Let me set the pace with what is probably the most embarrassing moment of my life, but in retrospect, probably one of the funniest too…
A few years back, my spouse and I were traveling around the Europe, and were about to catch a train from Budapest to Romania. We arrived at the station about 2 hours before boarding commenced, as we wanted to make sure we found the right train and give ourselves plenty of time. We were lucky enough to find a conductor who stepped off the carriage that we thought we were going to be traveling on. He was a really lovely guy who actually let us on the train well before any passengers should have boarded and showed us to our private sleeper compartment, while telling us in broken English that we would have to go back out onto the platform with our tickets just before boarding time.
We settled in for about an hour and a half when we noticed people starting to cue up on the platform, so decided that it was probably time to hop off so we could hand over our tickets and re-board the train. I thought I would pop into the bathroom before we went outside and stood in line, so I ducked into the toilet at the end of the corridor just next to the exit, dropped my pants, sat down on the toilet and did my business… and a rather big business it was too, thanks to some dodgy hungarian food the night before.
Next thing I know – someone is banging on the door, so I quickly finish and open the door to be greeted by the same ‘lovely conductor’ who is yammering away in a mix of Hungarian & Romanian gibberish. As I stepped off the train onto the platform, i saw my spouses’s face, who was looking straight at me, wide-eyed, mouth agape, in what I can only describe as a look of pure horror… wondering what the hell was going on, I looked at the rest of the passengers whose faces ranged from absolute disgust to comedic hysteria. The conductor kept up his barrage and I heard the word ‘bathroom’ and ‘station’ as he pointed down at the tracks, right next to the steps everyone will be using to get back onto the train.
This is where time seemed to slow, as the realization of what had happened slowly set in while I processed the conductor’s strange and unexpected behaviour, my spouses’s look of shock and the various expressions on the faces of the thirty-something passengers lined up alongside the train. As I started to repeat in my head “Please don’t let it be what I think it is”, I glanced down towards the tracks, and sure enough, there it sat… a big, stinking, steaming pile of poo… toilet paper and all… right in front of all the passengers.
How was I supposed to know that the toilets on older trains empty straight out onto the tracks… Other than the sign I saw on the back of the toilet door that I didn’t see on my first visit.
I had to stand there in line with everyone for almost 20 minutes while everyone held their noses and gave me filthy looks.
All the while imagining them witness the ‘plop-plop-plop’ of my business falling the 2-3 feet from the underside of the train onto the tracks right next to them.
Talk about an uncomfortable train ride… I was too embarrassed to step out of my cabin for the entire 26 hour trip.
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