At the moment though we are travelling overseas….well, trying to get home! My husband frequently flies to the Philippines for work and sometimes I accompany him. Here’s a little story that might just give you a chuckle.
We just missed our flight home – breaking our record of never having missed a flight!
We were supposed to be on the 8 pm flight from Manila to Sydney, so we left early -at 4pm- booking an Uber , knowing how unpredictable traffic can be we thought that would allow for plenty of time to get to the airport. How wrong we were!
Three hours and forty minutes later we arrived back in Manila, having spent that entire time in various states of distress and hysterics in that very same car.
See, at first when we left the hotel I began to notice that traffic was heavier than usual. The driver seemed to be taking us on a route that didn’t seem familiar. I wondered if he was just trying to avoid the worst of the traffic?
But further and further we went into the heaviest traffic I have ever seen in Manila and we seemed to be going deeper into unfamiliar territory, like into a mad tangle of Manila suburbia.
There we were, in the complete chaos of people and motorbikes and shonky ramshackle shops lining each side of the insanely busy streets and all the while the driver kept going down side street after side street.
I became alarmed because Richard was looking at his GPS on his phone and we just didn’t seem to be getting anywhere close to where I thought the airport should be.
“Shit, we’re being kidnapped!” I thought. Of course I did, because I always jump to the worst possible scenario.
After giving Richard the “What the hell is going on!” look for about the fifth time he finally said to the driver.
“You ARE taking us to the airport aren’t you?”
To which the driver checking his GPS, sounded a bit confused and then started laughing in great amusement.
Richard had somehow given him the wrong address (!!!) and we were now in the middle of God knows where, in this shanty town suburban insanity, with only half an hour to spare before we thought our check in would be.
And to make matters worse…I needed to pee.
Of bloody course I did!
I don’t know about the rest of you but I now have severe pee anxiety after all our travel experiences and it really sends my head into a spin. I mean, it’s all I can focus on and I start thinking irrationally because nothing else matters except my bladder and everything becomes a desperate possibility for how and where to relieve myself.
The only thing is….there WERE no possibilities. We were in this unbelievable situation of having crawled to a complete stop in this narrow street that was crammed, and I mean jam pack crammed with cars and motorbikes, and whatever those bikes with sidecars are called, and people on bicycles and people on foot – absolute madness! On either side of the road were tiny market stalls and hole in the wall shops and a sidewalk about a foot wide and people just EVERYWHERE! There WAS NOWHERE to pee!
I had to take some deep breaths and tell myself to just calm the heck down!
That’s when I heard the Uber driver start to moan.
“Ohhh. OhhhHHH… I need to vwee vwee!”
At first I thought he was mocking me but it soon became evident that he too was busting to pee!
(The way he said “vwee vwee”, had me dying laughing. I felt his pain! )
“So do I!!!” I said.
Traffic was crawling. As soon as there was a break and cars inched forward about ten motorbikes squeezed in front of us. We were going absolutely nowhere and time was ticking away and there I was playing a “Would you rather” game in my head asking myself if it would be better to squat in the gutter in front of a million Filipinos or just pee myself in an Uber car?
Meanwhile the Uber drivers groans were getting more intense and I could see his eyes darting around – like me, looking for “possibilities”. I was thinking, right, if he gets out the car, I’m running after him.
Richard by this time had begun swearing his head off because it was evident that we were now almost certainly going to miss our flight!
“ I don’t even have bahttle” said the Uber driver, laughing but serious.
That made both Richard and I crack up in hysterics.
I had a full water bottle in my handbag but I wasn’t going to tip it out the window and offer it to him because by the sound of his groans and the wiggling he was doing in his seat I figured he could have filled three!
It was at this point that we introduced ourselves to the Uber driver, properly, and he told us his name – Ray. What a great guy, with a good sense of humour too!
Finally, after being stopped, literally trapped in the traffic, Ray suddenly jumped out of the car and ran through the chaos across the street to go and relieve himself somewhere.
I was mad with jealousy and my eyes were beginning to cross.
You know, when you are busting for so long it almost feels like your bladder becomes solidified….like concrete. It’s weird, and agonising.
Ray returned, jumping back into his seat saying “Oh My Lord, thank you my Lord!!”
“ I still need to pee!” I said from the back seat.
Richard was by then on the phone, cancelling flights and trying to get us new flights but all I could thinking about was where and how I was going to be able to VWEE VWEE!
To make matters worse, Richards phone was running out of battery and he HAD to organised these flights then and there or else it might have meant us flying home separately.
I was mentally sorting the contents of my suitcase…Was there something in there I could pee in! (Seriously can’t believe I’m sharing this with you.) Was there some article of clothing Richard could spread out like a bull fighter holding out his red cloth, that I could duck behind in a corner some were. Could I somehow open both the car doors and get between….
I was almost having a full on panic attack when I spotted a shop that looked like a Hair Salon.
“Right…I’m getting out this car now and I’m going in there to ask them if they have a toilet!” I said to Richard and practically pushed him out the car.
Like a crazy woman I flew into this tiny shop, ran to the girl at the counter and said “PLEASE, do you have a toilet I can use!!!”
I must have looked so distressed and flustered that she timidly pointed to a door at the back of the room and nodded yes.
Skidding by I blurted…” Oh thank you….we’re on the way to the airport….missed our flights….the traffic OMG!”
Can I just say, that toilet, even though it was tiny and so low to the ground that I was almost lying down….pure bliss. Even though I could hear the women customers outside giggling at me. I did NOT care! When you gotta go, you gotta GO!
Just as fast I ran back out of there, hoping our Uber hadn’t rolled on forward leaving me behind. The gay sounding guy manager of the shop had just enough time to swing the door open for me, gesturing with his hand and utter “Thank you for coming!” before I was back in the car and thanking the Lord myself.
We had been stuck in this car for three and a quarter hours by now! I felt like Ray was an old time friend. I wanted to invite him to dinner with us. We had shared some intimate stuff. We were bladder buddies!
So here we are now….back in Manila, in a new hotel…a really fancy hotel too.
Both Richard and I laughed, bent over like crazy people as soon as we got into the lift…
“I need to VWEE VWEE” will now become a part of our vocabulary.
We will not forget poor Ray. He probably won’t forget us either for being his longest, most torturous fare.
We will try to come home tomorrow.