I am currently in northern Thailand and I have a problem. I am afraid to take a shit in the Thai toilets and my girlfriend is mad because of my skids.....
Someone please give me advice!!
Ummm...get over it? There's nothing wrong with Thai toilets.
Is this a joke?
#3 Dazzla has been a member since 17/10/2007. Posts: 1
What is wrong with Thai Toilets? Are you not a man? I thought guys could do their business anywhere!!! Even a hole in the ground is better than shitting yourself. Maybe depends (the adult diaper) is in your future!
#5 KRStamm has been a member since 10/9/2007. Posts: 38
Squat toilets might take some time getting used to but I totally agree with CunningMcFar!
#7 MJS has been a member since 27/10/2006. Posts: 19
I don't agree....How can I read the paper if the toilet is on the floor? Plus I do now know how to make the shit sink, it just sticks to the side.
I have a mobile, could someone call me to talk me through it?????
1) if you can't handle it, pay extra to stay somewhere with a western toilet.
2) if there isn't one in the area (ie. very rural places), then don't go there. you obviously aren't mentally equipped for life outside of a big city hotel.
3) you're girlfriend sounds like she needs to purchase less handbags and more perspective.
4) why don't you complete your sh*t in the toilet, and read the paper elsewhere? toilets weren't created to allow book stands and drink holders.
#9 Yun has been a member since 18/8/2007. Posts: 25
#12 celliersm has been a member since 24/10/2007. Posts: 1
I just dont understand them. Cant you just use the ass sprayer to fill the hole, or are u only supposed to scoop water out of that bucket? Also, is it okay to piss in that bucket instead?
Thanks to everyone for their help regarding this personal matter.
I still don't know if you're serious or not. But I'll pretend you are: I personally don't use the "ass sprayer" as an ass sprayer but I use it to flush. Why would you piss in the bucket? Instead of in the toilet?
#14 MJS has been a member since 27/10/2006. Posts: 19
The toilets are fine - I think you should realise it is you that has the problem, OP
#18 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560
this is the funniest thread on Travelfish i can ever remember. learning to use the asian-style toilets is one of the oddest and most memorable things for almost any new traveller to the region.
what this thread didn't include are the hilarious comments from people like my thai friends on getting used to the western-style sit-down accommodation. plus, i remember when the western toilets were first getting popular in thailand, you'd still see a sign above the toilet showing a person standing on it with an X through the drawing.
An amusing post.Nothing wrong with Thai conveniencies.I always carry some toilet paper in my wallet as you never know when it may be required.Has anyone ever been to the restaurant just outside Mae Sot[can't remember the name]that would have to have the cleanest toilets I've ever seen in Thailand?
A friend of mine always complained that no matter how she positioned herself on squat toilets, she always ended up getting her shoes and pants wet -- turned out she was squatting on them backwards...
#21 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,652
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So after the bum gun do u just walk around with a wet ass? Or use toilet paper that will break up?
When you use a squat toilet, do you face the door or the wall?
Dont get me wrong, the bum gun is nice. Lets face it, our system is flawed. Even when you wipe with TP, you don't get 100%. If you don't get enough fiber especially, you know a lot of it is left behind causing skids, irritation, odor, itching, etc. I love the ass sprayer. Usually I require like 10 wipes or more, this really makes my dump easier. I just don't know how to use it without walking around in wet skiddy drawers.
Have to agree with CunningMcFar. Using squat toilets was a whole new experience and one of the more interesting parts of my trip. And as to your question about whether it is OK to piss in the bucket, no it is not. That is not what it is put there for and other people will use it after you.
To make the shit sink, aim at the side of it that is closest to the tolet and use a round arm action. This should take only 3 scoops of water, maybe 2 as you get better.
And do not use toilet paper. If you throw it down the toilet it will clog it up. If you put it in a waste basket it will stink up the place. The only time you should use it(if you must) is for a quick dry after you have cleaned with the spray.
#26 mic59 has been a member since 30/7/2008. Posts: 107
It may bring some relief to know that what you describe is an accepted medical conditions called parcopresis, and is usually treated with cognitive behaviour therapy and hypnosis. You say your in the North. Chiangmai has excellent facilities at Suan Prung Hospital for treating this not uncommon problem. Take comfort that you do not suffer alone! You have taken the first brave step in writing so openly about your condition, now is the time to talk openly and honestly to a doctor.
