So, as promised in the last blog I am going to reveal one of my most embarrassing moments, certainly if not the most embarrassing, then right up there.
As mentioned we were staying in the small coastal village of Ngwesaung in Myanmar. We had been there a couple of days and were thoroughly enjoying just relaxing on the beach and riding around the countryside on our trusty scooter. Each night we would venture into the village itself and find some dinner. We quickly found a favourite haunt and would make our way there for a few drinks, some great hospitality by the owner and some awesome local food.
The down side to a few drinks tends to be the filling bladder and the fact that most of rural Myanmar is still squat toilets (which in case you’ve never seen one I’ve borrowed a photo from wiki to illustrate). Now for me the issue with squat toilets is usually they are filthy and negotiating western clothing and trying to stay off the floor and balanced after a couple of quiet beverages can be a bit tricky. So anyway of course the time comes to ask to use the bathroom.
(This squat is very flash with it’s white formwork. Many, including the one in this story, are literally a hole in the concrete floor with two foot prints pressed into the concrete as it was drying. This one is also pretty clean on the scale of things.)
Unfortunately for me this particular restaurant not only had a squat toilet, but it was outside across their darkened backyard. One of the staff grabbed a torch (flashlight) and escorted me out of the restaurant and into the void of pitch black. There he illuminated a traditional outdoor dunny, small and with no internal light. He handed me the torch and said he’d wait outside. Oh yay!!!
Now, this is where perhaps I should mention that not only am I not particularly good in the dark I am also seriously freaked out by spiders, so torch in hand I opened the door and immediately decided “do not look up”. I duly went about my business with no major mishaps until the time came to pull my jeans back up. As I arose from my crouch and tried to negotiate the reclothing of my nether regions that slippery life saving torch slid from my tenuous grip and whoosh, it’s freefall trajectory took it handle first straight down the hole in the floor.
So now I am half dressed, with no control over the only light that I have available to me, currently tightly wedged in the very toilet I had just used, with the beam shining straight up to the ceiling, where of course against my better judgement my eyes had to stray. Boom!!! I don’t know how many enormous spiders there were there as I didn’t stop to count them but lets just say that in my recall it was a classic scene from a horror film. I basically grabbed at my jeans enough to be decent and came all but tumbling out the toilet door, desperately calling for my escort to come and rescue me.
He was rather reticent to enter the toilet cubicle (as you can imagine) but as I had no light and the situation seemed rather dire I managed to convince him to come and help. So there I am, with this rather bemused young Burmese man, me still adjusting my clothing as we both stare into the squat where this torch is wedged perfectly down the hole, as I am desperately trying to stay out of range of the inevitable spider attack.
Thankfully he just laughed, adding to my mortification, and guided me back through the dark to the safety of the well lit restaurant. Needless to say, I had no more drinks that night as I was unwilling to venture back out to spider city and my embarrassment was far too fresh.
I have no idea how they got that torch out of the toilet, and I think that is something that I will never need to know, but I became too embarrassed to set foot in that establishment again at night. During the day we would stop in for lunch but for dinner, thank goodness there were other restaurants that had indoor facilities in town.
So the lesson learned out of all of this was..
a) Before you down any beers check to see where the toilet is located
b) DO NOT let go of that darned torch no matter what
c) Some days it just doesn’t pay to have any pride
The photos I have included below are a grab bag from our Myanmar trip. I have decided that rather than do a retrospective of our whole trip I would just share highlights (and lowlights as the case may be). Enjoy 🙂
I was learning to roll cheroots from a single leaf with a tobacco type filling.
These folks were heading out onto Inle Lake with their fish trap.
I was fascinated by this single orange fish at the local market.
These monks were being rowed across the Taungthaman Lake. I just loved the calm and the stupa in the background.
This was a massive temple built 1790-1819 but destroyed in an 1838 earthquake. 50m tall, 72m long and only 1/3 of the intended size. I am actually standing in the doorway.
The town of Bagan is one of the main reasons I want to travel back to Myanmar with my “real” camera. This 42sq km plain outside the town has over 3000 temples built between 1047-1287AD. It was mindblowing.
So I hoped you enjoyed my little tale and my photos. Myanmar is so high on my must go back list. And these places are why.
Next week, I wrangle whales! Well maybe not wrangle but I certainly get close enough to do so.