Nina van Tuikwerd
I was on holiday with three good friends, three athletic friends. It was not just your normal holiday but we went to Indonesia to backpack. My vacation usually consists mainly of meeting new people and discovering new cultures. But it was very important to my friends that we would do something active as well. We planned on climbing the highest volcano in Indonesia, 3726 meters. Although walking and tracking is pretty fun, not for three days under harsh conditions.
The rst night the four of us slept in a two person tent on three mattresses. Because I had already been coughing for a week, I was ordered to lie on the outside, with the prospect of a very cold night. Sleeping absolutely failed, this absurd situation must be remembered so with my phone we had a photo session. Everyone wore all the clothes they brought, which was not much, since we only had summer clothes with us. The sleeping bags smelt stale, probably because at least a hund- red other people had used them before us. It took a lot of e ort we couldn’t get our four bodies on the same photo. All that was visible were parts of our legs or arms in a tangle of blankets.
With my cheek and half of my body pressed to the inner tent I tried to sleep. From the body heat of four people the inside of the tent was moist and small droplets of water formed on the inside of the tent. I tried to squeeze a piece of the sleeping bag between myself and the tent so I wouldn’t feel the damp canvas pressing against my body. Because my sleeping bag was now between me and the tent I had no blanket to cover myself anymore. Gently I pulled a piece of the blanket from my friend and used that as a blanket. Gradually we found a rhythm in which we could sleep. If someone turned to their other side, then we all obediently turned along. So there we lay like sardines in a can pressed against each other.
After a few hours our tour guide woke us up to start our journey to the top of the volcano. Our guide did not go with us because he had hurt his knee. Was this because he knew this was the hardest part, or did he really hurt his knee I was thinking . We had to get up so early because of the sunrise. If we would leave now we would reach the top and see the sunrise. We sat there, bent in a cramped tent with the four of us to try to get dress. Whooping with laughter we crawled out of the tent and continued to dress outside because the tent was way too small and we totally failed to get dressed in there.
I generally have a good bowel movement . I always go to the toilet each morning and evening. Now half past three at night I noticed that I had to poop. But with the thought that at 7 o’clock we would be back on the rim of the volcano, I decided not to take a poop. We had breakfast consisting of only 2 crackers with sugar and a cup of tea. Several people had told us that this was the toughest climb of their lives. I was traveling with three girls who had done all kinds of sports throughout their lives. I, on the other hand, had never done any kind of sport. The climb was described as; “You take a step up and you slide three down.”
In my summer pants, jacket, sarong but without light and further preparation I started the climb to the top. With good spirit and optimism we walked as a small caravan of people on to the volcano summit. People who passed us were fully dressed in ski suits and had sports equipment head- lamps and canes with them. Exaggerated I thought and kept on walking.“Ooo, this was what they meant,” I thought when I was walking on sandy soil and dropped down a little, “Well this I will sur- vive.” It was getting warmer and I considered taking of the sarong I was wearing as scarf. In total darkness we walked on, slowly leaving other people behind us. The higher we got the steeper and colder it got. It got tougher for me and my friends started to walk further in front of me. The quiet walk turned into clambering which evolved into climbing. I looked up at the stars, well I was hoping that they were stars and not people with lights who were already at the top. To my great sorrow it was still people climbing to the top and it was certainly still some 1,000 meters higher than the point where I was. It was dead quiet and all you saw were the lights in the valley down below and the lights of the people climbing higher than you.
Slowly I was lagging behind the group, I quickly asked the person in front of me if I could borrow a torch. The path was no longer a path, but an impassable piece of 88 degree slope. In the distance I saw the lights of the group continuing to get further away from me. The temperature dropped and my intestines got cold. And what happens if your intestines are suddenly so cold, they start mes- sing around. Each step up was indeed three steps down. And just at this most awkward moment, I had to take a shit. Okay, I thought to myself, slowly catching my breath. As I stood still, I dropped a few meters down. With the moving down I also felt my gut sink in my body. Don’t panic and sit down, I thought. With clenched buttocks I sat down on the steep slope. Again sliding down the vol- cano. Now my bottom got cold and I had to go to the bathroom even more. Slowly, with my hands on my stomach, I stood up, it made me sick. In my head I walked through the possible scenarios:
1. I’m going to take a shit over this egde and use my sarong to wipe my ass. It was very dark and I could not see anything, also there were still people passing me. No this was not an option.
