Friday, March 11, 2011

Carnivale di Venezia (part two)


On Saturday morning at about 5:20  I got up to  meet my friend Edith at 6:15, Romolo station, from there we took the metro to  Central Station, to catch our train to Venice departing at 7:25 with the rest of our friends. The plan was to spend the day and party through the night and return on the train which departed the next morning at five.

We were informed to be there early to find seats, and good advise it was.  By 7:00 the train was full but there was still passengers entering. By departure most coaches were filled with people standing, and as we stopped at other cities on the way, it filled up more. Like sardines in a tin people stood together as more passengers squeesed in making it impossible for anyone to move anywhere. 

As the train filled up, people eyed us lucky ones with seats with discontent, the levels of discontent rising as the corridors of the train gets fuller and fuller, making the air smell like toilet. It also became particularly uncomfortable when the ones who ended up standing next to us in the corridor were two young couples who continuously made out with each other during the three hour trip.

I became particularly greatful for our seats as the trip continued and it became apparent that I should not have had that cup of tea to wake me up.   Not being able to get up and go to the toilet, I accepted my fate that I will have to just bite my upperlip for another hour and 40 minutes.  At least I could convince myself that sitting with bladder discomfort is way better than to stand while trying to keep it together and inside.   

Eventually we arrived and the first thing we needed to find was a bathroom, the bathroom wasn’t so hard to find but it had a cue almost as long as the Great Wall of China, this made me dash back into one of the empty trains to find  a toilet. I found one with only four people cueing, only to get inside to realise that it must be the most disgusting place I’ve been in.  This I realised required some planning, one does not want to touch anything, thus it requires lifting your coat, while squating over the toilet and concentrating on (and I stress this) not touching anything.  By then four people were waiting outside the door with the same urgency, and if there is one thing I can’t do is pee under pressure. It is hard enough as it is relaxing one’s bladder muscles (I have no idea how one would call that) while squating, relaxing while someone is knocking on the door every few seconds makes it pretty much impossible.

So without relief I gave up and hoped that we will find a descent bar very soon.  Finding a bar quickly during carnival in Venice was another thing. There were so many people all concentrated into the narrow streets of Venice that we moved like a herd of cattle huddled together very slowly. So even if the bar seemed quite close in sight it still took at least 20 minutes to get to it. I cannot expres the happiness I felt when we finally arived at the bar and I could use a descent quite clean toilet. That feeling of relief, well it is priceless.

This wasn’t the only time when we experienced bladder discomfort, with tons of people at the carnival finding a bathroom became quite the ordeal. It became a mission finding a balance between the amount of liquids taken and the calculation of available bathrooms.

At some point during the night (it think it might have been at around one the next morning perhaps) we were walking from the big square to another square, by then most bars were closed and the available public bathrooms seemed non existent. One becomes quite desperate while roaming through the tiny streets and corners of Venice in the dark.  It was in such a desperate moment that our one friend winked us into an isolated side street, she found a bathroom, or that was what our happy minds thought... No, it was not a bathroom, but just a tiny little isolated street, so armed with a tissue we prepared ourselves for the unthinkable: squatting in the street.

While the rest stood guard we took turns to go. Peeing without a toilet for girls has never been the easiest of tasks and doesn’t go fast and care free like with men. One has to plan it carefully to avoid accidently urinating on your own shoes. The tension caused by our knowledge of our crime was enhanced with the continuous muttering of our one friend “Oh I am so sorry Venice, you are beautiful, I can’t believe I just did that!” I was the last to go, and not being a natural camper in general found the task at hand difficult. Just as I got my mind wrapped around the concept and ready to undo my pants men walked by on the far distant side, forcing me to look for a darker corner.

With my darker corner found I took a deep breath and as I loosened the button of my jean, all of a sudden from the top of a balcony, a woman cursed out words at me while almost throwing an entire bucket of water on me. I had to dash. The moment has past I fastened my button again and gave up, feeling somehow relieved that I did not get my chance. Eventually I did find an available bathroom, but we are forever stained with the memory of our intentions...

More to come in next post...

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