I know this article may not sound interesting to others but this is still part of my travel experience in Mongolia so I thought I should still post it.
This is related to my previous post.. largest toilets in the world . Some of you might be wondering how I did on our way back to Ulaanbaatar. Well, having experienced such a huge embarrassment and difficulties, I should say I’ve learned my lessons. I had a proper breakfast before we left Three Camel Lodge knowing that it was going to be a very long drive again. I made a several trips to the toilet before leaving as I didn’t want to be embarrassed [that much] again. In almost 14hrs of travel I only had an apple, an orange, a handful of several kinds of nuts and about 500ml of water. I intentionally lessen my water intake and it was very difficult for me as I normally drink lots of water. Our first stop was in a small [ghost] town. It only had a few box-like buildings, there were also a few kids selling crystals and other souvenirs to tourists. There was a small cafe where our driver had his breakfast but X and I didn’t bother to try the food. I was a little glad to find a place like just a few hours after leaving the camp so I went inside to buy 2 cans of coke, actually my main purpose was to use the toilet. So I told the driver that I wanted to go to the toilet and if he could possibly ask where the toilet is. To my disappointment again, he said that it was just outside the building. I was like, “outside? in this area?” With all the disappointment on my face, I went out and looked around. I saw a fenced area on my left and the gate was open so I told X to go with me. It occurred to me then that at least the public wont see but I still couldn’t believe it so I decided that I will just use the one I had before, another very large toilet all to myself. Just when we were about to go back to the car, I spotted this thing.
Out of curiosity, I came closer and tried to figure out what it was. I told myself this couldn’t be the toilet but as I was getting closer, the evidence was getting stronger. And yes, it was a toilet. For all of you who have seen the movie Slumdog Millionaire, you’ve got an idea now what it was like inside. I’ve perfectly learned my lessons now.. Dont drink too much water while on the [extremely remote] road.
Traveling overland for long hours in extremely remote areas can be a real pain especially for women. I normally drink a lot of water while on the road for hours. Maybe it’s my fear of being dehydrated, I don’t know maybe it’s just my subconscious mind telling me to drink a lot water most of the time. And obviously the result is the frequent trips to toilet.
My memorable overland travel experience was when we traveled to Gobi desert from Ulaanbaatar on a 4WD vehicle. Flying was the original plan but there were no flights available as Mongolia was flooded by tourists and travelers from all over the globe due to the Naadam festival. I thought it would be fun and exciting, and I would really enjoy my first experience traveling to the desert.
We left UB at around 8am with the hopes of getting to the camp before the sun sets. I was really excited as it was my first desert experience, yet worried because I didn’t have a slightest idea what it was like traveling to Gobi. After 4hours on the a bumpy and sometimes muddy road (that is if you can call it road), I have already downed about a liter of water and I started feeling like having my first trip to the toilet. It was when the reality started to sink in, we were in the middle of a beautiful Mongolian countryside and our driver informed us that it would take another few more hours to get to the nearest town. I was like, “I cannot hold it any longer.” It was after 30 minutes more when we made our first stop, we all got off the car to do a little stretching. The driver walked away, about a hundred feet and did his thing. There were only 3 of us there; me, X and the driver. I was starting to panic already, I thought I could hide behind the tree and I could instantly feel better in less than a minute. But there was not a single tree, only grass and some pea-like plants that were just approximately 1 foot above the ground. So I told X that I really had to pee and he said I better do it right there and then as I was left with no other favorable options. So I hid behind those one-foot tall plants and tried to forget all the embarrassments, but hey it was Mongolian countryside and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the first one who did it.
I really couldn’t resist drinking lots of water especially after having a handful of different kinds of nuts. When I started feeling uncomfortable again, I decided that I would hold it and wait since the town could be a few more kilometers away. I felt relieved when I spotted a few shoe box looking buildings and small houses, thought we could pull over and go to a proper toilet somewhere there. We stopped by a small house cum café and the driver had his lunch there. I was very disappointed to learn that there was no toilet in that house, I couldn’t seem to understand why. X and I tried to survey the surroundings but we didn’t find one. So, when we got back inside the car, I told the driver that I really had to go and pee, he said something like “ok, later”. We drove around the corner and I was feeling so hopeful but after a few more turns I noticed that we were already leaving the town. After a few more minutes, I could see hundreds of horses and goats on both sides of the road again. We pulled over and the driver said to me while pointing out a rock “ok, that’s the natural toilet.” I was like “oh no, not again.” But I don’t have any other options so I went ahead and murmured “at least it’s quite a big rock this time.”
After going to the natural toilet twice, I started getting used to it, so the third time felt a little easy and we were even joking about it already. X was like “okay choose your spot.”
The fourth one was kind of funny, it was when we were at the tent of a Mongolian family (for those who have not read my older post yet, we got lost in Gobi and had to spend the night with total strangers in the middle of nowhere) . I was sort of expecting a proper toilet that time but there was still none so I had to go to the natural one again. It was already around midnight and it was really dark outside. I was scared that there might be huge scorpions and other desert creatures around. And there were also about 6 camels just a few meters away from me. I thought what if they suddenly decided to walk around while I was sitting there. I really couldn’t imagine what I would be like sitting there peeing in the dark with all these filthy bactrian camels walking around and circling me. The photo below was taken the following morning, I was standing in the area where I had my fourth toilet but the camels were already gone.
I had another toilet moment again in Gobi desert early in the morning before leaving our host’s ger. In the photo below, I was standing near toilet number 5. I was really starving that morning as I didn’t eat properly the previous day due to the fear of releasing some toxins and cleansing my colons while on the road. In conclusion I’ve been to five toilets (just to pee) in Mongolian countryside and Gobi desert. Those were the largest toilets in the world 🙂