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26 August 2011 / leggypeggy

I’ll tell you where you can put your toilet paper

Our toilet—in a empty moment. It’s a cross between a Western and a squat toilet. Note the footpads either side, which let you elevate yourself so you can squat. On slightly rocking seas, I recommend the hover method. Girls—you know what I mean!

We had the mother of all toilet paper lectures tonight.

About 100 of us are travelling on a cargo ship from Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan, and THE toilet (yep, there’s only one for the guys and the gals) is blocked up to the rim. There are a few more toilets, but the doors are locked. I promise not to show you a pic of it at its worst—you might be permanently disturbed—but it certainly isn’t the worst toilet I’ve ever seen on my travels.

A few hours ago a woman, who has some responsibility on the boat, stormed through with an English-speaking fellow to remind us all in aggravated shouts and much waving of hands that we ‘are not to put paper or anything in the toilet’. Good grief, we’ve been in the region for many weeks now and we know. I told her so. She was still plenty annoyed and stalked off to confront other passengers.

Many of the other ‘foreigners’ are competing in an annual London to Mongolia charity car rally. Methinks they may not know/believe the toilet-paper routine.

Just recently we heard the toilet has been unblocked—and here’s a picture to prove it. I can’t help but wonder how long that will last. I can also only assume that Her Crabbiness is the one who had to do the surgery. That job would have made me cranky too.

Overall, the crossing has been less hassle than we expected. Windy weather kept us from going yesterday, but last night we heard a ship had arrived and would, most likely, be taking cargo and passengers today. Lu was at the port early this morning and organised tickets and cabins (if you could call them that). We got word (by the grapevine) to get ourselves to the port/truck ASAP after midday.

Poor John and I were the second last to arrive—at 12:30—and then we all played a waiting game that was shorter than expected. By 15:30 (I’ll be using the 24-hour clock, so subtract 12 hours if you need to), we all were through passport control and on the ship. Cargo was being loaded—slowly—and I predicted departure would be about 23:00. I was suitably wrong, in a good way. All cargo, including 17 sealed railway cars and nine of the London to Mongolia rally cars, was loaded by about 19:00.  A bit before 18:00, I revised my prediction to 19:30 and that’s almost exactly the time we chugged out of Baku.

Toilet update: Having had two beers on the boat, I was up at 05:00 for a quick pee. The toilet is blocked again—fast approaching the rim—and three pieces of toilet paper are proudly floating in it. Some people never learn.


Leave a Comment
  1. Louise M Oliver / Aug 26 2011 10:14 pm

    Yuck, yuck and more yuck! That is the most challenging part of being adventurous. That’s probably why I’m never going to be adventurous. I need a good, functioning toilet and I’m not brave. Well done Peggy.


  2. Sy S. NYC / Aug 30 2011 8:39 am

    Hello Leggy Peggy,

    I read all your posts for August up until today 29th NY. First, I am happy to read that you and poor John are alive… and you have posted many interesting commentary on your travels. I chose this comment because many of the other had comments about the terrible conditions of stuffed toilets …and doing your business outside with a jogger waving or a nasty woman watching you in a stall.
    Maybe next time, you might want to buy an Astronaut suit for relieving yourself???!!! Bad joke!

    In Israel I first learned about not putting toilet paper into toilets…. In Japan on the “Bullet Train”
    I squatted down in the toilet area only to learn I was squatting on it backwards (the toilet paper was behind me). Aslo on the ferry boat I saw many urinals so went in and after I started to do “my thing”
    there were women voices behind me… a unisex bathroom. In Kabul, the western toilet was so bad, I had to stand on the porcelain toilet and half squat down, thankfully I did not fall.



  3. vinneve / Feb 2 2016 8:33 am

    That worries me when traveling if I cannot find a decent toilet nearby! 😦 but of course, anything half decent is also ok if there is no options anyway.


  4. koolkosherkitchen / Sep 16 2016 3:05 pm

    I am enjoying your Russian posts (that includes all the former Soviet republics). I see not much has changed in almost 40 years, perestroika notwithstanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Sep 17 2016 3:06 pm

      Thanks so much. I have plenty more to write about from our two visits across Central Asia. Do you come from one of those countries? If yes, which one?

      Liked by 1 person

      • koolkosherkitchen / Sep 18 2016 12:15 pm

        I come from Odessa but due to the nature of my job, I had to travel extensively. Also, part of my family, including my mother, was evacuated to Tashkent during the war, so I’ve heard all kinds of stories. My father’s part of the family was evacuated to Barnaul, so I’ve heard a lot about it, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Sep 18 2016 3:08 pm

        Oh my goodness, you have wonderful knowledge of these areas. I hope you’ll tell some of your stories on your blog. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. koolkosherkitchen / Sep 18 2016 3:10 pm

    Thank you, and sometimes I do integrate stories with recipes.

    Liked by 1 person


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