Tales From the Toilet – Trekking in Myanmar

Squat toilets…my nemesis.  On our two day, one night trekking trip from Kalaw to Inle Lake, my central fear was, “what will the toilets be like?”  Up until now, every trip to Asia I’ve survived on 3 star hotel and restaurant toilets (built clearly for my Western bum).  This trek would offer no hotel toilets; no shiny porcelain, no inviting bathroom attendants offering paper towel, and no sink to wash the dirty off my hands.  Nothing!  My fear was only exasperated when I realized that my internal clock would be well past due, and I knew there would be no hope to hold the #2 longer than 24 hours, let alone 48.

I won’t go too deeply into the nasty details, but to make a long story short, I have a newfound respect for the village people of Myanmar.  I went to the bathroom a number of times on the trek and examined the contents of at least three different “outhouses”.  We don’t know how lucky we are until we see what’s out there. I have seen and I have used, and I am happy to be Canadian!

Something about waking in the middle of the night because you’ve got the runs, use a flashlight (or the more common candlestick), and boot it across the dirt road, around the wells that hold rain water, being careful not to step on any chickens and land safely on that squat toilet in the dark just seems like a lot of work.  Not to mention… what if you forget the toilet paper?!  If you’re terrified of creepy crawlers (especially nocturnal ones) then like me you will have shut your eyes the instant you got into the bathroom for fear of seeing something that may scare you out of your wits!

As I’ve written about in previous Tales From The Toilet, the real challenge with squat toilets has to do with good balance, strong leg muscles, and my other nemesis, proper aim.  If that isn’t normally challenging enough, try doing it with your eyes closed, holding onto your pants with one hand, a candlestick in the other, telling yourself “don’t look around, don’t look around, don’t look around”, AND making sure everything goes where it needs to go.  Whoa, talk about multi-tasking to the 9th degree!

Clearly, I’m not the princess I once used to be.  Three trips to Asia, and I’m feeling like quite the traveller!

– Katherine

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Categories: Myanmar, Tales From The Toilet, Travel Tales

Author:Thomas & Katherine

A love for travel, adventure, and photography. We just can't help but write about it!

One Comment on “Tales From the Toilet – Trekking in Myanmar”

  1. Anonymous
    July 28, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    Remember how many people squat? More than us that is for sure. I believe there is a yoga pose that celebrates the squat. Congratulations girlie!


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