El Salvador, 2015: It’s our first day out of San Salvador and between the drive down to the coast, the boat ride through the mangrove forest and the fresh coconut water served in an actual coconut with an actual straw, I’m feel rather high on life.
There’s only one problem. I availed myself of not one but two tropical juices at the hotel’s continental breakfast (research, right?), plus the coconut water, plus an entire liter of regular water to ward off the inevitable jetlag. (It’s only two hours but I am prone to narcoleptic-like behavior on a good day so I’m not taking my chances.)
And now I’m in a little tiny boat, somewhere between the Pacific Ocean, the Lepa river, the floating Hooters restaurant in the middle of the estuary (I’m not kidding), and the dock. And my bladder is threatening to explode.
I don’t want to say anything. I don’t want my colleagues to think I’m some sort of press trip amateur, even though I am, so I cross my legs and force myself to think about something else.
But we’re on the water.
And we’re bouncing up and down on the waves.
And we’re getting sprayed.
I’m pretty sure that I recognize a particularly distinctive cluster of mangrove trees, and that this cluster was only five or ten minutes from the dock, but then we pass the Hooters for the second time and I remember that the Hooters was a good twenty minutes into the start of the tour, meaning we’re still at least twenty minutes away.
In the distance, I see some children swimming near a fishing boat. If they’re swimming, maybe I could swim? And if I could swim, I could, you know…
But how am I going to explain to our captain (who doesn’t speak English), that I’m just going to jump out of the boat for a quick minute? And how am I going to get back into the boat? And what am I going to do about my wet clothes?
I tell myself to think outside of the box. I am usually a good problem solver. But there is no solution. The only solution is to get back to the dock as quickly as possible, so I pluck up the courage to ask our tour guide to ask the captain how much longer it will be.
I don’t catch their entire conversation but before I know it we’re flying back towards the dock at breakneck speed. And wouldn’t you know every single woman on the entire freakin’ boat lets out a sigh of relief? We’re engulfed in a chorus of “Thank God!” “Too much coffee!” “Too much coconut water!” and “I am going to RUN the moment we dock!”
Moral of the Story?
Avail yourself of every opportunity to use the restroom, especially if you are going to avail yourself of every opportunity to sample local beverages (and especially if you’re about to set out on a 90-minute boat tour that turns into a 2-hour boat your because your all journalists and you all have take eight hundred pictures and ask nine hundred questions). And if you don’t, just tell your tour guide you have to go to the bathroom. They will snap their fingers and make things happen.