Don’t Go Chasing Water Closets

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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