This is a guest post by Dee’s mom Terry! Both Dieter and Terry met up with us for 3 weeks of traveling around Thailand. Here’s her experience while we were in Khao Sok National Park on the raft houses.
We were shown on the internet where we were going. Wanting to show our children that we were not sucky parents we agreed to this experience. After all, we have been camping in the worst of the worst conditions before, so how bad could this be?
On a longtail boat trying to enjoy myself when I don’t really like boats to begin with.
The “VIP” mini van picked us up from our bungalow first thing in the morning. After 30 minutes, we arrived at the dock where many longtail boats were waiting. Longtails are a popular mode of transportation in Thailand. They actually use a real automobile engine, no regular marine motor here. Our 1 hour trip on the longtail was very pleasant with calm water on a huge man made lake, created by a dam. The lake had huge mountains of limestone cliffs jutting up out of water, it was very beautiful. Upon arriving, we were not sure at this time what we had gotten ourselves into when we saw the floating raft houses on the lake for the first time. Things did not look good but I was being very brave so far. Getting in and out of these longtails was a huge challenge for Dieter and I, he has bad feet and I only have one good hand, but somehow we managed okay. While walking on the bamboo dock to our little raft house I had to remind myself it was too late to change my mind. It was hard to keep this thought when we entered our home for the night. Inside was just a thin mattrees on the bamboo floor with a mosquito net full of holes. Yep, this is going to be fun guys!
Dieter navigating the sinking bamboo walkway with his cane
I must admit, we were fed a very good lunch which helped to lift my spirits and shortly after it was time for the kids to leave for their cave hike. Dieter and I opted not to go. Which we soon learned was a very wise decision. Mother nature was calling and that meant I needed to use a toilet pronto. After a very treacherous hike on a side of a cliff made of bamboo and rock or whatever they could find to make some steps, I finally reached the toilet. That is when my nightmare started.
*Not the actual photo, but you get the point.
I tried looking in different cubicles for my options but I needed to go quite badly. I had heard about squatters from the kids but have not had the unlucky privilege of using one yet. I looked at this very strange object in-front of me. How do I use it? Backwards, sideways or face forward? I finally positioned myself over the squatter in a similar way to sitting on normal toilet, with my shorts and underwear carefully placed around my knees as the floor was all wet. The comfort of my bowel movement was very short which is when I noticed there was no toilet paper. Panic hit me instantly.
Unsure what to do, I returned to a standing position and happened to look at the squatter. Shock! My aim was pretty bad as all I can see is a white bowl covered in shit. Beside this I noticed a big barrel of water with a small bowl inside of it. So, I start bailing water into the squatter and become obsessed with trying to get it clean, I just could not manage the courage to just leave it that way. The shit is not budging. My only alternative left was to use my hand to clean it and quickly find I’m swearing to myself. Here I am actually using my own hand to clean my own shit! After this sickening chore was over along came another huge problem, I myself need cleaning now.
I still have my shorts and underwear wrapped around my knees and I remember Deidra saying that their friend Alex gave them a tip to just remove your pants before you go. I took off my shorts and stood there for a while knowing that I was left with only one last thing to do. I had no socks to sacrifice to the cause, so I proceeded to use a combination of the small bowl of water and my hand to clean myself. What a mess! I probably used five gallons of water and I even found shit in my fingernails! Being in the health care profession I become quite paranoid of contamination when thinking about how many germs just may be around me and on that small bowl that everyone has to use. On top of this all I felt like I was about to pass out from heat inside this tiny little stall. I quickly decide I was clean enough and it was time to get out there. I throw my shorts and underwear back on my still wet bum and walk back down that horrible pathway.
I realized that this whole ordeal took me an hour and a half, and it instantly made me feel quite exhausted. I got back to Dieter and he asked me where the hell I was. I told him to never mind that and I’m going swimming. That seemed like my only option to feel human again.
What a way to have your first squat toilet experience. I’m pretty sure everyone’s first time using them were pretty dismal. Thanks for sharing this with us Mom!
PS: Please don’t let this story steer you away from going to the floating raft houses on the lake in Khao Sok National Park. There is one normal western toilet available in the woman’s washroom. Terry just seemed to miss it during her frantic run to the toilet! Just remember to pack yourself toilet paper and keep it on hand at all times. As for the guys, don’t worry.. if you need to do your business the woman don’t mind letting you use the western toilet. We understand!!