What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Smell in the Station September 21, 2013

Filed under: I Meant Well — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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When you travel, you expect to find things that are different from what you’re used to. One of those things is toilets. My husband and I watched tons of documentaries before we went to Europe, and a bunch of them said that in Italy there were some places where a toilet meant squatting over a hole in the ground. Me being the strange person that I am, I was really excited about this. I wanted to pee in the hole. Well, we never found one of those. Everywhere we went had normal toilets.

I did, however, find something to ease my disappointment. When we were going from city to city, we took a lot of trains. We even got to ride in a compartment like in Harry Potter. There was a man with a food trolley and everything. On our first long train ride, I had to go to the bathroom. Everything in the train bathroom seemed normal until you looked down the toilet.

Where you would normally see a u-bend or a little flap like on an airplane, there was just a hole! A gaping hole that led to the tracks. I could see the world speeding under me as I peed. I had a moral debate with myself about what to do with the toilet paper. I was raised not to litter after all. A little graphic, I know, but I was fascinated. I even made my husband go just so he could see how strange and cool this was.

One night, we were taking a really long train ride back from a day trip. I had tried to use the bathroom, but I couldn’t get the door between cars to open. I was stuck with no toilet for three hours! When we finally made it back to the train station, I had to go. There was no waiting until we got back to the hotel, and there was no public bathroom. There was, however, a train next to us that wasn’t due to leave for twenty minutes.

I walked casually toward the waiting train and snuck on. I went into their bathroom and looked down the hole. We were inside and below me were the tracks. But I had no choice. I had to go. As soon as I was done, I snuck back off the train, trying to ignore the puddle of shame on the tracks.


4 Responses to “The Smell in the Station”

  1. Melisa Says:

    I’m curious as to why they designed their toilets that way. I think men can handle the “shame,” but not us. Men are too daring.

    Maybe those who designed the toilets were male? 🙂

    P.S. Please don’t mention this to your dear husband.

  2. puzagirl Says:

    My husband and I went to Jordan a few years ago. There are barely any modern toilets anywhere. Believe me- squatting over a hole is HIGHLY over-rated! New mall in Al Aqaba- hole in floor, fancy restaurant in Amman- hole in floor. Thank goodness I thought of bringing tissues with me everywhere because there was also no tp, just usually a faucet and a pitcher…..noooo!

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