Road trips are one of our prime time holiday activities. To see the black ribbon of road rushing at you and disappear underneath you is a feeling worth experiencing.
Also, once you learn to enjoy the journey as much or even more than the destination no journey is boring. And you won’t be looking for shortcuts.
Nothing can match the meals and tea/coffee breaks on the way. You either eat at a wayside restaurant, or simply eat under a tree sitting on a rock. I’ve always been thinking of buying that portable LP gas cylinder with the mini stove on top of it, which මාරයා (Maraya) had explained in his blog post but never got around to it. I don’t know how safe it is to carry it in a vehicle exposed to direct sunlight, heat and a few bangs.
As much as the pleasures, there are nightmares in road trips, too. One is breakdowns. This is rare thanks to the reliable Japanese engines, especially the diesels. If you treat them right, they are grateful and faithful. I involuntarily plant a kiss on my vehicle, every time it gets us safely home through the dark night, hauling several hundred kilometers, when so many things could have gone wrong. The secret is checking all liquid levels and changing filters, belts and tires on time. In addition, to be on the safe side I carry two spare wheels, so I won’t feel that vulnerable when I’m on the spare wheel, in the middle of nowhere, in dark rainy night with several hundred kilometers to go.
All those things are more or less under your control.
There are some more nightmares, that are totally out of your control and you are at mercy of. Forgetting about the traffic cops, the other nightmare is the toilet facilities for travelers. Actually, that’s what this blog post is all about. You can’t carry a mobile toilet unless you have a RV or mobile home like in those other countries.
I saw on the internet there is a website also which has listed the toilet facilities when traveling. It’ll take some more time for us to make use of that here in Sri Lanka.
The first option, which most of us resort to, is using the toilet of a wayside restaurant.
In most of the restaurants, the toilets are not very clean and our womenfolk walk into them with ‘default’ disgusted expression. And, seven times out of ten, they walk out whispering they’ve been right. You need rolls of paper to sit on those toilet seats, or it’s so smelly you can’t breathe inside , or the previous dude hadn’t flushed it properly and you nearly puked.
Even to that that toilet, you can’t simply walk in as if you owned the place, because they are for their customers only. Therefore, to become a customer you sit around a table and have a cup of tea you really didn’t want. Then you get the moral right to use the toilet. Sometimes you get a 5 liter bottle of water and become a customer. There are times when you have drunk their tea or bought the bottle of water you hear that their toilet is out of order.
We men can just pull up on a roadside and walk into the bush and water a tree, like I always do. Ladies find this a lot difficult for obvious reasons and finding a location for that isn’t always easy either. For the number 2 job, well it’s a real problem for either sex. This is not uncommon while travelling because it is very easy to get the runs due to the strange meals and their weird combinations you take at strange hours making your biological clock go haywire. This can turn a road trip into a nightmare.
Well when the worst come to the worst, we male folks will have to pull up, creep into the bush with as many tissues as possible or the jerry can of water you take and relieve yourself. This is unhygienic and disgusting no doubt. However, when you run out of options it’s better than shitting your pants.
We spend billions building expressways and surfacing roads. Why hasn’t anyone thought about building toilets and shower complexes for road travelers and maintaining them in hygienic conditions? Someone will get some employment, too. However, definitely not the way most of those pay toilets are maintained at the moment, where the prime target is grabbing the fee and not checking the cleanliness.
When will that day dawn, when a call of a nature is not a nightmare to steal the pleasure of a well-earned road trip?