All I wanted to do was to take a leak, but I ended up scrambling to the nearby bushes for cover, a large crowd of people caught us with zipper down when those darned car headlights revealed everything.
It's one of those funny moments.
My female friends always tell me: "you boys are lucky... you can go to the toilet whenever and wherever you want to".
It's a bad habit that's absolutely true, however it's just not the same for me at events like the Hibiscus Festival though. Why don't boys use toilets as often as nearby bushes? Because we're boys I suppose.
Some Hibiscus Festivals ago, my friend Ju and I went behind the big trees near the tennis courts area at Albert Park in Suva. It was a jam-packed night and just like boys do, we thought the trees were easier than to walk all the way to the slippery, smelly pavilion toilets — which were too far off anyhow. We quickly found a spot to do our business, unnoticed in the dark, swishing away and planning our next ferries wheel ride.
Just then, beaming lights from a passing car shone straight in our direction.
Caught by surprise, I turned to my right still doing my business to hide, and accidently hosed Ju on the left leg, who let out a sharp swear in disgust and caught the attention of a large crowd nearby. Then we both scrambled further into the scrubs. Then someone yelled out in iTaukei lingo to the others about what we were doing much to our embarrassment.
I'll come back to that story in a while.
Our Hibiscus Festival outing last week was okay in the sense that the kids didn't go missing as opposed to the 67 cases of missing children reported in The Fiji Times, and the Mrs was happy too. However I keep encountering toilet problems at festivals like this all the time.
My kids were all hyped to go watch the floats last Saturday, and like every Hibiscus outing, I'd remind them to use the toilet at home before making our way to Albert Park. This year's event surely rocked. I felt it was better than the rest because the weather was absolutely on our side for once, not like those rainy Hibiscus years. Plus the giant bouncy castles were definitely a favourite. I was actually tempted to jump in with the kids if it wasn't for the daylight.
Anyway, I stand corrected ...but I'm guessing there's no way to improve our toilet system at festivals like these, unless the cleaner makes hourly visits especially in an event like the crowded Hibiscus in the capital.
You see, after all the barbecue, delicious hot dogs coupled with soft drinks and water, my eight year-old girl and three year-old boy were as eager as I was to use the toilet.
One visit to the toilets behind the pavilion last Saturday made me recall my funny outing with Ju. And the portable toilets on the final day were an eye-sore as well. The pavilion toilet floors were wet. I couldn't walk in, even when I tried. It was so slippery, I just slid in with both hands holding the side walls, but the stench made me ditch and slide back out again.
So I took my little boy to Government Buildings corner wall instead, and my girl went with her aunty to find an appropriate toilet elsewhere. Two years ago, Ju and I scrambled as people started looking, we were forced to postpone our business, ran out of the side bushes onto the road and bumped into a police officer.
He stopped us and seeing our surprised faces, questioned us about last whereabouts. It was obvious we looked startled more than anything else. We told him the truth but he continued to check our pockets. Meanwhile Ju was dying to complete his business. Desperate, he asked the officer to allow him to go relieve himself.
The officer by then had noticed the people laughing below and left us alone. Just then Ju quickly turned to the roadside and let it all out... or at least the rest of it because I could see his pants was partly wet. Anyway the bottom line is, I hope next year's Hibiscus committee would consider my plea for regular cleaning of toilets at the mother of all festivals, otherwise us boys will head for the trees and bushes.