Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ya me meo...

My Abuelo Canuto used to refer to the commode as his throne, but I can't remember if he called the bathroom his castle. Whatever you call it--restroom, loo, W.C., john, lavatory, powder room--I would have to say that in my travels the quality and consistency of this necessity have been varied.
In Mexico, during the Day of the Dead Celebrations, I faced the dreaded open pit --at least they had built a make shift building around it. In Morocco, while staying with a friend's family, I was introduced to the roof top squat toilet--a loo with a view. In Spain, I endlessly confronted the seatless flush toilet--no wonder it took our Landlord 6 months to finally replace the broken toilet seat in our flat. In France, I learned to not expect toilet paper. In Costa Rica, we had a doorless dunny. In Germany, I fumbled for change. In Italy, I dreaded the filthy bathrooms. And in the Netherlands, during the Queen's Day Celebrations, I was disappointed by the lack of facilities for women--there were plenty open portable urinals for the gents.
My experiences with this public convenience here in Australia have been very different. I am amazed that no matter where we go--from the rural outback to large cities, and from National Parks to neighborhood parks--there are alway clean public restrooms with plenty of toilet paper. The type of toilet varies--flush, chemical, pit, composting--but they are always free.
Of course, I understand the lack of public services in developing nations, but all developed countries stand to learn a lesson from Australia' s catering to a basic necessity.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post. Not just because it is funny, but because you remember my father, your grandfather. He, too, was a very funny man! I wondered, however, why you didn't mention the co-ed toilets in Europe. I remember the first time I stumbled upon on at the Picaso Museum in Paris. I did an about face and scurried out until it struck me: "Oh, it's one of those." I tried to appear non-chalant as I headed back to a stall, my face, I am sure, scarlet red!