#30 The grossest thing on this trip… (no pictures included)

#30 from SE Asia

From Eastern Thailand

March 13th, 2010

Warning: This story is gross, without any photos. Read at your own risk.

I have been reluctant to publish this one. Part of me thinks, ‘This is in bad taste.’ Another part of me thinks, ‘Dwight, you have been in bad taste your whole life, so why change now? Go for it.’

Let me tell you a few things that were NOT the grossest things on this trip.

1. Watching people in NE Thailand eat 4″ long deep-fried water bugs.

2. Returning to my hotel in Hanoi after an evening of beer-drinking with an Aussie professor and I stumble down an alley to see some men barbecuing a puppy on a skewer.  (hard to believe that this would not be the grossest)

Before I go any further, I am going to quote Jack Nicholson. He said that there are 3 rules that old men should abide by:

1. Always show your kids and grandkids that you love them.

2. Never pass up a bathroom

3. Never waste an erection

Well, I am NOT going to write about #3, to your great relief, or disappointment.

It’s #2 that I will try to express.

I am at an Internet cafe in the Mekong Delta when I suddenly feel nature call. No warning at all. Only nature is screaming this time. I explain to the people that I need to use the toilet. An old man leads me out back. But he does not take me to any of the small buildings. Instead, he leads me to a pond that is about 8 meters wide, fetid grey in color, and smelling to high heaven.

Now, I am in a hurry. My walk is stiff and rigid, and my pucker factor is high. To put it simply, I really do not want to shit my pants. Every old person’s nightmare. Well, the old man points to this rickety little bridge, just a plank, that leads up to a platform covered with a few modesty palm fronds. I have no choice but to scramble up this steep slope without any hand rail. There, about 1.5 meters above the stinking pool, I must squat. Quickly too. Nature and pressure does the rest. SPLASH! Some of the water splashes onto my backside. GROSS!

As I am pulling up my pants, I hear a serious thrashing coming from below. I look down and I see that my floater is being torn apart and eaten alive by a massive swarm of catfish!  It didn’t have a chance!!!

In a minute my shit is gone.

Suddenly, I am sick to my stomach. The old man is waiting for me. But I am dizzy. I must descend this plank, without any rails, above this swarm of catfish. Oh I fear that I am going to fall in! I am truly dizzy and sick. I clamor down the plank and I almost fall in. But I leap to the edge onto dry ground and fall forward. As a retired mountain climber, I know that it is always tougher coming down a mountain than going up it.

I walk back to the Internet Cafe.  But for the rest of the day, I am profoundly puzzled.

Here is the line of my illogic.

Man eats catfish.

Man shits.

Catfish eats man’s shit.

Catfish grows.

Man eats catfish.

Get the idea of where I am going? Now to the best of my understanding, man AND catfish are NOT photosynthetic creatures. So where are the energy inputs here? It seems that this is a violation of the 1st law of thermodynamics: Mr. Farley, my excellent HS physics teacher, taught me that Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed.

I start to think that I may be onto something here. Maybe I have just solved the food-energy problem. Patent it and I’ll make billions. Fat city here I come.

But that is for when I return to the USA. For here I am sitting in an Internet Cafe in SE Asia late into the evening. I have drank too much beer and I have only had one meal today, after riding a long distance on my bike. I am REALLY HUNGRY.

Time to go down to the open market and see what is available. And what am I going to eat?

Well I don’t know. But I will tell you one thing.

You can bet your sweet ass it won’t be no catfish!!!

9 Responses to #30 The grossest thing on this trip… (no pictures included)

  1. Timbuk 3, the one hit wonder band, had a line in a song, “If you are what you eat, then I’m dead meat.”
    Thanks for the super grossout.
    I had an experience with a mouse in a porta pottie once. I really, really had to go..now. But upon opening the lid, there was this little mouse floating on an island in the blue water. The island was of course what you would imagine it to be in such a container. I looked at it and said, “boy..you’re in a world of shit.” It was the morning of my mom’s funeral and I could not live with the karma of merely crapping on it because of my immediate needs. I puckered up with my remaining strength, wrapped my hand with TP and reached in to gently remove the poor critter and wipe off what I could from it and my hand, releasing it a millisecond before my mission was finally accomplished. Fortunately there was a river right there and ample soap to wipe off the scented remnants of the experience.

  2. Gross out #2.
    While at port in Subic Bay, PI, there is a bridge that one has to cross to go into Olongopo for R&R. There is recognizable sewage floating in the brown turpid water. There are children swimming in the river, diving for coins tossed by sailors from the bridge. (Might be better now…38 year old memory.)

  3. Dwight? Scared of a little poo? I would have never guessed. People are such a surprise 😉

  4. Haha, was exactely what I was expecting when you told us about your revolutionary discovery. That doesn’t necessarily make it less important to science though. Great job and I’ll see you in Stockholm for the Nobel price ceremony next year.

    ps. Think you’ll find this interesting: http://www.pinetree.net/humor/thermodynamics.html

  5. That dish that you ate with some unknown fish..My guess would be CATFISH!!!!!!!

  6. same thing happened to me in palenque,mex. but was a frog waiting for me to relieve myself.a psychological crisis for all.

  7. Come on Unc, all you did was poo in a river. Not like you “ate” any catfish. 🙂 I can recall the time my father, your brother told me about him eating some maggots. Now that’s bad – so are us Workers! Love you!

  8. This is very funny stuff, Dwight! But I would still find the roast puppy worse than the shit problem. I guess shit doesn’t bother me as much as it does other people. That’s a strange self discovery.

  9. I am curious about #3…

    You expressed #2 very well. ha ha ha

    I didn’t realize you’d continue globetrotting so soon. I’m envious and enjoying vicariously.

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Dwight Worker is an American professor, activist, adventurer, and fugitive. He escaped from the Mexican penitentiary Palacio de Lecumberri in 1975 along with the book and movie Escape about the story

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Worker is a former professor at Indiana University, where he created the Information Security program for the Kelley School of Business before retiring in 2008 to farm, write, and travel.….READ MORE