Monday, July 09, 2007
...And the waters of the Nile ran...brown.
Current mood: crappy
Category: Travel and Places
I was so excited to be taking my first and only trip to Egypt . It's been a lifelong dream of mine. In going over my list of "things to pack" recommended by the tour group; I came across a strange entry. Toilet paper. Don't they use toilet paper in Egypt ? Why do I have to bring a roll of my own since the tour stressed that the hotels were superb. Also on the list was Imodium AD. I had toilet paper handy and threw a roll into the suitcase -- but I'd never used Imodium AD and had none -- and promptly forgot about it. I was going to spend 15 days in glorious, exotic Egypt !
There was also the customary travel and cultural warnings. Don't go out alone if you're female. Dress in light colors and more conservatively. Stay hydrated because the temperature can get above 125°F. Don't eat any dairy because they don't pasteurize milk. In retrospect, this casual phrase should have been written: DON'T EAT DAIRY BECAUSE YOUR BOWELS WILL VOMIT THEIR CARGO AT A SPEED CLOSE TO WARP FACTOR NINE!!!!!!!!!
When we landed after a 10-hour flight, everyone was tired, cranky and hungry. We checked into our hotel, went to dinner and went to bed. The next morning we had a wake-up call at 5:00am, breakfast at 6:00am and we hit the road by 7am. You travel early in the mornings or early evening because in the middle of the Sahara Desert -- it gets Satan-scrotum, scorchingly-hellish-hot midday. I was so exhausted and jet-lagged from the night before that I completely forgot the "refrain from dairy" caveat. That evening, I had two spoonfuls of pudding and then cursed myself mid-spoonful for forgetting.
The Sphinx and pyramids were spectacular. I was fine. Day after that? Fine. I felt I'd dodged the bullet. So with the Cairo portion of our trip over, we boarded a plane to Luxor to see The Valley of The Kings. I was traveling solo so the tour company matched me with a female roommate -- Helene. Worthy of mention is the fact that thus far -- I felt no discomfort from the two teaspoons of pudding days ago. Nada.
Imagine our delight when we were assigned one of the few rooms that overlooked the Great Nile River ! We opened our hotel room door and began hugging and jumping up and down for joy! All of a sudden with no warning whatsoever, the contents of my fartpipe went from solid to liquid. It happened as suddenly as the final episode of The Sopranos ended. Instantaneously. No warning whatsoever. No pre-gurgling, no pre-cramps. Hot Eau de Poo.
I stopped mid-jump and I guess the expression on my face said or something close to "heart attack" because Helene said, "Are you ok?" I grabbed my guts and made for the bathroom with little, tiny Geisha steps because my butt-cheeks were clenched tighter than the Virgin Mary's legs to prevent the dread crème de cacao accident. Once in there, I realized that I'm wearing a jumpsuit that zips up the back! FUCK! I finally got the zipper down whilst dancing "The Merry Poo Jig" and I think I was shitting before my ass touched the seat. I was crappin' at a speed close to light. Apparently there was a little, itty-shitty, pissed-off Charlton "Moses" Heston in my colon commanding Yul "Pharaoh Ramses" Brenner to let his chocolate people go -- and make haste! So let it be written, so let it be DONE! And the poo Jews were liberated from Egypt ! Every last one. My poo runneth over.
This lasted for about 20 minutes. Helene kept knocking and asking if I was ok and all I could manage was a groan. When I exited, I was too ill to even be embarrassed by Helene undoubtedly hearing the 140 decibel earth-shattering-space-shuttle-blastoff shit I just took. I was shaking all over, bathed in sweat and dangerously close to tears. I apologized and then I lay across my bed.
Apparently the microbes have a gestational period. The next day at breakfast, we compared stories with other erupting travelers. We were traveling with 2 busloads of tourists and both buses were equipped with a bathroom. Both bus bathrooms smelled like a rotten camel carcass left in the sun. I'm talking O DEAR! One bus driver actually locked the john and told us it was broken because he got sick of the smell. Eventually, he was forced to unlock it or risk having to clean shit off his seats. The extreme heat, the vile diarrhea took its toll on us all. You'd take Imodium and be fine for a day -- then the medicinal butt plug would fail and you'd be back on the commode singing "Kumbaya." Someone's shitting My Lord, Kumbayaaaaaaaaaaaah!
My ass was a Bosco-chocolate syrup factory and I turned every toilet into my own desert poo oasis. I have a horrible fear of crapping in public restrooms from my past "poop post-traumatic stress disorder" but I had no other choice. Technically I guess I could have crept behind the Sphinx or some other national monument -- but who knew the punishment if caught? This is a Muslim country after all. A rectal beating with a cane? Anal amputation? I wasn't going to risk it.
By the time we got to the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, I was sore and in need of some Rectal Chapstick because my anus was swollen to twice its normal size from overuse. I'm sure my butt lips looked like I had gone 15 rounds with Mike Tyson punching me in the rectum. The further South down the Nile we traveled, the fewer creature comforts we had. When I rang housekeeping for some extra toilet paper, she showed up with 3 of these tiny one-ply 1/4" thick rolls. I'm used to the giant, bunny-fluffy 2-ply 4-1/2" double rolls! What the fuck is this? Nearly all the toilets had a hose attached to them but who wants to go to the Rectal Car Wash every visit? I didn't carry a hand towel to dry off anyway. I pictured Gomer & Goober Pyle asking with a Southern twang, "You want an anal-wax with that, Ma'am?"
I began trading meds on the black market with our fellow travelers. Bartering. I've got Advil for some Imodium! Do you have any Kaopectate for some Midol? Imodium for Benadryl? Anyone got any Preparation H? Not just me -- others were coming down with moderate to severe bleeding hemorrhoids from the 1999 Lalapoo-pooza Crapfest.
By the time we got down to Abu Simbel, the worst was over for me -- but only beginning for others. There was a really rude lady on my bus -- and I had witnessed her obstreperous harangue to a bartender the night before. I overheard her yell, "Don't you speak English!? What the hell is the matter with you people?" Ahhhh…The Ugly American rears her ugly little head. Sigh. You are in a foreign country and the entire world does not speak English Missy. But, she got her just deserts when we arrived back at the hotel because as our bus was pulling up (she was seating on the aisle) she leaned over her seat partner and barfed out of the bus window and as I looked over, I noticed a spreading brown pool emerging on the back of her pants. A befitting poo de grace. OOPS! Ms. High and Mighty had crapped her khakis! She shrieked, "IT'S COMING OUT OF BOTH ENDS!" I looked at her poor seat mate's face and he was beyond horrified. His expression was priceless. He wanted nothing more to do with Count(ess) Chocula. Judging from his expression, you'd have thought she'd crapped on his upper lip.
I tried my hardest not to laugh but I almost developed a hernia from trying to hold it in. After all, she was an unpleasant, malicious person so this assuaged my sotto voce giggling somewhat. And you know what? By the time the trip was over, that big roll of 2-ply, bunny-fluffy toilet paper I brought was g-o-n-e! Always listen to the tour company children. Always.
The good news is that I lost 10lbs on that trip and how many people can say that they crapped from Cairo to Nubia ? (In retrospect, probably lots.)
What’s Your Poo Telling You?
By M.D., Anish Sheth
Release date: 26 April, 2007