Have you ever had your kid tell you he had “to go?” And he hopped from foot to foot and you just told him to hang on until he could get to the toilet? Did you tell him not to be so dramatic and to just hold it until a more appropriate time? I bet you commisserated with his predicament and assured him it wouldn’t be long and then frantically tried to find him somewhere “to go”?
Well……another family may have handled it this way…….
Another family may have dived off the bus early and let him “go” behind a tree.
A different family to ours would most certainly have made every effort to get the poor kid to a toilet because they would have recognised the wild and panicked look in his eyes….
Alas (for Jono at least) we are not that family…….and this is the story of how our recent bus trip went down and how I ended up with wet feet!!
We had had a very big day with not much of an outcome. We needed to book our overnight train tickets to Bangkok and ended up having to go to the KLM Train office in Georgetown as we couldn’t get the website to work.
We made the long trek via mythical-creature-bus. We had a bite to eat at a roadside cafe we had been to the week before. Gert is suddenly eating Nasi Goreng for lunch and dinner and this place has his favourite.
We had our usual bottles of water with lunch. Jono has taken a shine to a foul concoction – grape flavoured F&N – it’s so sweet the rest of us can’t touch it!! This was his chosen beverage for lunch in Georgetown. Drink 1 (around 1pm).
Before we left he requested another drink and as it was hot we got him a bottle of cold water which he polished off quick smart. Drink 2 (around 1.30pm).
We then trecked across 2 roads to get a recharge for Gert’s iPad. We are only keeping one iPad charged with 3G credit – this helps us keep costs down and I don’t have to lug mine around in the heat!
After that we saw a sign across the road for business cards and we thought we would get some. Back across the 2 roads we go to the printer, only to discover that he only does photocopies of cards you already have!! Why would you want photocopies of your card? Wierd!!
We then consulted our list and next stop was our train tickets. We had to go back to the bus stop to catch a bus to The Jetty. This is the end of the line in Georgetown and is where you catch the ferry to get on the train. Should be simple enough to buy tickets, yes? No…..!
We get off the bus and don’t know where the office is. I channel my inner Yoda and walk with The Force for a bit and there is the ticket office right in front of us!! Success!! (I usually get us lost!)
We march up to the door only to discover that the office is closed until 3pm. It’s about 2.55pm so instead of waiting patiently at the door we decide to wander off and get some fried bananas from a street vendor. They are awesome and are only 25 Sen each ($0.08 cents Australian!!) We get a bagful and Gert buys a big bag of brightly coloured fruit….which turns out to be PICKLED!!! Oh god they were so awful! He valiantly tries to eat them all but only manages a handful before he has to chuck them out!!!
Of course we all need a drink so we buy bottles of cold water. And there you have Jono’s Drink 3 (around 3.10pm).
We go back to the ticket office to discover about 8 people in front of us in the line. There’s so many people that we can’t fit in the airconditioned office so we wait just outside the glass door for our turn. While we are waiting, munching fruit, fried bananas and water, another couple arrives for tickets. I explain that we are lining up and waiting until there is room. They smile widely at us and walk straight past us into the now packed office and say “we wait in the cool”.
The business of no queueing is probably the most frustrating part of Asia for me. I am becoming increasingly agitated by waiting patiently in line for long periods only to have other people push in front over and over again. If it continues I’m likely to do……absolutely nothing!!! I’m too nice to make a scene – I shall continue to boil on the inside and made tortured eyes at my family…..because down the track it will make a funny story won’t it?? Tell me it will!!
Anyway so now we have two more people in front of us. We know and they know that they won’t let us in front of them when the time comes…and we are not dissappointed!
While we are waiting, a lady in the line tells us that tickets to Bangkok are all sold out for the next week. We smile politely and wonder if we can fly but we decide to stay in the line and find out for ourselves just to be sure. And lucky we do – we have no trouble booking 5 x second class sleeper berths to Bangkok on 9 February!! Total cost RM$514 ($165 Australian) - BARGAIN!!
With our tickets in hand we go back out into the blazing heat that is Penang. We don’t have a plan for the rest of the day. No-one really wants to go home but without prior planning we are really crap sightsee-ers!.
By now it’s raining so we take up positions on the railway steps and consult the iPad for our next move. Gert finds that Fort Cornwallis where Francis Light first landed in Penang is “just down the road a bit”. (For those of you who don’t know us, that means we have no idea but when we look on the map it’s only a centimeter or two – so how far could it be right?)
