Linking up with Story Telling Sunday over at Sian's.
This story accompanies a page I posted yesterday.
Trotting Through Lima: By Bruce Mero
Readers of this author may remember an episode I wrote about wherein I relived a terrifying event from a number of years back in Kerman, Iran, when I lost control of my innards and "soiled" myself. Well...it ALMOST happened again when Gretchen and Mitra and I were in Peru a few months ago. Déjà-vu? Nearly.
We ate a fabulous lunch at Lima's premier restaurant, Puro Peru, where I probably should have taken the opportunity, but instead was flabbergasted by the urinal in the men's room and forgot about my other end. The urinal was a long trough, ornately tiled and filled with polished black pebbles, on top of which had been spread a layer of sliced limes. One peed on the limes and the whole room was odorless! One of the guys in our group was so impressed he went back to the table to get his camera for a photo.
By the time we entered historic Plaza de Armas though, the magnificence of the Spanish Colonial architecture represented in the buildings surrounding the square was beginning to look a bit foggy to me. My attention began to center on the uncomfortable gastronomical rumblings from my lower regions. The Cathedral of Lima was next on the tour with its magnificent, towering, gold-encrusted altar and voluminous sanctuary, the beheaded remains of Peru's conqueror, Pizarro and a lot more stuff. Monks chanted ethereally in the background. All blurred as I focused instead on locating a non-existent public comfort station. The Cathedral tour was then followed by an interminably long and surreal trip through the catacombs beneath the building where we saw the bones of every one of the 20,000 burials therein, or so it seemed. I was surreptitiously looking for a dark corner somewhere if I might leave the group for a few moments. No such luck.
Next was a short walk to the oldest, elegant Spanish colonial house in Lima, belonging to the family of Pizarro's scribe, Jeranimo Aliaga. I took our bubbly tour guide aside and in Spanish told her that I was in need of a restroom. She seemed to understand, but began addressing the group and describing the history of the house. I again took her aside and tried to express the urgency of my situation. As a courtesy, I spoke in Spanish. She walked into another room and began to discuss the paintings. I took her aside for third time at an opportune moment and expressed to her in no uncertain terms and in English this time the urgency of the situation and just what was about to happen if I did not find a restroom immediately. Apparently, this got her attention and she disappeared into another room. She quickly returned and told me that the restroom was beyond the room she'd just been in but that it was unavailable. The anteroom was under renovation, the floor had just been stripped and varnished.
In desperation, I opened the door and encountered a man and women who were re-finishing the floor. I pleaded my case in Spanish and English and evidently convinced the couple of the impending disaster. They both pointed across the room to another door and nodded. My shoes stuck to the curing varnish and once or twice I skidded as I headed for the door and the bathroom beyond.
I was a bit sheepish on my return through the anteroom and thanked both workers as profusely as my limited Spanish would allow. Both were laughing as I left. I was aware that I'd left footprints in the sticky varnish on both of my trips across the room.
No one had missed me as I returned to the group. Gretchen was busy taking photos of stained glass doors and Mitra was admiring the ornate carvings in the wainscot. The woodwork, the artwork, wall and ceiling treatments and tile work in each room were so overwhelming and beautiful that no one in our group had recognized my distress nor my departure. The tour had continued without me. I am certain, however, that someone would have noticed had I not found that restroom precisely when I had.