Friday, 14 September 2012

Number one for "number one"

For my very first blog post I was going to write about my favourite trip to date, and it was going well and I had really good intentions. Then I came off the high of proverbial digital ink, that's why this post has nothing to do with my travel experiences and more to do with life experience...

Don't forget the white gold!

Bush-pee like a boss!

Men have it so easy when it comes to this specific topic for obvious reasons, regardless of the fact that you now get a device that allows for women to stand up and pee(what?!). By no means am I claiming to be a pro but if you grew up in Africa like I did, somewhere at some random time and place you would have had to do your business in the wild... more times than you would like to disclose. Whether it's the actual “wild” where you could encounter any number of dangerous animals; the side of the road on an infinitely long stretch between civilisation; or any public toilet anywhere, ever. It's a basic survival skill a girl must learn at some point, mainly because you don't have a choice and hopefully before it's too late!

I remember fondly my first uncomfortable and outrageously funny encounter with a girl that didn't know how to pee in the bush. (For all that is good and decent woman, you live in Africa, did your mother not teach you ANYthing!) Good natured I offer to take her sister and herself, almost like taking your dog, because they were frantically hopping around and genuinely looked scared for their lives.
We weren't in the wild African bush where a lion could devour you once your pants hit your ankles! (Not likely to happen anyway, but I guess it's still a possibility.) We were waiting at a checkpoint in a tree plantation for one of my brother's cross-country marathon events... or something to that extent, I don't know. (I don't really run, unless something is chasing me. It's pointless. And you just look stupid.)
For a girl who is on the verge of a complete meltdown because she had to do her business out in nature, she insisted on taking a path into the plantation a kilometre away and a further 200 meter into the thicket. This significantly upped the risk of encountering snakes, badgers or bush pigs but she felt we needed to get as far away from any human that could potentially help us should we actually stumble upon a black mamba. But whatever, it's her ass on the line, literally.

After a few failed attempts to find the right spot, and I guess what you could call “stage fright”, she finally took the plunge... and despite my warnings and later hysterical laughter (I'm kind of an a-hole), not one drop fell on the ground. It all ended up pooling in her pants. Lets just say it was a long and wet trek back down the hill. Mission failed.

More recently I paid absurd amounts of money for a luxury safari and ended up squatting behind shrubbery anyway! My hubby and I spent a glorious weekend at a luxury private game reserve where we were grouped with a lovely Thai couple for the game drives. Since bush-peeing is more a two-man endeavour (it's of the utmost importance that someone keeps a look-out), the Thai girl and myself took on this excursion together. It's really awkward if you don't know your bush-peeing partner. And a one horned giraffe was staring at us which made it even more uncomfortable. Now every time I remember her, I think of the unnaturally loud slush it made as her pee hit the ground. Not even a Serengeti stampede could drown that out. (Is this getting a little too graphic?) She also took toilet paper, which just pissed me off since you're not supposed to for a “number one”. Unnecessarily spoiling the natural habitat, and also because I didn't think to take any myself!

Here are a few lessons I've learned about bush-peeing:

#1 If it's your first go at it, don't wait till your eyes get watery, cause then you're under pressure to perform and all kinds of things could go wrong.

#2 The skill of bush-peeing should preferably be taught to you by your mother or close relative... or just use your head.

#3 You shouldn't be too far away from the ranger or your group. Choose a spot that's private but not completely secluded. Far away enough so they can't hear you pee, but close enough so they'll hear you scream.

#4 If it's dark take a flash light or you could walk yourself right off a cliff like I almost did. Or step in poo, either way it could end up all sorts of nasty.

#5 In the wild you're not supposed to leave anything behind, so if you're not planning on bagging your used TP, airing out is the way to go. Or you could turn to mother nature herself, but beware of grabbing just any old leaf, unless you're OK with itchy nether regions.

#6 Never go alone, someone should always keep a look out. Preferably someone you know and trust. Someone who won't blog about it afterwards.

#7 If your partner tells you your peeing in your pants, just listen to her!

#8 Watching someone bush-pee in their pants is really funny. Just be sure not to wet your own.

I've also found my African bush-peeing skills come in handy at public toilets... especially the ones on an air plane a few hours into the flight. And Amsterdam, cause that was just nasty. And the unfortunate ablution situation I encountered in Hong Kong, the dreaded “squatty potty”.

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