Off we set on foot to investigate. It’s raining really slightly and I’m not feeling amazing so it’s a bit of a slow hike. We’ve taken to walking quite a bit apart – the kids upfront (any combination of 2) the left over kid either with Gert next and me bringing up the rear. I like to be able to see that everyone is still alive and I can walk for ages but I whinge if I have to go fast!! I’m also quite happy to trundle along on my own. Every so often they stop and wait for me. So far it’s working well but we’ll have to bunch up a bit once we get to Thailand.
To cut a very long walk-story short we make it to the Fort and we can’t find the entrance. We can see people up on the wall so we walk all the way around until we can see the entrance. There’s a juice vendor outside and I make a mental note to get a juice when we leave – maybe a bit of sugar will perk me up a bit!
We do the rounds of the Fort and we brave the squat toilets inside. I don’t really squat (!) so it’s here I discover a new problem with these toilets. In Asia I am considerably taller than many of the population. Up the steps of the squat toilet I go only to discover…..I can see over the top of the cubicle!! And not just a tiny bit – my whole head pokes over the wall of the cubicle!! How embarrassing – if someone comes in I’ll be able to host a meet-and-greet!!!
I’ll leave it to your imagination how I get around this but really, how many more discoveries related to the toilet can there be on one continent?
I should mention that Jono goes to the toilet around this time too. This should really have negated the need to tell anything more about this story. I wish that were true….I imagine he does too!!
It starts raining again so we head back to the train station. On the way we come across a juice man! I’m so happy! It’s hot and I’m dying for a drink! This vendor has his juice in a bag with a straw (something we saw in The Hangover 2 and have wanted ever since!) Jono, Gert and I order cherry juice and Brittney and Kate get pineapple juice.
There’s floaties in the juice…….that should have been the first sign.
The memories of the pickled fruits which are suspiciously similar in colour to the juice should have been the second.
IT WAS BLOODY AWFUL!!!!
Toxic waste from the river would have been better!!! We try to drink it but there’s absolutely no way. I swear the floaties were either noodles (!) or worms!!!! Yikes – it was bad!! Here’s the pic of us with our booty – notice the kids have not yet had a sip, but you can tell I certainly have!!
We can’t chuck it because the vendor can see us and we don’t want him to think we are weak westerners!! We’ve survived durian, blazing hot curry and rice for breakfast, cuttlefish curry, green pancakes, sardine Nasi Lemak (which turned out to be an actual fish head rather than a sardine!!) – we could not let him think we didn’t like it!!
As we mosie down the street Jono requests to try the gross pineapple drink. He announces he likes it and finishes off most of the bag. Drink 4 people! (4.30pm).
We’ve had enough and it’s raining again so we head for the bus. We need something to wash the foul taste of the “juice” out of our mouths so we all buy ourselves another drink. Jono begs me for a 1.5lt bottle of water as he’s apparently dying of thirst!! I agree since it’s less than the price of two 300ml bottles - bargain I think!
We line up to get the bus home. We have to wait for about 20 minutes for the every-five-minute bus to leave the depot and during this time Jono drinks 2/3 of his bottle of water. I remember the amount because we are having a mathematical discussion about how much that means he has drunk and how much he has left. I’m thinking this counts as Jono’s Drink 5, 6, 7 & 8 (It’s nearly 5pm). Anyone who read my facebook post on the day knows where this is heading.
We all get a seat which is awesome. It’s going to be peak time on the way home and will be a longer ride than usual.
So now you have to imagine the scene. Jono sits at the front of the bus and promptly goes to sleep with his head on his backpack.
We sit in the back section of the bus but at the very front of the section and Britt and Kate sit directly behind us. It’s a long trip. The bus is packed solid, it’s raining outside and we can only see the top of Jono’s hat down the front. Gert and I actually nod off for a bit.
Only to be woken about 8 stops from home by Jono squeezing himself between our legs and the barrier on the bus. It takes me a minute to register that he looks uncomfortable. He’s jiggling up and down and saying that he “needs to GO!!”.
Of course we all laugh and tell him to suck it up!! We’re on the bus in case he hasn’t noticed!! He begs us to get off so he can go and I patiently explain that we already paid our fare to the end and if we all get off we’ll have to pay for new tickets. He takes it well considering how badly he turned out to be busting.
I tell him to stop jiggling as he’s only making it worse and he’s making me laugh! He says in his pleading voice “I really have to GO!!”. I tell him to think of something else and attempt to distract him. The first thing I think of to say is “look out the window – is it raining again?”
