Saturday, August 9, 2014

Toilet Adventures

Using the facilities can be an adventure in Euroland.  Firsts things first.  What do you call the facilities?  In the USA we say "restroom" or "bathroom".  In the South you might also hear it referred to as the "powder room."  Over here you will see it labeled as WC (water closet).  In the UK and Ireland it is called the "loo."  In most of Europe you call it the "toilet."

In the USA, we call the porcelain item a "toilet bowl" but we never say that "I'm going to the toilet."  To an American, saying that one is going to the toilet sounds vulgar.  For our sensitive ears it is much better to say that "I'm going to the restroom."  In Europe, no one has any qualms about letting you know they are going to the toilet.

In Euroland you normally have to pay to use the WC.  Some places are free such as in a restaurant, pub, movie theater, airport, office building, etc.  But almost everywhere else, like shopping malls, train or bus stations, public parks, etc., you will have to pay.  Normally the price is 10 Kč ($0.50).  There is usually an attendant who you pay the money to as you enter.

TP on the wall before you enter
All restrooms will have toilet paper.  It did throw me one time when I was at a school and there was no paper in the cabin.  There was a large dispenser on the wall and you had to tear off the amount needed prior to going in to the cabin.  

In every cabin you will find a toilet brush.  It is not there just for the attendant.  Use it.  It is really bad form to leave a commode with any visible trace that it had been used.

Occasionally in Czechland you will find a place with two prices, 5 Kč or 10 Kč, depending if you only need to stand or if you need to sit down.  If you pay to sit then you will be given a few sheets of toilet paper as you enter.

Paying for the loo seemed really dumb to me when I first moved here.  However now it just seems normal.  The fee isn't that expensive and public restrooms here are always very clean.  In my opinion it is well worth the 10 Kč.

It's also no big deal over here for a female attendant to go in to the men's room while it is in use.  This includes men's locker rooms at the gym.  Yes, it can be a bit distracting at first when the cleaning lady starts sweeping around your feet while you're standing at the urinal but you eventually get used to it.  The women are just doing their jobs.  Besides it's nothing they haven't seen before.

Most toilets in Europe are designed to conserve water so you will usually find two buttons.  A small button if you only need a small flush and a bigger button for when you need a larger flush.

Some toilets have a washout shelf
Most of the commodes here are similar to the ones in the USA.  Mainly that when you sit down, you are sitting over water.

Austrian shelf toilet
In Germany and Austria it is common for there to be a shelf in the bowl where "everything" lands.  This makes inspection much easier.  Don't ask me why.  When you flush the toilet "everything" on the shelf is washed away. 

Turkish squat toilet
In Turkey, parts of Greece, and parts of Italy, I've come across the squat toilet.  Sometimes they flush and sometimes there is a pitcher of water that you pour into after use.  These are not my favorite as it takes a bit of balance.

In some places, the plumbing may be frail so you can't flush the toilet paper.  In this case you have to put the used paper into a bin.

It's not a drinking fountain
Very rarely will you ever see a bidet in the USA but they are quite common in Europe.  For those that don't know, a bidet looks kind of like a toilet but it shoots up a stream of water from the base.  After you use the toilet, you then use the bidet to clean yourself.  This gets you cleaner than just using toilet paper and it saves paper but it can be tricky to use the first few times.
Shower/bidet combo

One hotel in Portugal had a combination shower & bidet.  I've never run across this again.

The douchette

In the UAE and Azerbaijan I came across the douchette which looks like a dish sprayer.  Sort of like a "bidet pistol".  This one must take practice to use and not hose down the entire room.

I guess this about covers everything.  I'm sure someone will leave a comment if I've missed something.

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