2. If I had to go this bad, I’d shit my pants if necessary. After just quickly taking my pants o and using that to wipe and tie my sarong as a skirt. No this was not an option as well because I had two pairs of thin trousers on. I would then have to take o two pairs of trousers. It will take way too long and people could see me.
3. I would run as fast as possible back down the volcano and just go back to campsite. Down is still faster than upward.That would be a shame I thought, I can better climb on and watch the sunrise.
With this in mind, I tried to take another step up. I was now alone and left behind by the group. One step up, tears in my eyes, three steps down. Fast two steps up, three down again. A step up, but already while stepping up sliding downwards with the other leg. Sick and out of breath from the thin air I tied my sarong around my belly to give my gut some rest. I broke out in a sweat, I saw a stone looking like a platform about four meters above me. It would be my rst goal to reach that platform. Arriving at the stone platform I fell down with shaking legs . With all my power I squeezed my buttocks together closed my eyes and tried to send my poop back into my intestines. After a while I slowly stood up and I walked further up in a delusion. When I came close to a rock formation my ashlight died and I had to squeeze it a couple of times to recharge it. No idea which way to go and completely exhausted because all my energy went to trying not to shit my pants I had to leave my water bottle behind. It was too heavy to lift, I only had one sip of water because even that made me nauseous. Finally I came across people and panicked voice I shouted “where is the top ??” “you’re almost there darling one more minute’’ With chattering teeth and still clenched buttocks I reached the top. And there I found my friends who were already there huddled together. I convinced my friends to go down a bit down, because it was less cold there. I did not see the sunrise as I was vomiting behind a small rock formation. We stayed a few minutes after the sun had risen but I could not really enjoy the view. In my head I was only thinking of a toilet.
I never ran down a volcano that quickly. On the descent I came across all the places where I had planned to take a shit. In daylight I’m glad I did not do it. If I had only gone twenty centimeters from the supposed path I would have fallen down the volcano. The stone platform where I was a few hours before suddenly did not look so stable anymore. I couldn’t feel my toes anymore, pain goes away with time I thought, but this turd needs to leave my body as quickly as possible. The last piece to the camp I ran, my body did things I have never had in my mind. At the camp, my friend grabbed the toilet rol rst and ran to a cloth that was held with four sticks and served as the toilet. When she handed me the toilet paper and I squatted down in the booth I never felt so good in my entire life. It was as if my whole intestinal contents and a piece of my soul emptied into that hole. This was the biggest turd I ever made in my life but it had an alarming yellow color. The yellow color was bugging me, but what was bugging me more was that it would take two more days before we would be back at the foot of the volcano.
In Indonesia if you call for a taxi, you can assume you’ll wait for at least 3 hours. That day, I ew to Cambodia together with my friend Pien.
We had already checked out and waited with our backpacks in the lobby of the hostel. “I’m quickly going to the bathroom before the taxi arrives” I said. I rushed to the bathroom.
It was a squat toilet that was only meant for the sta . I squatted and tried to keep my balance. What left my body I could not longer call a turd. It was thin, and splattered all over the place. With a sigh, I dabbed my sweaty forehead and I realized that maybe it was the alcohol from the night before. You can not always trust the alcohol in Indonesia, especially if it has a green color.
Back in the lobby the taxi was still not there. Pien also went to the toilet. “Noooo .. ‘I heard her moa- ning in the bathroom. When she came out our eyes crossed, we didn’t have to say anything. Diar- rhea. Both of us went went to the toilet on an alternating basis. When I wanted to go for the fourth time, Pien cried laughing that there was no more toilet paper. I had two choices, clean my butt with my bare hands and wash in a pot of water or secretly steal a toilet roll from behind the counter. Without a doubt I quickly grabbed a toilet roll from behind the counter and ran to the bathroom. I went to the toilet three more time before the taxi arrived. The ight was relatively short, but I did not want to risk getting a diarrhea attack on the plane. I took the maximum dose of diarrhea inhibitors. I had already emptied my whole body so, I thought, that not much could go wrong.
The ight was ne, I was optimistic and happy leaving the plane. But while walking my gut started to make some noises. Sitting still for a long time my gut had come to a rest, but walking across the airport made my gut start working again.
Pien was looking at magazines. I leaned with one hand on a stack of books. Pien grabbed another magazine. Now I leaned with two hands on two piles of books. “I have to go to the bathroom, did you see one?” I asked. I got a vague answer back, yeah at the beginning somewhere.
