Whoever you are, wherever you travel, at some point – everybody’s gotta go. Although until now my experience has been with western style flush toilets, I’m preparing for the day when nature calls and I am in the middle of a foreign city or driving through the countryside on the other side of the globe. What the heck do I do then? Well, like the girl scout I never was, I want to be prepared. And, wouldn’t you know it, there are a surprising number of websites that come up when you google “toilets around the world” that have some very helpful information. Here are a few interesting tidbits I found ~
Squat Toilets (also known as Turkish toilets) are pretty much a hole in the ground affair. They come in varying degrees of sophistication. Basically there is no sitting here, but there is a raised platform for your feet. A very good thing if you happen to be wearing sandals! These squat toilets are found throughout much of the world including China and other countries in Asia. They are also common in many European countries as well, particularly when you get outside of the big cities where there are upscale hotels and restaurants. I’m told these squats are actually much more hygienic that our standard American model. One word of caution (and I read this several times) – be careful when you flush – they spray water all over the place.
Public Toilets – many of which are pay toilets. In much of Europe these are space age boxes out on the sidewalk. They have automatic doors which open when you put in the correct change. Note to Self – Always carry change! You’ve only got 15 minutes so don’t dilly-dally. And do not even think about trying to jump in after another paying customer exits. The toilet folds into the wall and the place is gassed with spray cleaners and deodorizers. Then there is the hand washing – kind of like going through a car wash. First water comes out, then soapy water, then more water, and then the dryer – all from the same spout.
Many countries are not as hung up as we Americans on needing privacy while we pee. It is not uncommon to see unisex toilets, toilets with no doors and toilets that are open to your head and feet. This will take some getting used to. I must admit that, except for the cat who always pushes his way through the door when I’m in there, I think of going to the bathroom as a solitary endeavor.
And, finally, because this is a truly crazy world we live in, here are pictures of some most unusual and wonderfully whacky toilets. Makes you wonder about the minds of the folks who created them…
I’m not sure why all this creative energy seems to be focused on the urinals but that’s the way it was. If you figure that out, please let me know. And as my mother always said before we left the house – “Do you have to go?” “No? Well, maybe you should just try.” Thanks mom!