Pornima’s strong coffee hit me suddenly, and I stood up to find the loo. At the counter of the shack that served as a restaurant, I said, “Excuse me, do you have a toilet?”
With an expansive gesture towards the hills, the man behind the counter said quite generously, “Open toilet.”
I looked around. “Open toilet?” I said. “Where?”
Again he gestured towards the green hills. I scanned them for a sign of a ramshackle hut with a swinging tin door, or perhaps a swath of cloth wrapped around several trees. Nothing.
“Um, where is it?” I asked again.
“Open toilet,” he repeated, smiling. Then it dawned on me. An “open toilet” meant you had to squat in the Great Outdoors.
I hitched up my pants, slipped and slid up the muddy mountain trails, and veered off towards an open patch in the shrubs, high above the road and obscured by trees. I squatted down and enjoyed my “open toilet” experience on the hill. The view was lovely.