James absolutely loves to tell this story. Every time we meet a new person and get onto the topic of travel disasters, this comes up. Keeping in mind this happened to me and not him and it was way back in 2012 – he always manages to get a laugh at my expense!
We had hired a motorbike from Kampot in southern Cambodia and were spending the day biking around and exploring caves. All was going swimmingly, the only negative thing that had happened was almost riding over a snake and it launching itself at us!
We arrived at Phnom Sorsia where there are a few caves located next to a little buddhist temple. One of the caves is called “White Elephant Cave” (part looks like an elephant) and the other is aptly named “The Bat Cave”. It was almost deserted with only 2 or 3 local people looking after the temple, and after a few minutes of wandering around aimlessly we were greeted by a man who became our guide. He took us up some seriously questionable stairs, onto a landing then into the first cave. It was actually quite a cool cave and we felt like little explorers – we even needed torches as some parts were so dark.
We then went across to the bat cave. We wandered into a funnel section of the cave in the dark and our guide told us to stay quiet and look up. What he was going to do is point the torch up to the bats and turn it on, that way they would wake up and start to fly around a bit. So he did, with both of us looking wide eyed, wide mouthed at the ceiling. “Oooh wow!” was followed by “erk” and a dry wretch, which was then followed by James absolutely wetting himself with laughter.
Yep, I had been shat on. On the face, millimeters from my mouth. I could smell it, I could feel it, and I was frozen still in fear that the runny brown muck would run into my mouth. James managed to pull himself together enough to wipe it off my face (thankfully smearing it away from my mouth) and while doing so, increased the diameter of the poop colored stain that was nicely ingraining itself in my skin. I will say that this whole time our guide had been doing a magnificent job of trying to hold himself together and not lose face, however he clearly also thought it was pretty damn funny! The worst part of the whole story is we never actually got a photo of my face. This was back in 2012 and we didn’t have phones and cameras on us at all times like we do now!
We managed to have a nice time for the remainder of the day, however as hard as I scrubbed that night to get the stain off my face, it would not come off. Safe to say 3 days and lots of scrubbing later I could finally attempt to forget about my bat encounter. I have also since been told about the long list of diseased bats carry and spread, lets just say I’m glad of that saying “ignorance is bliss” or my reaction would have been far more dramatic! It’s definitely left a traumatic marking on my memory – now whenever I got into a cave I always keep my head down and mouth closed, no matter what anyone says!