The toilet door

Peru in 2008

Whilst traveling abroad with a small group friends, there is an unspoken rotating illness roster. At any one time there should only be one person suffering from a bad stomach or flu, otherwise it’s no fun for anybody. My turn came during an 8 hour bus trip in Peru.

We were on a double-decker bus. The top level was like a regular coach, but we’d paid a little extra and were in the VIP section on the lower level, where the seats were spacious and comfortable. A stomach bug had struck me that morning and  I desperately needed to use the bathroom, as much as I had wanted to avoid it. The bathroom was also on the lower level, just in front of the VIP area. It was a decent bathroom as far as buses go, though it hardly made what I had to do any more pleasant.

Unbeknownst to me, the toilet’s lock system was designed to seal the room and activate separate air-conditioning flow within the toilet, and despite a request to do so by the recording at the start of the trip, in my haste I had forgotten to lock the toilet door. I sat down.

My relief was very brief because, no sooner had I begun to return to my seat than I saw the driver’s assistant standing beside the open bus door. He was fanning the lower level with a folder. As I walked back to my seat, it dawned on me that the entire bus had gotten a whiff of the contents of my upset stomach.

To their credit, my friends didn’t give me any shi were kind enough to spare me any extra embarrassment and let me disappear into my seat for the remainder of the trip.


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