Interestingly enough, when traveling through a country with so many fascinating, disturbing, exciting and appalling sights, the one thing that always captures the Westerner’s attention is the Indian sense of freedom in toilet stylings.
In a country with a billion people and approximately 3 public toilets, accommodations have to be made. These consist of letting fly anytime and anyplace (God, it’s great to be a guy…) There are people dropping trou behind any tree, wall or sleeping cow to move the last curry onto it’s next plane of existence. Copping a whiz is much simpler. Every 20 feet or so, guys are just facing away from the street and letting go. This was an adjustment but, as I said, there’s not much alternative unless you never leave home. The greatest thing was strolling down the street in the tonier areas and coming across the classier version of this “any port in a storm” style. There are open air public urinals on the street. You’re still whizzing in front of 20,000 people at any given moment (God help anyone born here with a shy bladder) but you have a nice, reassuring expanse of porcelain to concentrate on.
I went out for a walk tonight in search of incomprehensibly labeled medicine for Staci who is suffering her standard Day 3 upper respiratory plague. (There’s nothing better than buying foreign medication with instructions in a different language from a druggist who has no idea what you’re asking for. The side effects can be fascinating. In Greece, I picked up some pills that cleared up my indigestion within hours… The enormous breasts lingered for several days but I managed to while away the time in a nice soapy shower.) I walked about a mile, dodging all manner of traffic and the occasional dyspeptic cow, just to find my baby some relief (I expect e-mails from you all telling her how lucky she is to have me as I’ve been my typical self on this trip and can use the manna…) Along the way, I ended up walking along a few shady, tree-lined streets that, judging by the aroma wafting from the well established wet stains imprinted into the walls and sidewalks, were particular favorites among the cognoscenti. ( I hope they appreciate this recognition…) I found myself thinking… well, hell, you all know what I found myself thinking.
This picture commemorates a spot in Jaipur, Rajasthan that is now, in a way, forever mine.