#27 thaiyaikit has been a member since 20/9/2008. Posts: 32
I know about parcopresis and don't have that. I could shit in the center of a crowded mall while people watched and not have a problem...so long as there was a regular toilet that I could use.
Just not knowing which way to face on the squatter is the problem, along with a few minor ones like not knowing where to put my beer and ashtray while I do my business.
I tried to spray off then use the TP to dry and it just broke up everywhere. Sigh...
mattocmd, sorry, but you piss in the bucket? What kind of reprobate are you? I would have though it was obvious that the bucket was for filling up your water bottle.
The worst squat toilet I ever saw was in India, on a train. The hole had been blocked, and, as the floor became awash with turds and slosh, people had placed bricks on the floor so you could walk out and squat atop this swaying, sloshing mass of crap. I was gobsmacked that people were still using it. The stench was absolutely unfathomable.
Surely the next step in this discussion is pictures...
#30 samuel99 has been a member since 13/2/2009. Posts: 3
I must admit that I'm not a huge fan of squat toilets either. If possible I avoid them.
The issue for me is that I'm not that agile and have a hard time keeping the balance (also without beer). Then I usually try to adhere to the wall but it gets difficult when it comes to cleaning...
Btw, @Thaiman. I think the restaurant you mean is Khao Mao Khao Fang. Indeed an amazing place with clean toilets. Anybody who goes to Mae Sot should pay a visit. It's a bit pricey though.
#31 Khwai has been a member since 8/12/2008. Posts: 4
Wash your arse with the bum gun and dry with tissue - DON"T put tissues in the drain as they will fuck up the drains or septic tank.
If you wash your arse with the gun then you won't leave smelly tissues in the bins!
#32 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560
hey, i thought you quit smoking? anyway, the trick for you and Khwai is to have a beer in each hand. that way you can easily keep your balance while you are squatting. try it.
You did start this discussion by stating you were "afraid to take a s***" so the diagnosis of parcopresis cannot be swept aside with gay abandon. Perhaps you are in a state of denial. The doctors at the Suan Prung Hospital (which, of course, is the looney bin in Chiangmai) should be able sort you out. How would you describe your childhood? Did you ever pee your pants? What did you think about at the time? Did your mother ever walk into your bedroom whilst you were engaged in satisfying yourself in a sexual manner?
#35 davidjones1952 has been a member since 13/11/2008. Posts: 10
davidjones did give solid recommendations about visiting chiang mai however, particularly wat umong. not so ironically, the public toilets there are also thai style.
Mattocmd - has someone touched nerve?
#38 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560
Man tourists crack me up... This is too funny.
Look kid, squat down, take a dump, spray your ass (it will dry off in a minute, trust me) and scoop water out of the cistern or bucket to flush it away. This ain't rocket science.
As matto 1st posted in 2007, I'm thinking he'd be really constipated by now. Maybe he 'held off' till he found western.
Anyway, matto, in case it's an ongoing 'problem', go buy a pack of suppositories. You won't be worrying about what sort of dunny then!!!
My 'problem' is whether to take the pants & undies off in case...
Mmmm!! never sure on that.
Inadvertantly, matto may be doing himself an injustice.
I was researching the topic 'diverticular disease' (as you do), when on wiki appears the following comment...
"Dr. Denis Burkitt(1911-1993), who was the main proponent of the fiber theory, also believed that the use of the unnatural sitting posture for defecation is a major contributing factor in diverticulosis."
It appears the discussion ought be between 'squat' and 'unnatural sitting position' - not 'western'!
Still can't decide about the trousers-n-undies...
So if you got caught short without access to a toilet you'd assume a 90 degree angle to take a dump Madmac?
Squat toilets rock. They are in harmony with human anatomy, keep old people's knees from seizing up, great thigh exercise. They are more hygienic as you never have to sit on a toilet seat that some man with bad aim or a prostate problem might have pissed on. Washing is cleaner than wiping and not using toilet paper helps save the world's forests and reduce global pollution.
Actually the best toilets are in Japan and some places in Korea. I found one with a seat warmer and it automatically sprays warm water up your butt when you press the button. Has everything I need except a beer holder!
SBE I don't think they are more hygienic because usually places with a squat toilet are filthy! What if you reach down for your beer while you are dumping and you fall over?!?! Not to mention you have to put the newspaper on the ground while your spray your butt off!
"So if you got caught short without access to a toilet you'd assume a 90 degree angle to take a dump Madmac?"
