Beanery Online Literary Magazine

January 25, 2009

TURKISH TOILETS IN A DARJEELING (India) TRAIN STATION

Filed under: WR/BW MUSTANG — beanerywriters @ 2:15 am

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

TURKISH TOILETS IN A DARJEELING (India) TRAIN STATION

Sally Martin

An excerpt from

MUSTANG SALLY’S GUIDE TO WORLD BICYCLE TOURING   

     During the Beanery Writers Group meeting the Friday after the President Obama Barack’s Inauguration, I shared a post from my site on one of what I considered the most difficult of the problems facing the Inaugural committee—the title tells all: PONDERING THE PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION PORTAPOTTY PROBLEM—(this post actually inculdes historical events: Louis Phillipe and his travels through Southwestern Pennsylvania in the 1790s, and the Essenes in much earlier times). Then Sally Martin, author of the boom Mustang Sally’s Guide to World Bicycle Touring, read the following excerpt from her book, written in the humor her friends know is only Sally. She preceded the reading with a warning: it isn’t for the faint hearted!
     Read on…if you dare…

     I wouldn’t write about this if I had not read all of Bill Bryson’s novel books. Bill tells it like it is. If you don’t really want to know how it is, don’t read this.
     I had to get my ticket for the train to Darjeeling. Mr. Singh, my dear taxi driver promised to take me to the ticket place and wait there while I bought the ticket. It was a handsome building, built, no doubt, by the British in better times. There were huge, multiple ticket lines inside the building. Perhaps three light bulbs brightened its dank interior. I had need for he ladies room. That is not unusual.
     At a huge train station there should be a ladies room. Right? I could not see one and when I asked there were a lot of shrugs. I stood in one line and then was told that I should go to the line that lead up a stairway that clung to an outside wall. So I went to that line. There are special lines for “Europeans.” Pain began to wander around my adbomen. First an ache and then sharp pains then distressing urgency pangs. I went to an official the Boss, who was seated at an aged wooden desk. He was taking in money and handing out tickets around to the usual crowd of people who stamp things that go through their hands and then pass them along to others who stamp them also. One must assume that these are all relatives. All are employed. Then the ticket having gone through ten hands and around the room, is finally delivered to the purchaser who weeps with gratitude. India loves bureaucracy and then came the British who love bureaucracy and now, just try to imagine, the commuists now rule.
     Anyhow, my Problem is becoming very stressful. I go back to the Boss at the desk. He shrugs his shoulders again when I say I need a toilet. The guys on the stair let me go back to my place which has moved by three people in this half hour. I am now grabbing my suffering abdomen and hunching over. One of the guys yells at the Boss and he scowls deeply. Then, with a sigh, points to a door behind him. I hustle to the door and go through it. On the other side is a large storage area full of cardboard boxes. I scramble around them until I come to that very un-British thing, a Turkish toilet. It has the usual foot pad things aimed in no particular direction. I take a second or so to meditate on whether to head in or head out. It is acutally the other end that is the problem. I aim my rear toward the wall in case one of the officials comes in to check me out. The explosion of unwanted matter from my bowels could not have been worse, first a fine spray then clumps of distressed, curried vegetables painted the wall behind me. The four inch hole in the floor that is a Turkish toilet is hard to hit under the best of circumstances and when stuff is coming like as from a fire hose, no chance. By now, in addition to the abdominal agony, I’m beginning to weep from the embarassment of it all and can’t see and my nose is running. Here it comes, another paroxysm of pain and this time the convulsion is accompanied by a sound that there is no way to muffle. In spite of the usual cacophony of India, I am sure that the patient ticket lines in the waiting room have heard. More tears dribble. Other stuff dribbles too. I have never, ever, been so miserable. I mop my eyes and look around. The Turkish toilet is usually accompanied by a bucket of water and sturdy scrub brushes. There is nothing here. The usual napkins that we tourists carry are some personal help but I can’t even begin to end to the mess that is sprayed over the wall, boxes, and floor. Totally humiliated, I go out the door and shake my head in despair at the Boss. I give him a fist full of rupees. He rolls his eyes and shrugs. I start for the stairs. I have been in there so long that the line is gone and I go right up and get a ticket for Darjeeling.

NOTE: For information on Sally’s book, MUSTANG SALLY’S GUIDE TO WORLD BICYCLE TOURING, email beanerylog at yahoo.com with the words “MUSTANG SALLY” in the subject line.

ADDITIONAL READING:

www.beanerywriters.wordpress.com/

www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com

EVENTS, COMPETITIONS & MEETINGS January 22, 2009

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS & WRITER’S EVENTS: January 9, 2009

MUSTANG SALLY’S GUIDE TO WORLD BICYCLE TOURING

TIME TO GO

PONDERING THE PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION PORTAPOTTY PROBLEM

SELF-PUBLISHING AS I WANDER THROUGH IT

I HAVE A PERMIT TO CARRY…

PARIS CAFE’s

PROCOPE CAFÉ, PARIS: Part 1—Finding photographs: An International Adventure

PROCOPE CAFÉ, PARIS Part 2

LOGGING IN MAINE AND ON THE PERU-BRAZILLIAN BORDER

SHORT TRIP FROM SEATTLE, WASHINGTON To Ligonier, PA

VOICES OF WILDERNESS: PEACE MEETING

IT’S NOT THAT SMALL A WORLD

THE SPECTACULAR PENOBSCOT RIVER A Natural Wonder in Maine: Part 1

KEEPING PEACE IN SOUTH AFRICA Part 1

KEEPING PEACE IN SOUTH AFRICA Part 2

HIKING THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY Part 1 of 2

 

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