I’m a germaphobe, and there isn’t much I hate more than a dirty restroom. There are seriously some disgusting restrooms which have forever changed my standards of what a “bad bathroom” is. Also–I have no problem with holes in the ground. This goes way beyond that. Prepare yourself, folks. I’m working on my descriptive writing–like you know when you had to write three pages on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in high school? (Oh…was that just my high school? You guys did that in 6th grade? That explains a lot).
I have excluded my work bathroom from this list as I, sadly, encounter it every day–not just while traveling. However, some of the things that I encounter in that bathroom on a daily basis are reminiscent of things I describe below. You know it’s bad when you call your husband and explain to him how someone tried to flush a maxi-pad down a toilet with poop on the seat AGAIN.
Drum roll please…
#3. Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
See, I don’t know if this one was bad because it was inherently bad, or because it was so dark that you couldn’t see anything. When there is just a hole in the floor, this is a problem. And when things don’t go in the hole, it creates an insane mess of, well, shit. And that smells. I peeked in, and went out…the bush was much, much more appealing and smelled like grass. I’ll take my chances with wildlife. Statistically, getting eaten by a lion just has way lower odds than getting diarrhea on my shoes in that kind of situation.
#2. Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan
Wow, I mean, I guess I’m being naive and inappropriate, but I thought monks might be, well, neater? Quieter? Something? There was nothing neat about these bathrooms, and certainly nothing clean. The smell was oppressive and pretty insanely terrible. I guess when you build something on the side of a mountain, there aren’t many good options for disposing of waste? Also…first experience with an irrigation-type ditch experience. While I’m pretty talented at going pretty much anywhere, seeing things float by gave me a start. I literally peed as little as possible to make it back down the mountain. Avoid.
#1. Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
I’ve mentioned these before because they are truly unforgettable. They are etched in my memory forever. The only thing that reminds me (perhaps insensitively) of them is when I see pictures of Ebola wards. There was so much excrement on the walls and ceilings that it might as well have been spackle and plaster. I’m not even kidding. How I did not get sick from these bathrooms is something I will truly never understand. Thank goodness for hand sanitizer. On the upside, new bathrooms were under construction so I hope, for all you visiting Olduvai, that these have been burned. To the ground. Forever.
There you have it. I’m sure the more I travel the more I will be able to add to this list. Though now I send in someone ahead of me to “Heather test” it. To know whether or not it is Heather approved. And I don’t know whether it was inherited, but thank goodness for the biggest bladder in the world.