Don’t Go Chasing Water Closets | Iceland

The desolation that is Iceland was on full display. Very Brokeback Mountain.


On day two, I made the horrid mistake of booking us on another day-long (and then some) tour that brought me to the longest bus ride of my life. I only realized there was something wrong an hour into the tour after arriving at the first of several waterfalls. I felt some discomfort which I thought was from the seatbelt being too tight but, as the feeling progressed, appeared increasingly to be more serious.


I began to feel nauseous and imagined it was motion-sickness, even though I’d never fallen into those before. As I was getting closer and closer to meeting the grim reaper anyway, the thought wasn’t unlikely. Much like the passing landscape, I was feeling isolated, desolate and began to panic a little. I asked Teko to ask our tour guide for a plastic bag just in case.

Naturally, it was see-through when I got it.


When I started to feel my stomach rumble, I knew I really was in trouble. We’d been on the road at that point for only several hours into our ten-hour tour, and the bus we were on wasn’t equipped for long distance travel — in other words, there was no toilet on board. I tried to calm myself down by closing my eyes and relaxing as much as I could despite the increasingly cramped confines. I could feel myself sweating. No plastic bag would solve this situation if and when it became worse, the possibilities were simply horrifying.


Thankfully for me (and I’m sure for the other passengers as well) our next stop was 15 minutes away, and as soon as we had reached it, weakened and all, I willed myself to the nearest building to the lavatory. Luckily, it wasn’t meant for the public so there was a bit of isolation, and it’s where I found myself for the entire ninety minutes of our tour break, most of the time hunched over the sink. It was an utter relief from every imaginable perspective.


After relieving myself, I finally confirmed my suspicions. I had food poisoning. It may have been from dinner the night before at Fish Company or from breakfast at Bergsson Mathus. In all my years of traveling, I would have expected this to happen only in developing countries and not somewhere like Iceland, of all places. I suppose I should be happy it happened where it did, otherwise I’d be squatting over a dug-up hole in the ground as opposed to a spotless, plumbing-bedecked water closet. I did make it through to the end of the tour without incident, thanking my lucky stars and learning a lesson or two. Needless to say, I’ll never look at a waterfall the same way again.



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