He looks at me in horror and I realise I maybe shouldn’t have mentioned water. Which sets the girls off behind me giggling!! There’s not many steps left so we keep trying to distract him. He doesn’t stop jiggling and he points out again that he “REALLY NEEDS TO GO!!”
By now the girls and Gert are teasing him. They are asking him if he wants to have a swim when we get to the end? Hey Jono, would you like a cold drink? Bet you wish you didn’t have all that WAAATTTEEERRRR, huh? He says “DON’T, DON’T!!” and we all start giggling. Then he’s giggling a bit too, but still jiggling and now hopping foot to foot.
He points out that if we don’t stop he’ll wet his pants!! This sets us all off again because AS IF a 10-year old is going to pee on the bus right??
I’m calmly explaining to him (between snickers) that as soon as we get to our stop he can bolt straight to the Maccas and we will wait for him. He thrusts his bag at me and in a panicked voice asks how soon the stop is and he gets ready to bolt. Then I inform him he’ll be carrying his own damn bag and the girls and Gert give him a bit more of the it’s raining, gee it’s wet and cold, etc, etc, etc……..
Poor Jono was doubled over by this stage trying to hold it and he says quietly to me “A BIT JUST CAME OUT!!” Not quietly enough however as this news sends the two girls HYSTERICAL on the bus!! Have you ever been giggling like you’re going to choke but trying to keep it secret so no-one else realises what’s going on?? Well, it just makes it worse!!!
And then the news I could not have anticipated!! We’ve made him laugh and there’s no going back. He calmly informs me that “I’m doing it!!” and I say “NO, NO, hold it!!”
He matter of factly says “Too late – I’m doing it!!” and I become aware that there’s a wet patch spreading on his shorts and that it’s RAINING INSIDE THE BUS VERY CLOSE TO MY FOOT!!!!!
I can’t begin to explain just how much that made us laugh. Is there a description beyond hysterical? The four of us absolutely went to pieces (and I’m giggling hysterically as I’m writing this much to Jono’s disgust!) I was laughing so hard that I was crying!!! Gert and the girls were unable to talk but we were all trying to lose it quietly so no-one will realise what’s going on.
How could anyone not realise – The inside rain has started to spread to the standing section of the bus!! Surely they’ve realised the floor where 15 people are standing is now wet? What do they think caused it? How soon before they become upset with us and the poor kid is outed by strangers? His family will be incapable of standing up for him as they are all now catatonic with laughter!!
There’s only a couple of stops until we can escape from this hell! I pull myself together enough to try to give him a pep-talk! I calmly explain that he is going to get off the bus as though nothing has happened. He whispers that he might cry! I tell him he can cry once we are off the bus and that he just has to pretend that nothing has happened for the 20 seconds it will take to get to the door and get off.
I remind him of the time I went into the men’s toilet in a department store in front of 300 people lining up to see Santa. What horror to discover urinals and realise that eveyone must know I’m in there!! I just breezed out as though nothing was wrong and pretended that I always used the men’s!! Just pretend everything is OK I tell him!!
So we arm him with his backpack in front of his shorts (and don’t tell him that the back is wet too!) As we get ready to get off the bus I realise that my shoes ARE in fact wet as is my skirt. Whatever part was touching him has soaked up a little!!! This sets us all off again and we are screaming laughing as we get off the bus!!!
God knows what the rest of the passengers thought!!!
We sent Jono and the girls home to get changed as it was now almost 7pm and time for dinner. The minute he was out of site we posted the poor kid’s ordeal on facebook because that’s just the kind of parents we are!!
Those that don’t know me – please don’t send me hate mail for being a bad mother!! Earth Mother I am not!! Jono knows I am posting this for all the world to read – he knows I can’t resist a funny story! He has been appropriately compensated with a small packet of twisties and being allowed to stay up until 2am this morning!! I have also made a point of reminding him several times how impressed we are with his resilience. Not a single tear shed and coping very well with our hysterical giggling each time we even hint at what happened. Along with all the teasing every time it rains, the floor is wet or we see a bus!!! Hopefully this will prevent him becoming a serial killer when he is older and blaming his family!!
And if you need further proof of why I shoudn’t receive hate mail you can read here about how I may have had my own accident in a hostel and also may have pooped my pants on an aeroplane some time after this event. I blogged about it to share the love!