This week I have started redrafting my book about my time trekking in Peru. It is between titles at the moment. I was shocked to discover the level of exposure I had given to how poorly I became on my trek. I’m concerned it might be a bit much for a travel journal but wanted to share it and get some feedback now. Here is an excerpt from the Peru Journal…
I awoke sweating in the darkness. Something was terribly wrong. I started to take off layers of clothing. Each direction I moved in made my stomach churn. I had been in such a deep sleep it took a while for me to recognise the symptoms of what I was going through. I unzipped my sleeping bag and lay in my boxer shorts in the mountains trying not to think about it.
Believing makes it so.
I could hear the ache in my guts. I was in a bad way. I worried the noise would wake Matt. I scrambled out of my bed, kicking down the sleeping bag, threw a t-shirt and my trousers on and wandered out into what I took to be approximately four am. The air was cold but felt good against my skin. I was prickly with sweat. My entire being was pulsating. Realising I had left the safety of our womb with just my iPhone for company, I switched the flashlight function on and gave the whole camp a cursory once over with the beam. Not a creature was stirring except for a turd. I walked straight across the camp in search of salvation. Eddie had said the toilet tent was shaped like a rocket. It stood just behind the row of tents and was easy to spot in the half-light. I didn’t fancy my chances given what I figured I was about to expel. I decided to test out the toilet tent in the next field. That way it would be the problem of another group when the sun rose on a new day. I realised I wasn’t in the desert anymore and couldn’t refer to it as the happy room. There was nothing happy about the situation. On the top of a hill were two fixed toilets belonging to the campsite. I opened the door on what looked like a barn from a low-budget Nativity. I was ready to deliver my own immaculate conception. When the iPhone flashlight caught on the stained plastic of the toilet and the brimming activity within I knew it wasn’t to be and continued up to the outhouse-looking motherfucker at the top of the incline. Here I hoped I would find my tranquillity. I opened the door and discovered there was just a hole in the ground with two risen feet shapes above a tray where the goods were to be delivered. The system was filtered by a garden hose running up the hill, under the door and trickling water into the hole. It was a McGyver job at best. I closed the door and lowered my trousers without letting them become victim to the mess of ground-in shit left on the floor. I gagged on the remnants of the last few occupants and then squatted back, trying to make sure I wasn’t about to unload into my own pants and let the bullets fly. The scattergun effect my body returned for the favour of finding somewhere nice and serene for a shit was not natural. It was real horror show. It was both barrels of a shotgun being blasted through an arse. I was a brown Jackson Pollock.
I took a fresh pack of Kleenex from my pocket and started a clean up job equivalent to clearing a dead body from the train tracks with tweezers. There was a carrier bag in the corner full of discarded tissue because when in the mountains, you can’t be flushing shitty toilet paper down the system. It would be an underestimate to call it full. It would have been impossible to fit another tissue in without touching the others. I wondered how much hand sanitiser I had. I worried I would never feel clean again. One sheet at a time was applied to my pulsing anus as I tried to conduct the kind of damage control you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. I was reminded of when Vince and Jules have to clean the dead body out the back of the car in Pulp Fiction. We are talking Tarantino levels of excrement.
When I turned around to inspect my hard work, feeling a refreshing wave of nausea in my throat and creeping sweat on my skin I discovered it hadn’t been the neat departure into the hole I had been hoping for. They had a smaller target when they blew up the Death Star. Here I was shitting on womp rats in my T-16 (niche gag).
There was no way I could leave things in the way my bowels had intended. It was the definition of everywhere. It was almost impressive. I was one Roy Castle short of being a Record Breaker. I knew I was going to have to do a rush clean up job, like a battered spouse attempting to mop up the blood after bludgeoning their partner to death with a household object. With the light in one hand I bent down and picked up the hose supplying the only flow of water in what was fast becoming a tomb dedicated to the memory of my shit. I expected to find mourners outside laying flowers. I started trying to spray down the back wall and pipework I had recently decorated. Each time I moved the hose there was a drop in water pressure and it dribbled out. I yanked a further couple of feet in from wherever the source was and draped it over my head. I was getting desperate. Every second I remained in that shitty outhouse was another second I was about to be discovered. The water, thankfully, started to flow. I cleaned up as best I could in the light I had available, swinging my iPhone torch around the space and then weeping internally, I returned to my tent.
The problem with having the shits of course is that it’s never over. The best comparison would be the death of Michael Myers at the end of every Halloween film made for over twenty years. You know that fucker will return. It doesn’t matter how dead you think the matter is, how final the score, it’s coming back for another sequel.