Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stuck in a Tunisian Restroom

I've been lucky on my travels not to have run into to serious trouble. One of the more laughable situations I've been in was getting stuck in a bus station restroom in Tunisia with my 12-year old-daughter, Jasmine. We could have been in there for hours if she hadn't saved us.

We had just taken a several-hours-long bumpy and dusty bus ride from Le Kef, in the north, and had arrived to transfer in Gafsa to get to our final destination of Tozeur. Needless to say we had to pee. Badly. So my husband and son watched our bags while Jasmine and I set off to find a bathroom.

Gafsa is a transportation hub so there were what seemed like hundreds of people darting to catch their bus or waiting for one in the extreme dry heat. The whole station was covered in a sticky black film from exhaust, desert dust and dirt from people's shoes. It smelled slightly like a burning tire.

We navigated past a staircase and around a few corners, all eyes on us as the only white people, till we found the ladies room. By this time we really had to go. The door was wide open so that anyone walking by could look into the stalls so I absent-mindedly kicked aside a small brick that was holding the door open for some privacy. We were the only people in the bathroom, which seemed strange.

We visited the stalls, washed our hands then went to the door to leave. There was no knob. I pushed on the door. It didn't budge. I tried to pull the door from the broken knob mechanism. No go. Hmmm. I checked the locking bit where the door connects with the jam and could see it was well and truly locked. Without some sort of tool, we were screwed.

"We're stuck," I said to Jasmine.

Just as I was about to start banging on the thick, probably sound-proof door and yell for help, Jasmine pulled her Swiss Army knife out of her day pack. I didn't even know she had brought it with her.

"I'll get us out, " she said confidently as she sprung out the tool she needed, stuck it in the knob hole, turned it and opened the door.


I guess there's a time when a parent sees that their kid has grown into a capable individual - and perhaps cooler and smarter than they are - but I have to admit I never expected this to happen in a stinky public restroom near the Sahara.

And she helped me remember something I already knew: carry a Swiss Army knife because, like dental floss and duct tape, it can fix things, save you or even impress your mom.


  1. Great story and I'll remember the Swiss Army knife! I was once stuck for a full 20 minutes in a restaurant bathroom that was on a deserted lower level of the building. I banged and shouted, but no one heard me because they thought it was the construction going on nearby. My husband finally sent someone to look for me. After 20 minutes! He won't wait this long next time ;)
    (Sorry,I can't sign in with my own name and url, and the link at the top is a re-direct from my old blog.)

  2. Haha actually I got stuck in my own bathroom once (without my Swiss Army knife - I don't bring it EVERYWHERE)when the knob fell off. My husband was downstairs so I banged on doors, yelled and eventually even set of the smoke alarm. Still, it took him about half an hour.
    "I couldn't figure out what you were doing," he said. "I thought you were hanging pictures or something."

  3. Really a nice photo, thanks. CMTravelAnd

  4. Nice photos i love them really and i would be hare again as i get more time. heathrow airport parking



Related Posts with Thumbnails