I’m going to start by saying that anyone of a nervous disposition, anyone currently eating, or my father should absolutely close this blog now and go back to safety zone because what is about to follow is a story about my bodily functions on a bus.
I contemplated if this was just too far to share on my blog but decided that stuff like this is part of what travelling is about… and it was also hilarious.
Normally the buses here stop every two hours for a pee break but for some reason this one didn’t and at the three hour mark I couldn’t take it anymore. Firstly let me sing the praises of the shewee; without it I absolutely could not have dealt with the multitude of squat toilets I’ve encountered out here. Despite the fact that I now have about a 95% leak free success rate with the device I wasn’t sure that those odds were high enough to complete the task whilst kneeling (which I struggle to do anyway) on a sleeping bus bunk bed (coffin) next to Steph. Whilst she made a little screen with her knees and the blanket I attempted to balance myself, hold my shewee and the empty bottle and relax enough on a moving bus full of 40 strangers to let it flow. And flow it did… somewhat down my leg. How I can feel dehydrated and still produce nearly a litre of urine I will never know but thank god for that little pink funnel.
It was day one period yesterday, on the night bus for 14 hours – roughly four hours over what my mooncup can hold whilst lying down if I know I can do an immediate sort out when I wake up. Any sensible person probably would have doubled up protection but we were too busy trying to stuff sushi in to our faces that our bus arrived before I had a chance. As previously stated the buses normally stop regularly so I wasn’t unduly worried. However, my first, and as it turned out last, chance to have a wee off the bus turned out to be behind the bus next to a row full of men doing the same thing.
Now I’m going to sing the praises of the mooncup; not only does it hold way more than a tampon, it’s better for the environment, better for my wallet and you don’t have to cart supplies round with you. There’s also no risk of toxic shock syndrome, it’s not nearly as gross as you might think (although this story will be the exception to the rule) and way more comfortable than a tampon. There is absolutely no way that after eight years of using nothing else I would ever consider going back and I would like to point out that in all that time I have never leaked once. I would pretty much consider it an essential for all female travellers but my error here was forgetting that the mooncup is not a black hole and as great as it is it does have its limits. Now that’s over, let me get to the fun bit.
We get off at 8am at the Cambodian border and I instantly know I have a problem now I’ve stood up. The bus doesn’t really wait around, I’m in an immigration queue and I’m acutely aware of the trickle. Just as I hand Steph my passport to attempt to stuff some toilet roll down my pants to mop up the leak, in public, I spot some toilets on the other side of the kiosks and leg it over, possibly illegally. After pulling out an entirely brimming mooncup I am literally wrist deep, both hands in my own blood. With jam hands I grab the spritz cleaner you use here instead of toilet roll only to discover that it doesn’t work. So now I have blood up my arms, all over the spritz, the toilet seat, dribbling down my legs, my pants are sodden and it’s probably splattered up the wall and floor. At this point I remember I have toilet paper in my pocket, buried under my headphones and phone. So I then have to delve in to find three pathetic squares of toilet roll to attempt to clean the massacre up with… All whilst worrying the bus is going to leave without me. I make the best of a bad situation and discover there’s no flush or flushing bowl either so just have to leave the place looking like Patrick Bateman has had a party in there.
Steph goes in there later and says absolutely no one is using the cubicle and we then have to get back on the sweltering bus for a further three hours. I sat there feeling violated by my own body.
It’s fair to say that I thought last months period adventure of Steph having to balance me on the rocking Mekong boat whilst de-mooncupping was going to be the period highlight story of the trip but this one blows it out of the water.