International toilets. I’ve experienced my fair share of toilets on the road back home and some abroad. They are a universal thing that everyone can relate to, no matter who you are. Toilets could be anything from a hole in the ground to a heated seat porcelain throne, but people gotta go. I personally have had a disproportionate number of jobs that require the use of port-a-johns for a college graduate, so I thought I’d share some of the toilets I’ve come across so far on this particular trip. I’ll update it along the way.
Of course, before I arrived I was terrified of the infamous “Squat Toilet” and unsure if I could learn to master it, or if it would result in a string of incredibly embarrassing ‘awkward wet clothes’ moments. Turns out that the toilets aren’t really that bad. Not so far at least.
First of all, is the one I’ve shared already. The home bathroom.
Not too bad. No sink, as mentioned before, but it flushes and is mostly a normal western toilet except for the Thai Toilet hose. Also like Thai Toilets, you aren’t supposed to flush the paper. It’ll clog.
Then there’s the work toilet:
Pretty much the same thing, not bad, clean. Water everywhere usually though. This is a non flushing toilet. The tub of water next to it is for flushing. You scoop water into the toilet bowl to make stuff go down. And the hose. This is probably one of the nicer ones at the school I teach in. Minus the director’s bathroom. No paper, though, so it’s BYOTP. At least it’s not the students bathroom, which I did use once. That is a straight up squatter and everything. Hopefully I’ll snag a photo of that one before I leave.
Next up, Bus Station Squatter/Flush Hybrid:
Out on our excursions around Thailand we came across some other public restrooms. The facilities at one Temple requested you change into their provided bathroom sandals before entering. In several of the larger public bathroom locations the line system is a little different. They don’t wait in one line and let the next person go in the first available, etc. They just go whenever they see one open. Or they’ll stand in wait behind one stall door. We were a little confused the first time we came across this and thought we got ditched by a gang of little old ladies.
On our elephant riding day trip I didn’t really expect to be able to go to the bathroom. But they actually did have a public facility! It was a little square cinder-block thing. As seen to the right. For us English speaking guests, they had a friendly note put up on the back wall, reminding us to flush after use.
This one was a full on squatter. This is the kind I was afraid of meeting. It took me a few weeks to actually find one. It really wasn’t as frightening as I thought it’d be.
I’ve learned the trick (I think) to the squatters. It’s more about how you squat. We, at least I, tended to believe that squatting entailed something like hovering like you do over the seat of a bar toilet. If you’ve ever noticed how a lot of people in Asia, or maybe just Thailand, sometimes sit, that’s more of the way to do it. The last time I had to use the ‘squatter’ I didn’t even have to hold onto the walls! I’m getting the hang of it. So next time I come across a hole in the floor at a rest-stop in Italy or a traditional Thai toilet, I won’t be phased. Unless it hasn’t been cleaned in weeks or someone had an accident in it…in which case I’ll go squat behind a tree.