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In search of purpose: A hole in the ground is worth more than rocks in the open

<photos: from left 1) hole in the ground toilet near Ölgii, Outer Mongolia 2) it takes two to poo - helping to keep the toilet doors closed 3) open air "on the rocks" toilet at Advanced Base Camp, Mount Khuiten>

You will gain immeasurable wisdom when you use the diverse range of local toilets in Mongolia. 

First, we have the common "hole in the ground" toilet that never fails to elicit shrieks of "omg!" from ladies (and some men) who peer into them for their first time.  These shrieks occasionally turn into screams of "OMG!!" when they accidentally drop their phones into the hole. Lesson learned - don't take selfies while balancing precariously over a bottomless pit. 

Second, not all "hole in the ground" toilets have doors and for good reason - no doors means better ventilation and fresher air. But when there are doors, you will soon realise that they don't have locks. And the doors are designed to be kept opened by default, once again for ventilation reasons.  Just like it takes two to tango, it also takes two to poo. Lesson learned - you need a friend who can help push to keep the door closed (and hold her breath) while you do your thing. And no, it's not possible to simultaneously hold the door closed yourself, do your thing and hold a pack of tissues all at the same time.  You will fall into the hole and join the phone. 

Third, when you encounter the more exotic open air "on the rocks" toilet, you will sorely miss (pun intended) the "hole in the ground". Doing your thing "on the rocks" is fraught with danger. Your delicate parts are exposed to frostbite, which isn't that bad when compared to the sharp rocks that come too near when you squat at the wrong angle.  You almost have to be a contortionist to enjoy being "on the rocks".  Lesson learned - We don't realise the value of what we have until it's too late. #alwaysbelieve

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"


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