extremity that we did not spray. The mosquitoes are immediately aware of this and zero in on the bugspray free zone, regardless of how small it might be. Percy, it has always seemed to me was quite a handful (quiet in the back row) but he suddenly shrivels to an unnaturally small size. But the mosquitoes are like a squadron of messerschmitts and with pinpoint accuracy attack the tiny target mercilessly. .
I trust, dear reader, that none of you has ever had the misfortune to have found yourself in such a predicament, but I am here to tell you that it is extremely difficult to hold Percy in one hand, fend off the mosquitoes with the other, and perform the task at hand as quickly as possible. In fact as it has been several hours since we last had the chance, the task at hand seems to go on for ever.
Finally we zip up and return to the pontoon. The mosquito bites cannot be seen and hopefully nor can our embarrassment.
Next up, are the women. They have been waiting a long time and almost run into the jungle.
After a few moments we hear a scream followed by a lot of swear words that we had no idea these charming women knew. They of course have exposed a much larger area to the marauding mosquitoes and even the old and infirm bugs have little trouble finding this new target.
The attack on Colette is so fierce that she is unable to control her squat and falls backwards into the undergrowth exposing even more areas to the aerial attackers, and allowing non flying insects to join in the feast. Her vocabulary seems much greater than that of the other women and is voiced at a much louder level.
Once we are all back onboard, we exchange stories and laugh, trying not to scratch areas that should not be scratched in public. We head on to the next village, and I am left to wonder if a similar occurrence led to the expression “once bitten, twice shy”.