Once upon a time, I took a trip to Mexico.
And it was epic.
But I’ve neglected telling a very key story, which I will share with you today.
As part of this awesome trip, my friend and I traversed the mountain roads from Oaxaca City to the coast of Oaxaca. It’s a long, windy trip, full of bumps in the road.
As you pass through small towns, “topes” or speedbumps appear to keep you from going faster than any livestock that may choose to pass through. These were beyond anything you experience in the states. If you didn’t cross them at a snail’s pace and at just the right angle, you risked ripping out the bottom of your car. Or at least that is what it sounded like. We amused ourselves throughout the trip by yelling “TOPE!” to our driver* whenever we approached one of these road monstrosities.
The journey was one you don’t often get to take. We climbed in elevation so quickly that we could feel the temperature cool around us. Bushes filled with berries that would one day be coffee beans whipped by our windows, corn fields appeared on steep inclines, as did breathtaking views of the towns below us.
When we had climbed as high as we could, it was fun to identify the change in climate as we watched the greenery around us change. From conifers to palms, we stripped our blankets off and lounged in tank tops as we arrived closer to the coast.
It’s no wonder that this scenic drive was a highlight of the trip, right?
Well, the drive isn’t the highlight. I mean, it definitely was an absolutely amazing part of the trip. But, it was a certain pit stop during our journey that stuck with me.
You see, throughout our entire stay in Mexico, I was introduced to a variety of new things I needed to get used to. Like, not brushing my teeth with the water from the tap. Showering with a very limited amount of hot water. Throwing my used toilet paper in a trash can next to the toilet, rather than in the toilet itself. Being prepared when using a public restroom by bringing my own toilet paper.
I’m not terribly prissy, so these things were simply an adjustment, not an impediment to enjoying my travel.
As we traveled through small towns in our climb and descent to the Oaxacan coast, there came a moment in the very long drive that a restroom was needed. There was a “restaurant” up ahead, so we stopped there in hopes that a bathroom would be available for use.
I use quotes there as this was basically a building, where, as far as I could tell, food might be prepared at mealtimes for the locals, but it wasn’t particularly welcoming. Still, we had no plans on eating, just using whatever facilities they had.
After paying a few pesos (I can’t recall how many) for a few squares of toilet paper, I was taken out of the bulidling through the back, where I more or less climbed up a dirt slope to a small shack. Inside this shack was a toilet bowl.
Just the bowl. No lid. No seat.
I sighed as I entered the door-less shack. That’s right. No door.
Here I stood, or more accurately danced, in front of the toilet, cursing myself for not adding more (read: any) squats to my exercise routine before taking on this trip.
I pulled down the necessary clothing and slowly lowered myself, hovering over the dirty bowl, trying not to breathe in too deeply.
As my thighs twitched and burned, waiting for the rest of my body to get on board with the idea of relieving itself here, I found myself wishing that my legs were not tethered together by my underwear. My balance would surely be better if I could spread my legs further apart. Alas, the idea of dropping my drawers into the dirt beneath me promptly erased the idea from my mind, and I continued to wait.
My bladder finally gave in, realizing that I was not going to budge until I had accomplished what I came here to do.
I stood there, legs shaking a bit, praying that I wouldn’t fall into the bowl, when I heard something. Staring through the open “doorway” in front of me, a rooster walked into view. He turned, cocked his little head to the side, and watched me.
I had to now keep balance, block out any thought of what grossness lay beneath me, and entertain an audience.
I managed to finish my business (and by business, I do not mean “duty”…I could barely get through peeing here, folks…dropping a deuce was not an option) and walked out of the crap shack, saying a polite “excuse me” as I sidestepped past the rooster**.
I got back to the car and shared my communing with nature experience with my friend, a friend of much stronger thighs and whose wisdom in wearing a skirt often in our trip I was beginning to understand. We laughed, knowing this wouldn’t be the only story we would treasure from our trip, but it would definitely be a unique one.
Why would I share this with you?
If you never push past what you are comfortable with, you may miss out on some of the more awesome experiences in life.
Did we make it to the coast? We most certainly did.
Was it worth it?
It most certainly was.
*This is our driver. Also known as my best friend’s dad. Thank goodness he is a man familiar with windy mountain roads. I might have died from fear before we made it to the coast if it was not for his expertise.
**I am sorry to say there is no picture of the rooster giving me the stink eye. Holding an iPhone or camera whilst precariously balancing over a bowl of unknown germs, amoebas, and what not is hard enough without picture taking. It is my one regret from the trip.