Another installment of wayward travel advice for the anxious and burdened. This time, Bad Mike mentors an overweight individual on using a squat toilet.
Wayward Travel Advice for the Anxious and Burdened
Too Fat to Crap and the Low Down on Using the Toilet in Asia
Dear Bad Mike,
I really want to travel to South East Asia but am terrified of having to use a squat toilet. The problem is my weight which is about 350 pounds. I can get down but I do not think that I would be able to get up again. My knees cannot support my weight the way they should and God help me if I get diarrhea.
Any advice for someone like me who desperately wants to travel but am terrified of having to use a squat toilet?
Dear Fear O’ Crappin’,
Once upon a time I too was fat and sported an extra 30 to 40 pounds of jiggly delight about my not-so-jolly belly. And I hated it. And I hated myself for it.
Obesity is the curse of our age. Even the once lithe and scrofulous French lovelies now shiver the timbers as they mince heavily upon the earth. Blame it on the sugar cartel. Even the air in America, the enervating breath of freedom and the God-given right to blast your neighbor into little pink bits should he come a-knockin’ uninvited (damn, I do digress) is super-saturated with bleached and ultra-processed yums yums. Maybe we all suffer a collective depression. Well, when the Revolution finally drags its tardy ass … but who really wants to waddle into the street to demand a fair shake when there is so much good stuff on TV.
Allow me to be blunt: budget travel can be tough. Lugging a backpack up and down rickety stairs and in and out of dark and dank alleys in pursuit of a cheap and decrepit room where one can finally flop exhausted onto a love juice stained mattress and into an orgy of bedbugs skittering and whooping in hoot-nanny celebration—-a word to the wise … never, ever peek at the pillow upon which your tender curls will rest and dream dreams of pedestrian happiness for there will be many markings mapping frenzied spurts of face painting and lust crazed droolings—-requires a modicum of physical fitness. Give me a moment to catch my breath.
A traveller must be prepared to endure a multitude of deprivations: we sacrifice a home, a career, a fuzzy pet, and all the comforts of a gray half life so that we may traipse through sere landscapes enduring eternal stretches of romantic desolation. It is a pariah dog’s life but it is a life vastly richer than that of the floating globs of humanity forever-getting-ready-to-live instead of just living.
Lose the weight, toots. If you want to travel desperately enough you will. Not only will the gorgeous you finally emerge but think of all the cash you’ll stash. Another, more positive truth is that there are many, many Asian cowboys eager to mount and Hi! Ho! single cash-positive foreign women. Especially the long-neglected. No need to search out the One-Eyed Ranger, he will find you, my lusty mare . . .
… returning to our regularly scheduled program …
Bad Mike’s Guide On How to Use a Squattie
A squattie looks like an urinal embedded into the floor. There are lightly crenulated places to plant your feet. Plant them flat, you’re more stable that way. Hovering on the balls of your feet and losing your balance incurs a discouraging penalty.
No one ever talks about this part, though it is an important component of the act: what does one do with pants? Dropping them to your ankles as usual risks the very likely possibility that you will leave with an extra package to carry. Undressing is the better option.
Assuming that all goes well the clean-up follows. Get used to living without toilet paper. Water is the cleaner option.
To wit: Once upon a time in the common room of a Kolkata Sudder Street hotel, a Slovenian half-wit regaled a very uncomfortable troupe of young girls with a demonstration of the efficacy of water over toilet paper using a smooth rock as a substitute for the anus, for which we can all be forever grateful, and ever-available smudges of dog shit as props. The water demonstration won out handily over the toilet paper. Some lectures just need to be seen through to the end.
The delicate cleaning of your undercarriage traditionally requires the use of your left hand. I’ll leave that part to your discretion. ‘Where’s the fucking soap?!’ will probably be your next question. There isn’t any. Better to know this beforehand (no pun intended) and bring your own.
Flushing is pouring a couple of buckets of water into the porcelain. Pour from a low height. Splashes are not for the squeamish nor sparkling white socks.
Asian plumbing in budget hotels and guesthouses choke on toilet paper. That is what the bin in the corner is for. The proper protocol is to only use toilet paper to dry yourself. Of course that concluding step is often neglected and many folks simply pull up their drawers and stroll forth into the great gaping yonder, the wet seat of their pants attesting to their recent adventure.
Should you diss Bad Mike and neglect my sage advice … O Sweet Jesus, never load up a wad of tissue and cavalierly toss it atop the bin. Imagine the horror when the next performer of squat pops open the lid and is met eye to winking eye with a smeary clump of your lumpy exhaust. Some images just burn themselves into your cerebrum.
Got a problem? Ask Bad Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bad Tripping is a Q and A series on Vagabond Journey that covers the less discussed — though often ubiquitous — aspects of world travel. Please send questions, love letters, beer money, and threats to Bad Mike at the above address. Or just read the Bad Tripping archives or subscribe to the series by RSS.
About the Author: Bad Mike
I like the velocity of travel — it is the constant motion, like the flitting movement of a loaded brush over canvas, where a rhythm develops and is occasionally syncopated by thwarted plans or minor disaster. It is a way of living and an exploration of the outer world and my inner landscape. There are dangers in such a way of living. Rarely are there external dangers; what is to be feared is the habit of exchanging nullity for nullity, drifting from visa to visa until either the money runs out or the earth simply swallows you. Painting and writing is the binder that holds my center together while also compelling me onward. To what end I do not know … these are voyages of discovery. The destination, if there is one, will manifest itself at some point.Bad Mike has written 28 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
Bad Mike is currently in: Gokarna, India