You mean like when I was doing long range patrols in the Ogaden? Yeah, then you're stuck squating. But your body does not like it.
"Squat toilets rock."
Too each his own.
"They are in harmony with human anatomy, keep old people's knees from seizing up, great thigh exercise."
My Thai mother in law would be inclined to disagree with you. I just had to replace her squater because nature is giving her knees a hard time.
"They are more hygienic as you never have to sit on a toilet seat that some man with bad aim or a prostate problem might have pissed on."
This is a joke right? Where you have squaters, you have filth. It's axiomatic.
"Washing is cleaner than wiping and not using toilet paper helps save the world's forests and reduce global pollution."
Here I agree. I prefer washing and minizing on the use of paper. But you can have a sprayer and a sit toilet - I do in my own home.
we have a fancy Japanese Toto S300 Washlet here in our house, love it, although we do not use any of the heat functions as that just seems indulgent and wasteful, and we live in California where the climate is relatively mild. but proud to no longer be consumers of TP, at least at home, talk about wasteful and unhygienic...
I got slagged off on TT the other day for suggesting that it is a social faux pas to put stained brown toilet paper in the bin because some poor sod has to empty the bins. I never see sh*tty toilet paper in bins in toilets only used by Asian people, just in places used by western tourists.
Asians, if they use TP, seem to use it to dry after washing.
I spend about 6 months a year in SE Asia. And I do travel off the beaten track quite a bit.
I think you live in Issan? What are the bar toilets like round where you live? Just curious because when I worked at Mahidol and Mahasarakham universities I didn't see any, nor have I ever seen sh*tty toilet paper in the bins in people's houses anywhere in SE Asia.
I could be mistaken but I got the impression it just wasn't done.
"I think you live in Issan?"
Yes, I live in Mukdahan.
"What are the bar toilets like round where you live? Just curious because when I worked at Mahidol and Mahasarakham universities I didn't see any, nor have I ever seen sh*tty toilet paper in the bins in people's houses anywhere in SE Asia."
Strange, I see it all the time in bar toilets. They're generally filthy. Bathrooms (soo ka in particular) are just not a thing southeast Asians do real well. I've heard the same is true of India, but to be fair I have never been there. Africa is even worse!
"I could be mistaken but I got the impression it just wasn't done."
It's done here. I don't know why, because the paper, contrary to legend, does not clog up the septic tank or pipes unless you are getting carried away in your usage. (just like it doesn't clog the pipes back home - which are usually the same diameter). I think it's just the done thing.
We put the toilet paper down the toilet in my home and it doesnt' clog anything.
"We put the toilet paper down the toilet in my home and it doesnt' clog anything."
So why all the notices in Thai toilets (in English) telling people not to put toilet paper into them? I remember a post on TT about a year ago by someone complaining about backpackers constantly blocking the loos of his place with toilet paper.
PS Agree that Africa is worse...NOTHING is as bad as a rural Ethiopian toilet!
"So why all the notices in Thai toilets (in English) telling people not to put toilet paper into them? I remember a post on TT about a year ago by someone complaining about backpackers constantly blocking the loos of his place with toilet paper."
Like back home, I suspect the reason is because women put tampons down them, and they DO clog things up. All I know is I have lived in this building two years and no probem.
"PS Agree that Africa is worse...NOTHING is as bad as a rural Ethiopian toilet!"
Rural Ethiopia!!! You have to be kidding me? I used to live in the Ogaden - how about you?
You must be a young slip of a thing Madmac! I was there in 1973/74, a wide eyed gap year volunteer (I was too young to get into uni so I had to pass the time somehow). Saw what famine and cholera really smelt like. Then Haile Selassie got overthrown and all hell broke out with people getting bits of anatomy cut off outside my front door and bullets coming through the windows regularly. Life changing year out but I do remember some really awful toilets. Squelching through godknowswhat in the dark in flipflops to a hole in the ground. And water was so scarce that you had to buy a bottle of whisky to get a bottle of water ...so we cleaned our feet with whisky.
I know the feeling Madmac. Actually on my last trip I got directed down a muddy track to a river when I asked if I could use the restroom. (Indonesia not Thailand)
Somtam ... PMs. Please can you roll out of your hammock in the sun and press whatever button is needed. This guy obviously knows Ethiopia and I've been toying with the idea of going back for years but it's off topic on this forum!
No PM function yet, so you'll have to continue your dunny-banter in public I'm afraid -- which is fine by me as it is quite amusing.
