Sunday, August 21, 2011


Petr picks us up, decked in his Sunday American best, but with European shoes. He's looking mighty dapper to preside over his pulpit this Sunday morning, thick white hair brushed back, clear blue eyes sizing up the luggage. He helps us toss it into his American mini van and we are off again.

 Use the loo one more time, desperate to avoid the death potties. Amazement at the pay potties—20 centiums (50 cents) foul, putrid smelling potty, though admittedly not nearly as bad as the ones waiting for me on the bus line. You pay, then you actually have to take your toilet paper from a roll at the pay desk. So I, of course, must take a photo of this! Then I am in trouble yet again. I feel like I am back in Communist Latvia as the little old lady reams me out in Latvian and Natasha shakes her head and pretends she does not know me. I am astute enough to take the tone of her voice and gestures, combined with some words I recognize, such as “POLICE!” to know she's angry. I think she said, “You! Why are you taking pictures of the WC? Are you a pervert or something? The police arrest and detain perverts here in Latvia!” And then I think she gave me the finger.

Pay to wipe.

  Within minutes, we have kissed the city-scapes goodbye and once again, the rolling countryside appears. A baby coughs behind me, a deep, mucus filled, crackling cough that would have most American Mamma's rushing off to the doctor. His mother does not seem to notice. Latvia is lush in its foliage and its sky is the bright baby blue—like a perfect day on the Gulf Coast. I take miniscule sips of water periodically, hoping to ease my thirst but still avoid the squattie potties. We travel slowly, about 40 miles per hour, alternating between villages, slum like apartments, and the fertile farmland. It's a lovely day and no one on the bus smells too very awful. I have much for which to be thankful.

 We are finally hitting about 45 and then, we stop. I assume we are picking up the older couple on the side of the road. But they have on Russian name tags around their necks. Both kids get nervous and start fidgeting....I can hear the man ask for tickets, which, incidentally, sounds like the French word for tickets, “billets.” Soon both kids are whispering loudly, “MOM, he need za TEE-kits!” Ok, ok, ok. I have za tee-kits AND the reciepts—just in case! Just weird because the driver diligently checked each ticket as we boarded the bus and ticked us off his little list. Perhaps this was a spot check to ensure the driver was collecting fees from all passengers? Who knows. I had za tee-kits. We are good.

 OMG!!  We have been on this bus for 1 hour 58 minutes and the worst has happened. I have to pee. Wondering if I can bribe the ladies inside to let me use their potty???? I doubt it. These people are serious about following the rules. But I might try. But I am ready this time, with toilet paper. And hand sanitizer. On the way to the potties, I notice a small group of about 10 people, sitting, playing with the 4 or 5 children with them. I notice they are celebrating this Sunday morning with a half dozen gigantic beers and chain smoking. It's noon.

 Natasha has the habit of hanging all over me like a small child and just staring. So finally as she lays her head on my shoulder, big brown eyes looking up at me, I ask her, “What are you looking at?” “She grins, “You.” “Why??” I respond. “Bee-cuz,” she grins. I explain to her that because is not an answer, she needs to give a reason, evidence to support her “bee-cuz.” She grins again, “BEE-cuz I love you!.”



  1. I love your posts! Please continue once you return. Of course the material will not be as exciting as squattie potties, but you are a hoot! That last sentence made me cry!

  2. I don't think I could ever go into the squattie potty; but, here those three little words (I love you) would make it worth it!! Love following you on this journey!