No, but I really have to go now, I said. Wait a minute, she answered just let me look at this maga- zine Pien said. I had to squeeze my body together not to shit my pants right at that moment. Pien turned around and saw me, still bent over and leaning on to the books. She burst out in laughter at the sight of my uncomfortable posture. No really do not laugh I said with di culty. If you laugh then I would really shit my pants. I slowly turned around and walked away with crossed legs. Behind me I heard Pien still laughing louder and louder. I stood still and also began to laugh. But decided soon to quit because I felt the diarrhea come out with ever laugh. With small steps I walked on, tears rolling down my cheeks and my hands on my ass. Behind me I still hear Pien laughing. Again I tried to make clear to her that she absolutely should stop laughing. With one hand on my buttocks and the other waving her to stop laughing I walked on.
The signs to the toilet kept sending me in di erent direction. I tried to walk as fast as I could, still with both my hands rmly squeezing my butt together. The queue for the bathroom was huge. I de- cided to focus on one point, until it was my turn, I just looked at that one point. Once it was my turn I sat on the toilet for twenty minutes. Until I heard calling that we should really go now otherwise we could not apply for our visas upon arrival.
© Nina van Tuikwerd
With two friends I was traveling in Vietnam. In the northern part of Vietnam there are still some local villages where you can stay and experience real local life. That seemed very nice, and we decided to do this homestay. We found a really nice family who wanted to take us to their village in the mountains. The two oldest women of the family Va Mama and Mama Chin would guide us.
The next day we had to be ready at 10 am at the meeting point with a small backpack.The next day we stood there at the meeting point, wearing long pants and a tiny backpack containing only an extra pair of underpants and one big bottle of water for the three of us. Chatting with the family we started our journey. Normally it is quite cold because it is high in the mountains but once we star- ted walking, the sun broke through the clouds and it was getting hot. We were already running low on water. Halfway up the mountain we had lunch. We got a noodle soup from a carton, which was quite salty. We wanted to buy some water in the shop but they didn’t have it there. Maybe we could save just enough to make it to the top I thought. On narrow ridges of paddy elds, we continued the journey. We were walking all day. I felt my legs getting tired and the sun shined bright on my head. The salty soup made me even more thirsty. I sweated a lot and felt a little bit dizzy.
When we asked how much further Mama Va pointed to the cottage right at the top of the moun- tain. The sun was almost down and immediately it became colder. When we nally arrived we were totally exhausted and we immediately asked for water. But they said that there was no drinking water this high on the mountain. With amazement and respect that they made this trip every day we plopped down on small chairs on the porch. Mama Va said she was still able to make us tea. We nodded our heads in agreement that we wanted tea. Mama Chin climbed a random tree and picked some strange looking tree leaves. These leaves she threw in a cauldron standing on a wood re. Water does not cook as quickly on a camp re, so at dinner we nally had something to drink. The food was delicious that night they had prepared everything from scratch, and we toasted with home-distilled alcohol. Because they liked us so much we were poured in extra alcohol to cheer with our new Vietnamese mothers. This home-distilled alcohol was so strong that we were scared to drink a second cup. Since I felt sorry for my hosts I decided to drink the whole glass in one gulp.
When they showed us our sleep spot, we climbed a small ladder to a tiny platform. There we found two folded one person blankets. One was to lie on and the other served as a blanket to cover us. We were very tired from the long journey and already a bit tipsy from the alcohol so we did not really care where we slept. We spooned otherwise we wouldn’t t on the tiny blanket that served as a bed. In the early morning I woke up. I was in the middle so the blanket was not on me but hovered a little above me. I felt absolutely horrible but could not move because we were so tightly cramped together. I sat upright as I woke up the others. I asked where the toilet was again. On the hill answered one of them. I crawled over somebody got back down the stairs and went outside. Once on the hill, I indeed saw a small booth and I went up to it.
No it can not be the toilet, I thought, but on the wooden oor lay a lot of shit. It was a very small hut that you had to crawl into. But the wooden oor was covered in shit. I walked back to the house to ask whether it was really the toilet, and not just something for animals. Halfway the the ladder I whispered, if it was really the toilet. Yes they said. But it is very small, I can not t in there I said, no it is really the toilet they said again. Walking back up hill I felt worse and worse. Back at the little shed I tried to think of all the possible ways to t in there. But then fate hit, I had to shit. I ran a few more meters up looking around to see if I could nd a sheltered spot. It took too long to look for something. Still standing on the hill it was too late. As fast as I could, I pulled my pants down. Dia- gonally on the hill I shitted down the hill and puked up the hill. So I stood there a minute puking and pooping at the same time. Confused by what had just happened, I saw a water pump. And despite it was no drinking water I still drunk it. In order to get the bad taste out of my mouth and I tried to wash my pants with some water. Climbing back up the ladder they asked why it took so long. The only thing I told them, was that I could no longer use my pants.
