Myanmar Shithole

Montezuma’s Revenge had always been just “words” to me. That changed yesterday morning, when my backside was transformed into a water cannon. What exactly caused this revenge I’m not sure, but my best guess is an unwashed knife used to split a coconut from a roadside vendor.

Hygiene in rural Myanmar is rather primitive. In fact, people shit in holes, so one might fairly describe the place as a “shit-hole.” I personally do not, but it could be done, and it wouldn’t be wrong. The use of this term is however, not my problem.

My problem is that I have a five hour bus ride ahead of me, and I’m rather unsure about the availability of suitable shit-holes for my pampered western backside along the way. Rest-stops came just in time, and both with Western plumbing.


Check in at Hotel Sunny in Mandalay, nothing fancy, that’s for sure, one might even describe it as a… well… you know. But it is close to a photo spot I want, and so Hotel Sunny it is. With clenched buttocks, I make the walk, get the right spot, wait for the sky to change color, and get the shot. Walk with much more urgency back to the hotel and it’s plumbing features.

Haven’t eaten all day, and though I don’t want to add fuel to the fire, I gotta eat. The Internet says steamed rice and plain chicken is okay. I order chicken satay with peanut sauce and Singapore fried rice. Close enough.

Back to my room and bathroom duty is coming at increasing intervals. Its getting ridiculous. Its also getting late and I need to sleep. But I wonder: how 15 minute ass-cannon salutes and sleep are going to work at the same time?

I guess that we humans have evolved smart sphincters, but put on some extra underwear just in case. At 2AM I awake to discover that my sphincter isn’t that smart. I’ve shit the bed. Well, not shit exactly, more like watered it.

A couple more trips to the throne, some cleanup, a towel over the spot, new underwear in place, and back to sleep. 4AM and… same problem, same cleanup, and I also let out a large tangy burp. I feel another one rising, no wait, there’s something more. I vomit up my chicken satay with peanut sauce and Singapore fried rice into the sink.

I can tell you it wasn’t nearly so tasty the second time. Even worse, the sink doesn’t drain. Its almost full to the brim with a smelly stew. It’s frigging disgusting, but what can I do? Bail the sink out, unclog the drain, visit the toilet a few more times, take a shower, add another towel to the bedding and back to sleep.

Do the same routine one more time, minus the vomit, before deciding to just stay awake. I have to. I’m out of underwear. Start packing for my ride to the airport. Open the windows to let the room air out, but what to do with the sheets?

I suppose I could strip the bed down and try to launder them in the bathroom sink, but then what? Leave a heap of wet linen on the floor? I just cover the stains with a towel and say good enough. Hopefully I’ll be long gone by the time housekeeping lifts the towel.

Housekeeping knocks on the door. My taxi is here, but I’m not ready. I need to make one more ‘pit stop’ before risking the hour drive to the airport. Duty done. I head for the elevator, with help from the bellhop.

I have to say, that Hotel Sunny is one of the friendliest hotels I’ve ever stayed at. Everyone is so nice. The linens were top notch too. Were.

Down in the lobby, taxi guy takes my big bag. Desk clerk asks me to wait while they check the room. Phone call comes from housekeeping and the conversation is a long one. Uh-oh. Housekeeping manager arrived in the lobby with my sheet crumpled up in a ball. Here we go…

She shows the desk man the stain. Looks sort of like coffee stains really. I offer no explanation. I wait for them to ask clarification, while I think, “Please, please don’t make me say I shit the bed.”

The guy looks up and says, “Everything is okay sir.”

Easy for him to say. But I can highly recommend the service at Hotel Sunny in Mandalay. It’s a shit-hole, but a very friendly one, with nice and forgiving people. I like them a lot. You might want to avoid room 207 however…

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