Oddly enough, we have wanted to broach this subject ever since our return to the States. One of the things about traveling to different parts of the world is dealing with various bathrooms and the attitudes towards them. Obviously, this is a topic that make some people uncomfortable, but there are times when it is good to know what to expect before you go rather than being surprised, or perhaps even startled, once you get there.
In the United States, restrooms are usually tucked away in obscure locations, not to be seen and the expectation is that they are clean and there is an element of privacy. When spending time in Europe, you learn to let a little of your modesty go. The water closets are not usually spacious and don’t be surprised if the door opens to a full view of the bathroom with no obstruction for the guests outside. Occasionally you will have unisex bathrooms with private stalls, but a single washroom area. Since they are often retrofitted into older buildings, they are often small and awkwardly laid out. There will also sometimes be a bathroom attendant who collects tips although they rarely actually keep the area clean.
That being said, the restrooms of Europe are nothing compared to those that you see when you travel to less modern parts of the world. Walking into a bathroom in India can lead you to the surprise that there is a hole in the ground and there is no toilet paper. There is a reason for the etiquette protocol that you don’t eat or shake hands with your left hand. We learned early on that we need to always carry tissues or a small roll of toilet paper with us when traveling places. In Bolivia, we stopped at place on our way to Lake Titicaca to use the restroom and were charged a dollar to once again for the use of a hole in the ground.
This week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is Bathrooms or Outhouses, which poses a bit of a challenge since we don’t usually take photos of bathrooms. We have, occasionally, taken some pictures at the hotels where we have stayed when the bathroom has been especially nice.