© Nina van Tuikwerd
With difficulty I opened my eyes, my head was pounding. I was searching for the thing that made the sound. Somewhere halfway under my blanket, I found my phone with the alarm going o . I was wearing no pajamas and my clothes were scattered throughout the room. With difficulty I remembered that I had to work.
I jumped out of bed and walked barefoot to the shower. On the way to the shower, I found some clothes, a half eaten sandwich, and one shoe. I laughed as I remembered last night. A gust of nausea was coming and I quickly sat down on the toilet seat. The famous booze poop came flushing out of my body. I took a quick shower, got dressed and cycled to work. On the bridge in front of the restaurant where I work my insides started to rumble and I broke down in a sweat. There was already another bike in the bike rack. Shit that meant that there was already someone present and I could not shit quietly. I walk in and greeted the cook, tried as quickly as possible to do my chores so that I could use the toilet before guests would arrive.
Everything okay? I heard from the kitchen. I said yes and walked outside. I pretended to clean the tables outside, but actually I let rip some nasty farts. The ones with no sound, they smell the worst. Relieved, I walked back inside, hoping that this was what caused the sick feeling. But unfortunately I kept feeling sick. With clenched buttocks I also cleaned the tables inside. The moment I decided to go to the bathroom the first guests had already arrived. The smell of coffee aroma for me is enough to have to go to the bathroom right away. I had really hoped that my turd this morning would have been enough to get me through this day.
Two coffees were ordered, reluctantly I went go to the coffee machine. The smell of ground beans reached my nose. I crossed my legs and tightened my butt. On my lower back sweat droplets slowly slid down my back. The coffee dripped down into the cups and a small fart escaped from my butt. I know it takes a while before the coffee is finished so decided to walk around bar in the hope that the fart smell would fade away. Back at the coffee machine you could still smell the fart. Quickly I put the cups on the tray and took them to the customers.
Every time I stopped for a moment to cross my legs and squeeze my butt together, and try to look as nonchalant as possible. Like I always stand there with crossed legs. The problem with the bathroom at work is, it’s very close and you immediately know that someone goes to use the it. I really didn’t want to use the bathroom, but around 12 o’clock I could not pull o the crossed legs look anymore. In a panic I ran down the basement a couple of times to let out a big fart, but it was not enough. As discreetly as possible I walked to the bathroom. Pulled my pants down, sticking with sweat because I flexed my butt the whole morning. Even my underwear was sticky. With a sigh I sat down on the toilet. A sea of booze shit was owing out of me. While still sitting on the toilet I flushed in order to reduce the smell. The water splashed against my butt but I didn’t care. I wiped, stood up quickly, and flushed again. As I washed my hands somebody else entered the toilet and the smell was unbearable. I pretended that the smell was from the person before me. The relief was bigger than my shame.
© Nina van Tuikwerd
The blanket lay as a cocoon around me. I rubbed my feet together, and put my hands between my legs to keep warm. I pulled my knees to my stomach and tried to sleep. Slowly moving up and down and rubbing my hands I lay in bed. Frustrated that I couldn’t sleep, I stretched out my body and felt the cold pieces of my bed. When you then pull back to the same position you feel the warm spots of your bed. I knew why I could not sleep. I had to go to the bathroom. I was lazy, and didn’t want to walk to the toilet building. I decided to quickly pee at the campsite of our German neigh- bors. The German neighbors are there only like once a year, and I had seen them a few months ago. So I knew I could pee there unseen. I slipped out of bed and put on my slippers. My hand enclosed the cold iron door handle. There were no clouds so the bright stars gave little glare through the trees. Stumbling over some ropes I arrived at the site of the neighbors.
I quickly pulled my pants down and let everything go. Suddenly there was a little light, a door opened, and a voice spoke. Panicked how I could get away without being seen, I thought of all the rabbits hopping around the campsites. Since my pants were still halfway down my legs, I jumped away like a rabbit.
© Nina van Tuikwerd