The Hottest Spot in the Serengeti

There are no plush velvet banquettes. No artisanal craft cocktails. No happy hour specials or hipster DJ pushing play on an iPod.

But the bathroom at the airstrip in Kogatende is hands down the most happening. most popular spot in the entire Serengeti.


Now listen: I’m from Texas. Clearly I have no issue with peeing out in the bushes. Not at all. But I also understand that some people prefer even a modicum of plumbing and privacy. So it’s easy to see why this otherwise unassuming cinder block/tin roofed building was everyone’s favorite watering hole while we all were on our respective game drives.

And like the wild animals we observed navigating the ponds and watering holes across the Serengeti, there was a ritual to the gatherings.

Our particular gaggle of genus: homo touristus would swing by the Kogatende “watering hole” at least twice a day, and invariably, we’d see dozens of other safari jeeps and vehicles parked in rows on the hard-packed reddish dirt parking lot.


Here’s how it generally went down (told in my best NatGeo Wild “Safari Live” voice):

A safari vehicle pulls up. Now, watch carefully as the white female inhabitants dash quickly out of the car and hotfoot their way up to the building! Notice they carry with them a supplemental item: why its….its…toilet paper! And a wise decision as well, since there’s a 99% probability that neither of these two stalls will not be outfitted with that particular nicety.

Wait….our female is pausing….she’s shirked back and is wrinkling her nose now. Oh dear! Apparently, despite the best efforts of the erstwhile male bathroom attendant lurking about, our female homo touristus is a bit suspicious about this particular watering hole. It appears she is not a fan of the large dual septic tanks flanking the building and filling the air with one of the many aromas unique to the Serengeti. Whatever will she do?


Meanwhile, back at the safari vehicle, the male homo touristus are loitering about, seemingly unsure of whether they need to partake of this particular watering hole, or just wait to hang out near some trees. They decide to pull a beer from the cooler while they make up their minds. As with all male species, these male homo touristus know they have other options and are quite lucky in that regard.

Ok, so right now we’re also getting a not-so-rare glimpse into Kogatende watering hole life as the homo safarium guiduses slowly abandon their vehicles and charges to gather in clusters with others of their species. Notice how they are laughing and chattering away. There’s no rush here at this robust watering hole. There’s plenty of time for everyone to partake in both the amenities and the social bonding rituals available.


Now, back to our female homo touristus. After a bit of a dance, she has finally, tentatively made her way into the bathroom vestibule. She appears to be investigating her two stall options quite carefully….perhaps she’s comparing their flushability merits, or perhaps ascertaining the presence of a toilet seat. We can’t really be certain, but we can be sure that she will likely be disappointed on both counts.

Holding her nose and picking the lesser of two evils, she dives into a stall to heed the call of nature. Mere seconds later, our female bursts out of the stall, helps herself to several pumps of watermelon hand soap, and engages in an extended round of hand washing under the cold and weak tap. This is a rigorous grooming ritual, indeed!

Slapping her hands back and forth over her shorts, our triumphant female struts out of the Kogatende watering hole and makes her way back to the vehicle to share all the details of her latest bathroom escapade with the other, uninterested inhabitants of her vehicle.

Me, hanging out with a rhino at a different type of watering hole in South Africa.


That Reminds Me…When is Discovery Channel’s ‘Gold Rush’ Coming Back?

Now that we’ve covered the fact that you should not poop in somebody’s yard, can we talk about in-the-bathroom etiquette? Please? Just for a second?
What? Doesn't everyone have a royal couple in the throne room?

Someone at my workplace fancies themselves an Alaskan prospector because they like to go digging for golden nuggets. They like to explore the caves, as it were. They like to manually extract mucus from their nasal cavities, so to speak (well, not really “so to speak,” more like, “exactly to speak”).

And they like to show off their treasures by sticking them on the walls of the bathroom stall

Clinging to the grout.

Bear in mind, this is (ostensibly) a WOMAN doing this, since I do (almost) exclusively use the ladies powder room (*Disclaimer: Unless I’m in a club and have had multiple beers and the girl’s line is just too damn long and no one really seems to be using the men’s room at all and I’ll only be a second, so it’s really not a big deal, right? Or, if I’m tubing. Then I pee with nature. Quite happily, I might add).

Anyway, back to the Madame Booger-Sharer. It has happened on multiple occasions, so we can’t blame it on a visiting guest. Other co-workers and I have talked about it on previous occasions, speculating on who this disgusting individual is, assuring each other it was no one in our immediate group.

Stage 4 clinger.

Still, a Booger Digger dwells amongst us. Probably wearing normal workday clothes, from Ann Taylor or something, and eating normal lunchtime foods like a Lean Cuisine heated in the microwave oven. I bet this person goes directly from putting her chicken alfredo in the microwave to walking down the hall to the bathroom. (shudder).

The last time I encountered the little crusties clinging to the grout (just last week,) I had my camera with me. You know, so I would have evidence for when I blogged about it. BEHOLD.

That’s right. I JUST DID THAT. (Number of times the automatic toilet flusher went off while I was documenting this latest transgression: 5.)

But while we are on the subject, there are a couple of other pet peeves I’d like to bring up (of course, because when do I ever stop at just one thing?).

Ladies who use toilet seat covers: You’re obviously a lady of discriminating taste, concerned about hygiene. You would never dream of allowing your thighs to touch a toilet seat that has been used by other thighs. So why, oh why, do you leave your used toilet seat covers clinging helplessly to the seat when you are done? There is it, gently lifting with every breeze, until some poor hapless pisser such as myself, is confronted and confounded by it. The last thing I want to do when going into the bathroom is to gingerly pick up your used toilet seat cover and toss it into the bowl. This leads to some awkward kick-the-paper game that’s difficult to accomplish and dangerous in a small toilet stall.

Stop mocking me toilet seat cover.

Also: Do you think that after grooming yourself, brushing your hair and cleaning the hair out of said brush, you could throw the accumulated hair away? I know it must give you much satisfaction to see it clump up at the bottom of toilet bowl, like a dark spider ready to startle the next hapless victim who comes in to tinkle. But it’s quite startling. And, really, disgusting.

Those seem to be the main transgressions. I want to assure you, Dear Reader, that I do work at a very nice place with lots of well-paid and seemingly normal people. Has anyone else encountered any of these situations?

I’m actually thinking about taking the pictures of the Bathroom Booger Collection and making a “Lost” poster to post throughout our floor at work. “Lost: golden nuggets. Last seen: women’s bathroom on September 2. Friendly, comes to name ‘goldie.’ Please return to owner for reward.”

Maybe I should just work from home.