To pee or not to pee. During San Fermin, that is the question.
At least it is for women. Guys have it easy, nearly any spot will do, and the aroma of "Eau de Ammoniac", as The Professor likes to call it, is everywhere these days. It's bad enough when dogs do it, but when you add a horde of drunken people who think the city is nothing more than one giant urinal, it can get pretty whiffy around here. But there's a whole lot of drinking going on, and those that drink must pee.
So, the city gets "watered" by male tourists from around the world, but we girls have to wait in seemingly endless lines. Bathrooms are in short supply when there are so many people around, even though they are temporarily declared unisex to accommodate the extra female traffic, and the lines to use them are as long as those you might find for the most popular ride at Disneyland on a busy day. And woe to anyone who doesn't come prepared with a packet of Kleenex, because you can be sure there will be no paper left by the time you get there.
But times are changing. It looks like women are taking a stand, or rather a squat, on the issue. The other day, The Professor and I went to the fireworks, and within half an hour's time we saw two girls, from two separate groups, peeing in the street. First time I've ever seen that happen here, and I've been to quite a few San Fermines, and I've seen some pretty outrageous things. And they didn't even bother to look for a lonely corner somewhere (probably because there are no lonely corners anywhere to be found during San Fermin). No, they just dropped their pants, squatted down near the curb, and let nature take its course. So much for modesty. I guess if you're desperate enough, and probably drunk enough, you stop caring who sees your junk. What cracks me up is that in both cases, they had a friend stand behind them to "hide" them from the crowd. Like that's going to make a difference when you're surrounded by people everywhere. That's like an ostrich thinking it's invisible just because it sticks its head in the ground...sorry girls, but we can still see you.
Those girls sure could have used one of these nifty little items. Just leave it to the Japanese to come up with a toilet in a bag. Maybe I should set up a stand next year and sell these. They might just catch on, and they would save a lot of people from public embarrassment.
Or maybe not.
So, for lack of a better option, we're back to peeing in the street. Which at any other time of the year can get you into trouble. The local newspaper, El Diario de Navarra publishes a list with the initials of those who have been fined for public urination. At least they used to. I haven't bought it in quite some time, but The Professor and I got a kick out of it the first time we saw that. I don't know how effective it is, but I'm guessing that if your friends know what you did last night and they see your initials on that list, you'll never hear the end of it, and you might just think twice before trying it again. The problem with getting that list out during San Fermin is that it would probably add about twenty extra pages to the newspaper. Still, a fine might not be a bad idea. The city would probably make enough to cover all the expenses of the fiestas. But I'm pretty sure the police turn a blind eye during San Fermin, because it would be impossible deal with that many offenders.
Maybe they should just put up a sign saying that all those who are caught urinating in public will be made to run in front of the bulls the next morning. That might just scare them off. Oh wait. People actually do that for fun.
Okay, I'm out of ideas, so I guess we'll just have to put up with the city's new cologne for a few days each year.
Luckily, the clean up crews are excellent, and the city stays much cleaner than one would expect, so it's not as bad as I'm making it sound. And I can't blame people for taking the easy way out. Especially those that don't have a room and are sleeping in the street. If they actually went to a bathroom every time they wanted to pee, they'd spend most of the fiestas standing in line.
Still, I can't imagine just dropping my pants and taking a leak in the middle of the street. Sure, I've made use of a strategically located bush when camping, and once, when I was about nine, much to my dismay, a bucket was my salvation when we got stuck in a traffic jam on our way to the beach. But I don't think I could ever get drunk enough to go in the street, like those girls we saw. Maybe they're just better feminists than I am, after all, if guys do it, why not us?
Um, think I'll just pass on that one. Now, where did I put that Japanese port-a-potty again?