Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Way It Is

One day when we were in Ecuador we went to a people's market. We gawked at fresh baked buns and Ecuadorian chocolate and "ooed" the puppies and kittens for sale in the animal market. We looked at table after table after table of jewelery and smelled the flowers and tapped the fresh fruit and the market just went on and on and on. Jan and Brian ate roast pig and Shelley had a fresh fruit drink and a warm bun straight from the oven.

Nature took it's course and we bumbled around after awhile seeking out the bathroom.

"Donde está el cuarto de baño?"

Bathrooms in Ecuador are really hit and miss (quite often miss). This was a genuine people's market, not an upscale mall. We finally found the bathroom tucked way in the back and Shelley got her dime out to pay the bathroom lady for toilet paper.

Standing in line, her toilet paper clutched in her hand, people crowded everywhere, the toilet paper lady sitting to her left, Shelley couldn't help but notice that men were about a foot away from her, to her right urinating into a trough (their backs to her). Everybody was polite and respectful but it's an unusual circumstance for a Canadian.

She tried not to ogle and waited her turn.

Brian came in after awhile, stopped for a second and surveyed the situation.

"I can't do this!" he said, turned around and walked out.

Shelley continued standing in line, clutching her ten cents worth of toilet paper waiting her turn. A mother, a little boy and a little girl came out of the stall and the lady in line in front of Shelley went in.

Brian came back into the bathroom and walked to Shelley's side.

"Go ahead Brian" Shelley urged him "I'm here. It's just the way it is."

Brian did his duty. Shelley eventually got into the stall, squatted over the toilet taking great care not to touch anything but her ten cents worth of paper. (It was nice paper. It had pictures of little bunnies on it. It was soft.)

We joined up outside the bathroom, Shelley grinning and commenting: "I'm a good camper aren't I?"

"You sure are!"

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