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Surviving the International Public Toilet Scene

January 21st, 2011 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on Surviving the International Public Toilet Scene

Our purpose here is not to turn your stomach but prepare you, if you wander very far afield from the beaten track, for the fact that amenities like plumbing and toilet paper can disappear in the blink of an eye. Still, there are options besides holding it until you burst. No matter where in the world you are, consider the following

when in search of a decent international public toilet.

Restaurants: There are few restaurants in the world that don’t have running water and a restroom. They may not advertise the availability, and you shouldn’t whine if they expect you to buy something from the menu in return for the favor. Just keep in mind, when you’re in dire straits, head for a restaurant.

Public buildings: If there are no restaurants nearby, think libraries, museums, government offices, train stations. Maybe even a park if you’re really hard up, though, even in America, some park facilities are a mad dash and hold your breath.

Coin operated: Yep, believe it or not, cosmopolitan cities like London, Paris, and Amsterdam often have coin operated toilet booths on the street corner. Drop a coin, the door opens, and you have 15 minutes to conclude your transaction, all to the soothing sounds of Sinatra Muzak. And, yes, it self disinfects when you leave. Many European cities also have stand-up urinals with just enough privacy for the guys.

A last bit of advice. Finding the proper handle to flush the toilet in a foreign country can be an adventure in itself. Look for any knob or protuberance and twist, bend, squeeze, stomp, pull, push, or any combination of these until the water arrives. And don’t be surprised if you’re standing at a urinal in Europe and the cleaning lady waltzes in to sweep under your feet, etc. She’s not looking for cheap thrills. It’s her jobs. Get used to it, yankees.

Bet you didn’t even know there was an international public toilet scene.

The Jetsetter Team


Flickr / markhillary