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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) (02/19/09)

TITLE: The Real Tour de France
By Dee Yoder


I consider myself a reasonably strong woman. I did my share of cardio work-outs that people claim make you healthy, so when I came on this tour to Paris, I had no reason to think otherwise about myself. However, eight hours into this journey, I am discovering what a weenie I am.

Is it the walking that did me in? No it is not the walking. The food: rich, butter-laden dishes with crème-filled sauces? The haughty attitude? No and no. It is the bathrooms or rather, the lack of them.

Our tour group had been on the road from Germany only a couple of hours before the first potty break came. I eagerly lined up with the rest of the women at the front of the tour bus, when a young boy came bouncing back on the bus chattering excitedly about the “little hole in the floor of the bathroom that all the stuff comes out of when you press the little button.”

OK. I promptly sat back down and thought, Well, I can wait a couple more hours.

The ride to France loomed longer than I’d anticipated, but I distracted myself by watching the scenery flash past. By the time we got to the border, I was having a difficult time even caring that my passport was going to be stamped with the official seal of France. “Let’s just get this over with and roll on to Paris,” I muttered under my breath. The elderly lady seated beside me glared as she handed her passport to the driver.

Finally, the City of Lights came into view. How exciting! Our hotel was now minutes away, and I was happily planning my path to the front. The driver parked the bus and stood up. I stood up, too, but his frown showed me I was out of order, so I perched on the edge of my seat with a sigh. He explained that he was going to see if the rooms were prepared. If not, we would be taking our tour of Paris first. My heart sank as my bladder protested. “Oh noooooo,” I moaned softly. “Please, let the rooms be clean.”

After several minutes, he loped out with a huge grin on his face. Ahh, I thought, we’re going to go in! Wrong. We had to come back in four hours. FOUR HOURS?! How in the world would I ever make it that long?

Not to worry…the good driver was taking us to the Champs Elysees for lunch. Whoop-de-do! There were bound to be restrooms along that famous avenue. Whew!

Do you know how many potholes there are on the old streets of Paris? I’m happy we only had to bounce in and out of about fifty of them before we finally reached our destination. The goal was in sight…I just had to maintain control a few minutes more. As my turn to leave the bus came, I looked ahead and saw that the line to the women’s bathroom was already snaking out the door. Rats!

I inched my way closer and closer to that golden portal. When I only had three ladies in front of me, the bus driver’s assistant began blowing her whistle and yelling in French-inspired English that we all had to return to “le autobus’ imed-jiately. Pliss!”. Turns out the restaurant was full; we had to find another cafeteria. I really thought I would pass out right then and there.

The stream of tourists turned me around with them and carried me, kicking and screaming, back to the wretched bus. By this time, I didn’t care where we were…Paris Smare-ish…just get me to a toidy!

Our driver decided to give us the long tour, and I saw so many fountains that I ached each time we passed one. Oh, the agony!

Finally, the crème de la crème: the Louvre Museum. But alas! I could not stop to see Ms. Mona nor any other famous work of art. I had to find a bathroom, and quickly!

At last…the universal code: Le Damen etched on a door! I dug out a few coins and threw them at the restroom attendant as I sprinted the last few feet to the goal line. Voila’! I’d made the grade...kept my focus...and emerged victorious!

Yes, Paris is a great city, but only the strong can conquer her potty-poor streets, and I was proud to be one of the few who had accomplished the task. Viva’ la France!

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This article has been read 871 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kelly Jacobsen02/26/09
Awe, that'b horrible finding no bathroom in a city like Paris! lol Ah! But so glad she finally found a "toidy".
nice job :)
Joanne Sher 02/27/09
love the voice, and what a fun entry. Excuse me, as I go use the restroom ;)
Mona Purvis02/27/09
What a fun read! I enjoyed every word. Well done!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/02/09
Your ability to set a scene, coupled with your delightful humor, brought me straight into your trip with you. Great fun!
Yvonne Blake 03/02/09
Giggle...I loved the part about all the fountains! Thanks for the warning, if I ever go to Paris.
Jan Ackerson 03/02/09
I went through very much the same thing in England last summer. I winced through reading this entire story--I was so uncomfortable for this poor woman! VERY well done! Eek.
Joshua Janoski03/02/09
This story filled my bladder with delight...At least I think it's delight that it's filled with. :)

Fun stuff! Thanks for sharing.
Norma-Anne Hough03/03/09
I can really identify with you on this one. I sat for a trip from Genoa to Milan on a bus feeling exactly like that. I should have gone before we left genoa, but bus was ready and husband was testy! Luckily I also made it! Fun read. Well done.
Carol Slider 03/03/09
Wow, this brings back memories of my trip to Europe! I also recall that there was a charge to use the bathrooms in many places in Europe, and when I got back to Kennedy airport, I walked into the restroom and said, "Ah, America, the land of the FREE!" Thank you for reminding us of a blessing we too often take for granted! :)
Diana Dart 03/04/09
Hilarious. So full of suspense (when I wasn't grinning at her agony) and travelling tidbits. Victory at the end - I was cheering!!
Gerald Shuler 03/04/09
At least she didn't have kids tagging along saying "I gotta go... I gotta go..."
Wonderful entry; exceptional humor.