The Russian Revulsion

Several years ago my husband and I were very lucky to be invited on a 16 day cruise through Russia. It began in St. Petersburg, ended in Moscow and was very much the trip on a lifetime. The funny thing about this trip is that we were basically the only couple on board who weren't of retirement age. I guess not every working stiff can just up and leave their day job for three weeks. (SUCKAS...!)

On our second day we were invited on an excursion to Peter House, which was Peter the Great's Summer Palace. It was insanely beautiful and we had an amazing time. Here is a picture of part of the gardens:

Lovely, eh? Yep. It was. We were transported there with 50 of our favorite senior citizens via autobus which worked out pretty well. The seats were comfortable and everyone was happy and excited to be visiting such an interesting place. The tour was wonderful and we all had a great time walking the magical gardens.

On the way home I did what I often do when in any vehicle I'm not driving - I sacked out. After 45 minutes I woke up sweaty and drooly, wondering where in the hell I was. I dragged the back of my hand across my mouth in case I had let anything loose during the siesta. I looked over at my husband in the aisle seat and mumbled, "Hey. Are we almost there?"

That's when I noticed that all was not well. He was rocking back and forth. Maniacally. Hmmmm. Curious behavior. Then I saw an endless line of old people who appeared to be jostling for position in a line by the "toilet" in the middle of the bus. This is the same toilet we all carefully avoided on the trip to the palace as it was impossible to do anything in there without the entire bus knowing all about it. So those whose morning coffee kicked in on the trip there had sucked it up and waited until we arrived at our destination to take care of their business.

But these niceties were no longer being observed. In fact, the next time the bathroom door opened a shoving match broke out between two geriatrics. Old, affluent people were fighting over the use of a seriously sub-par toilet. What the hell...? Was I dreaming?? Next was Barney going to float down from the ceiling in a g-string next while singing Copacabana???

THAT is when I smelled it and knew that this horror show was not a dream. A heavy green fog escaped from the potty and infested the air causing gagging noises all around me. It also caused my neck to involuntarily snap back in shock and awe. I realized that somebody must have fucking died on this goddamn bus because the stench in the air made my mouth feel like I had been eating something metallic and my tongue was starting to sweat in a "Oh, yeah, something is very, very wrong here" kind of way.

My husband continued his crazy rocking while looking straight ahead. He wouldn't answer me and his face was green and shiny looking. He had beads of sweat slowly rolling down his forehead and cheeks that looked like something out of the Matrix.

Suddenly the bus lurched to a stop. 50 frantic people started celebrating our apparent arrival by clutching their stomachs and moaning, "Open the fucking the fucking doors..." I stood up and noticed that we weren't back at the boat. We were ensnared in St. Peterburgs infamous rush hour traffic. Collective groans could be heard as people realized where we were and then some desperate old guy forced the doors of the bus open and ran into the streets, literally clutching his corn hole.

I used to work for a bank in a retirement community. I made the mistake only once of following an old lady into our bathroom. I thought that I was going to die. And I was pretty sure that there was some kind of diagnosis that could be made on her based on the evidence she left. I felt like telling her that she could safely quit saving money as it was obvious to me that her end was near.

My point is that I happened to already know that old people can lay it down when it comes to defiling a toilet. But I have never smelled before or since anything that rivaled the stench of 48 old people with explosive diarrhea stuck in traffic on a bus.

For the next week almost every person on the boat had some horrific experience involving their digestive tract. And the rest of us learned how to breathe out of our mouth's in case we accidentally happened upon some poor bastard with a case of the Russian Revulsion.

Every so often the evening news talks about a major cruise liner that is stuck somewhere fabulous with a similar stomach bug on board. Helicopters swarm the skies and take video of passengers puking off of the balconies on the boat. And then the cruise ship docks in Miami and smarmy reporters ask penetrating questions like, "So...did you puke, too?" If the person answers "no" you can see the disappointment wave across the reporters face, "Oh. No puking, huh? Well, did you at least get a little diarrhea?? Oh, really?? With or without an oily discharge? Any bloody stools? Wow! That's great!" And then he calls over the guy with the video camera over to film an interview about a passenger who foamed in her pants while walking through the Caymen Islands. Journalism at its finest.

So at least we didn't have to deal with the media.

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Stephanie M said…
That sounds so completely awful. Many many thanks for warning me about a possible ending of my life via tour bus. I am certain my geriatric self thanks you too.
Alice said…
Between you and the Nemesing One - I've been rolling on the floor with the poop stories! That was so f***ing funny.

And I learned early on to always travel with a roll of TP in my backpack. ALWAYS.
Tricia said…
Okay so the old guy running off the bus holding his cornhole made me laugh out loud in my cubicle and I had to pretend it was a coughing fit. ;-)
you had me feeling badly for you as soon as you mentioned old people! horrid but funny shit! ;)
Meg said…
So I guess I really shouldn't complain about family vacations where my son pees in a cup in the car and my daughter has to get out and go in a gas station in East L.A.
damon said…
Old people already have a funk attached to them. I can only imagine what the hell THAT was like. The image of some old dude, clutching his 'cornhole' as he runs into traffic, will surely give me nightmares.
Jinksy said…
I'm going on a 5-day cruise starting this weekend. I hope I don't face any reporters upon my return.

Wish me luck.
sista #2 said…
My ass hurts just reading this story!


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