Alligators Overhead Trailer

Monday, March 20, 2017

Embarrassed and Near Death, Not in that Order

Let Me Tell You A Story

Over the years I've heard or read stories about other people's lives. I've also had a few experiences that have entered into my "Let me tell you about the time" category. Some of these stories have crept into my books. Others are waiting in the wings. Here's one about the time I was sure I was going to die--either of a particularly evil stomach complaint or embarrassment.


Havana grocery shopping.

In Cuba a couple of years ago seven friends and I hired a bus and a guide for a couple of weeks to take us from Havana around the island. One morning I felt lousy, and when we hit a rough and endless road, I went from lousy to miserable. There's nothing like a Cuban backroad to churn your stomach into a slushy volcano. I took over the back seat and stretched out. At least I wouldn't die sitting up. When we did find a small town, there were no restrooms for weary tourists with engorged bladders and, in my case, a Vesuvius stomach. 


Bougainvillea and Moorish Architecture
A Never-Fail Combination

Juni, our guide who had been a professor at the university and became a guide so she could support her family (bless Castro), turned out to be one resourceful and spirited girl. She had the bus driver stop in town, found a house and negotiated with the owner until her eight tourists could use the bathroom. Yay, Juni!


Inside the house the living room was small and pink with a large TV, a couch and tons of doilies. If I didn't get into that bathroom immediately, I was going hurl all over that pink room and those doilies, so I dashed in, and barely noticing that this room was a baby blue, hurled into the porcelain bowl. Problem solved. But not quite. When I pushed the lever, nothing happened. Being mechanically inclined (cue laughter) I removed the doily and miscellaneous objects from the back of the toilet, lifted the lid and discovered. . . this water closet had no water. 


Havana Open Book Market (double entendre fun)

I stuck my head out the door, avoiding the glares from the engorged seven, and yelled, "Juni, I need a bucket of water!" Being a Cubana, she immediately translated that to mean, el baño no funciona and came to my rescue. 

Moral of this story: hire a university professor as a tour guide.


Did You Know. . .
The average wage for Cubans was $17/month in 2015. It rose to $25/month in 2016. 


Quote of the Week: “The most poetical thing in the world is not being sick.” 
G.K. Chesterton, author

51 comments:

  1. Nothing worse than being in foreign country and feeling sick. Glad Juni was your guide.

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  2. Hi Lee - well done for sharing with us - and can quite easily relate ... though tales will not be told! Yes I bet you were glad for your guide ... a saviour indeed ....

    Well their wages are rising, but the costs ... not an easy life - cheers Hilary

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    1. Their food supply was so low and now I understand with the influx of US visitors, even worse.

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  3. Heehee. Well, at least you didn't hurl all over the floor or the sofa or somebody's lap. We had a university guide inn 1970 when my senior class when to Caracas, Venezuela. Very interesting...

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    1. I'd really never been so embarassed or uncomfortable. I think being a guide takes a lot of talent and creativity.

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  4. Weren't you lucky to have Juni. I've been in that situation traveling and it ain't pretty.

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    1. I'm sure all travelers can tell a tale or two about the time they were sick in a strange land. At least we never forget those experiences.

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  5. Oh, I can sympathize with you. Glad it turned out all right.

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    1. I always appreciate sympathy! Thanks.

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  6. An adorable picture of the doggie. Poor thing.

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  7. Being sick and not having a toilet around would be agony.

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    1. I was thinking at the time that being in a forest or a jungle would be much better than a bustling city.

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    1. I was full of self-sympathy at the time.

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  9. Great story and sorry you had to endure it. In Mongolia, the guide I had was actually an internal medicine doctor--because his english was nearly perfect, he found he made a lot more money as a guide!

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    1. It seems Juni's situation is not unique in this world. According to doctors I've talked to, many have or will leave medicine in U.S. or they'll join HMOs. They can't survive as a solo operation anymore.

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  10. Yikes! Thank goodness for your guide!

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  11. oh, Lawd, people take in tourists to poop and pee in their house??? :)))

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  12. Replies
    1. There are readers just waiting for U.S. books!

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  13. Damn, that would sure stink. Having to go and ready to get to the brink. Only been there once, held it so long my kidneys hurt and then I said screw it and let it fly lol Wow, that is really low wage.

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    1. Agony! However, I discovered mind over matter can help.

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  14. That must have been one of the worst experiences since it is bad enough when we are in our own country. I am not surprised by the prof working as a tour guide. My hubby and I were watching this show about restoring cars in Cuba-it was a reality based show and we learned how much the average person makes and how little highly educated people actually make.

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    1. It's hard for us to imagine living on the wages the Cubans get.

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  15. Juni must have been elevated to hero status in your eyes. With reason.
    Sigh on those wages. And sadly I suspect in some parts of the world they are even lower.

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    1. I'm sure you're right about the low wages in other parts of the world.

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  16. Hi, Cheryl!

    Thank you for sharing the kind of story to which all of us can relate. I remember feeling poorly in the middle of a cub scout sightseeing bus trip around Washigton, D.C. Trust me, you don't want to be in the middle of climbing the stairs of the Washington Monument when your stomach, bladder and/or bowels start acting up. Bad as it was for you that day, you would have been in an even worse predicament if you had developed a volcanic stomach in the midst of running level 5 white rapids or in the middle of a skydive. :) I admire your resourcefulness that day as well as that of your guide.

    Have a great week, dear friend C-Lee!

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    1. You've put the situation into perspective, Shady! I won't think of it as the worst scenario anymore! Thanks.

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  17. What an interesting story and a resourceful guide.

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  18. OMG, do I have a story for you. LOL Can't share it here, still too embarrassed by it. :)
    Don't we all have at least one!

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  19. Your tour guide sounds like a treasure.

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  20. It's never fun to be sick when you're travelling! Thank goodness your guide was smart and resourceful. ☺
    Debbie @ The Doglady's Den

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  21. What a great story. Problem-solving is an important skill!

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  22. Oh, my goodness! Your stories are the best!

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  23. Yikes! Good thing your guide was so resourceful.

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  24. Ick!!! You poor thing! Being sick like that on vacation is tough enough - add in the other elements and you DO have a great story. Too bad you had to live it though!

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  25. Can I just say, I love the book trailer! Oh my goodness your travel story. Love it.

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  26. Such a fun story! Reminds me of some of my experiences in China.

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  27. Ouch! Some other countries facilities just aren't what we are used to are they?

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  28. The story is funny now but not at the time!!! Needing a bathroom is not a laughing matter. LOL

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  29. Oh gosh, that would be awful. It's also awful how little Cubans make.

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  30. Hah, that's a travel tale with a sticky end. Finding a functioning toilet is always high on my travel agenda, LOL! I envy you your Cuba travels, all the same. My trip hasn't come off yet.

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  31. Glad you had help Lee. That's quite a tale.

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  32. So glad you had such a great guide who could not only find a bathroom for you- but help you fix the toilet problem. :) Must have been very stressful at the time. :)
    ~Jess

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  33. I'm not sure how to respond, but I feel lucky that my trips didn't need a bucket.... Yet. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  34. Ohhh, I feel for you with that experience. I had a bad moment in a McDonalds in Paris. No toilet paper discovered a little late. No one spoke English in the restroom and my three years of high school French failed me. Finally, someone found a translator and helped me out. I thought I would die of embarassment.
    I'm glad you had a wonderful tour guide!

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  35. I'm glad you managed not to hurl over the pink doilies. But what a nasty experience for you!

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