I will spare you photos of this…
As my secondary archetype leads me to explore the world, I find myself visiting A LOT of public toilets.
In Paris and Rome it was IMPOSSIBLE to find a public restroom. And coffee and wine (known diuretics) are THE beverages in small cafes that, guess what, don’t have bathrooms for the public. Therefore, people (or maybe just the small bladder folks like myself) find themselves scouring for a place to pee.
Now I am not a fan of McDonalds’s because of the food but let me tell you, it was GREAT for going to the potty. So here’s a hoot-n-hollar for good ‘ol Micky D’s. (Don’t worry. I made the man buy a bottle of water after the 3rd visit to show my appreciation.)
In London and Budapest you can put their equivalent of a quarter in the slot of what looks like a giant, round, port-o-potty of which then the door slides open and lets you in. Once biz is taken care of, you pray that it will let you out so you aren’t locked in forever. I was also grateful that someone else didn’t put in a quarter and find me with my panties down. Cleanliness? Well, that was left to the person that did their biz before you.
In Peru (I think it was Peru… my brain got a bit mixed up as to where I was here), you first have to pay someone at a small booth, and then can use the restroom. This was my favorite overseas system as there is also an attendant in the restroom that keeps it very clean. Heck, I will gladly pay more for a pleasant experience.
Dubai was easy peasy, especially in the newer section of the city. It is too frickin’ hot to be outside for most of the year so they build all their entertainment in shopping malls. Therefore, a public restroom is readily available at every corner… along with the prayer room. So you can pee, then go right next door to pray. I hope they have some good sound proof walls. Otherwise, I can see how bathroom sounds might be distracting.
In the old part of Dubai there are also public restrooms, but you will find yourself staring at a hole in the ground. You get a little plastic platform to put your feet, but you best have some good squatting muscles.
In your little potty hole booth you will find a spray hose to do something with. There is an attendant so maybe she uses it to wash after every use. Or maybe it’s the United Arab Emirates version of a bidet? I wasn’t too sure about this so I just went with the tissues I had in my bag and some hand sanitizer.
I can’t comment too much on the toilet situation in Turkey as we only had a few hours layover in the Istanbul airport. (Unfortunately, Turkey is not the safest for Americans right now so our plan to see the sights were thwarted.)
However, their airport toilets had a little fountain of water, continuously flowing in the toilet. If you sit too low, you might get a “tickle” and a bit wet in the nether-regions. I am not really sure what the purpose of this little spout was, but I am sure the Turkish people benefit in some way.
And there were a few times in Greece where I just chose to hold it, grateful that I was not experiencing an emergency at that moment.
So why am I talking about toilets? Because there is wisdom behind ALL experiences.
Here are a few things that my traveling toilet encounters have taught me.
- Expect the unexpected. Be OK with surprises. Otherwise, you might miss out on opportunities.
- Don’t judge. Just because it’s not “normal” to you, it doesn’t mean that a different way doesn’t work just as well.
- Be prepared. There is a reason for the quote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Something as simple as always having a tissue pack in your purse (or your gal’s purse), can make a HUGE difference.
- Be WILLING to be flexible. You can choose to be angry, frustrated, and stubborn, or you can go with the flow.
I would love to hear your unusual potty experiences. Feel free to shoot me a note!