Things I’ll Never Understand…

I went to a public toilet yesterday. It was a nice toilet. Your typical Western style bowl – which is my preference – but there were two dirty big footprints on the seat. This is not an uncommon thing in Asia as squat toilets are still very much a part of life so some girls are obviously adapting, however every time I see the footprints it gives me a bit of a chuckle to imagine someone perched up high to do their business. I have been known to perch up high myself on occasion, but not in Singapore, only in places where the toilets are so filthy you don’t want any part of your body touching a thing. I’ll never forget a train ride back in Egypt in 1992 – it was putrid.

I could write a book on the toilets of the world (not that anyone would want to read it) as I have encountered every type and standard of toilet possible on my travels. From trenches in China with no walls, to filthy filthy cesspits in India, and a dirt hole in Egypt with a scorpion making a quick exit – I’ve pretty much seen it and “done it” in them all. You certainly lose your delicate nose quickly when travelling and I had an extremely delicate nose when I first started travelling.

But the thing I’ve never been able to work out is exactly how do you use a squat toilet and all the accoutrements that come with it? There’s usually a hose, a bucket, a mop and a broom. Rarely is there toilet paper.

The problem is I’m keen to learn, because it’s so much better for you to squat (bowel cancer rates are significantly lower in squat toilet using countries,) but it’s not like I can ask anyone. I mean, what do you say? Can you take me through the steps please and how do you do it and not come out soaked?

There’s a few gals I know I could ask (but haven’t had the guts) but what if demonstrations were required? I suppose it’s something you learn from your mum or your dad and after that, you just have to work it out for yourself and try not to get too soaked in the meantime huh?

All I’ve worked out so far is using a squat when wearing hiking boots versus stilettos is a very very different experience. Oh and always pack your own toilet paper.

Yours, without the bollocks

One Response

  1. I was in India in 2009 with someone who explained it to me. Apparently you take off your pants entirely, and place them on a hook (which is usually there, allegedly, as I've never had to encounter one of these). Then you are able to use both hands to negotiate the bucket or hose provided.

    It all sounds rather complicated to me, and I'm happy to take my chances with Western style toilets!

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