For me it's a showdown between Istanbul's long distance bus station and a carriage toilet on a train in India.
The former looked like they taken sandblasting equipment into the room, but filled the machine with something other than sand -- there was crap everywhere -- including on the roof.
The India one was a sqaut loo, but the hole was blocked. Despite this, people kept using it (there were a trail of bricks to stand on). The end result was around three inches of "matter" gently sloshing with the motion of the train. I've never, ever, seen anything like it.
Other stories? do share.
#64 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,652
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I still can't decide about the trousers-n-undies problem...
Do I remove in case I shoot/squirt the wrong way, or do I leave on and learn the 'posture'?
Still haven't seen any comments...
Still waiting for advice.
There's no cheers, here.
Agony uncle in waiting.
Leave in place, tight around the knees. Most toilets are so filthy risking your pants falling onto the ground is... well bad. The trick is keeping one hand balancing against a wall, one holding your pants around your knees and then using that same hand to wipe your ass. It's all a little bit of a balancing act - which is why squat toilets suck.
Well I just get nekkid....easier to balance so you don't have to touch the walls, and no risk embarrassing damp marks (or worse) on clothes. There's usually a hook or some means of hanging up stuff while you do the business.
Gets easier with practice Bruce. ;-)
If I have the choice between a western style toilet and a squat toilet at a bus stop of something, I usually chose the latter...seriously!
mattocmd it's been two years! have you gone yet?
this topic is trully cult
#71 xontros has been a member since 3/5/2009. Posts: 19
I must tell you all about the only time I ever used a squat toilet. I was in Tokyo, and we'd gone to eat at some restaurant a good 20 minutes or so, via the subway, from our hostel. It was one of those places where you have a grill in front of you and they bring out all the ingredients for a big omelet/pancake thing.
It was rather greasy, and as we headed back to the train, I realized I desperately needed to use the toilet. The thing is, it was the very last train. So, I ran to the restroom, swung the stall door open, only to find a...fucking squat toilet. Eyes wide with fear, I tried the next stall, only to find the same.
So, I went for it, as quickly as I could, completely convinced I was going to fall in or suffer some other horrible atrocity.
Once finished, I washed up and ran back to the platform. All my friends were standing their yelling "Come on!" and such. I got onto the platform just as the train doors opened, and through them just before they closed. It was truly a cinematic experience.
And yes, I created this account just to tell you all this little story.
#72 sacredchao has been a member since 12/6/2009. Posts: 10
Admittedly, it was pretty tasty. I'd skip the first one next time (though I couldn't possibly tell you which variety it was, which makes the point moot), as it was the greasiest. Or, maybe, I could just take an immodium beforehand, rather than afterward.
#76 sacredchao has been a member since 12/6/2009. Posts: 10
"If I have the choice between a western style toilet and a squat toilet at a bus stop of something, I usually chose the latter...seriously"
But do you bring toilet paper or use the ass spray gun?
I think you come in more contact by touching that thing than you do by sitting on a western style can.
Not to mention there is rarely good soap available afterwards.....I guess you just have to go prepared.
As for hands on walls.....
My 'worst' experience was in Xi'an. I had been to Banpo, and was visiting the Botanical Gardens when an extremely powerful message told me 'nature calling'.
From the map I could see the nearest loo was adjacent to the Fragrant Pond...
I didn't need to look, I could smell it and it aint what I'd call 'fragrant'.
In I rushed, only to find a large concrete rectangular floor area with a long trench from one end to the other. No doors, no walls, no privacy. And, in the middle of the room was a women holding a hose. She was dressed in a tattered typically Chinese) quasi uniform.
Is this what is meant by a squat? I thought, never having before encountered a 'formal' squat toilet.
I recoiled at the thought of having to squat over a concrete trench: on full view to all - but on this occasion 'ALL' happened to ALSO be the officious hose holding female.
Paranoia emerged Oh No, They CAN'T be serious!![/i, but then there was the rampaging bowel... Make up your mind, you're going to s**t yourself any second!!
With an extreme bowel pressure forcing the decision, I quickly tried to pull my long pants off, only to trip on one leg. Sh*t I exclaimed, and in that moment I knew that I had to take aim as best I could.
With pants still trailing one leg and draped across the damp concrete floor, I aimed ....Aaah, ... R-E-L-I-E-F.
But, then, having yet to even think about which pocket I had the toilet paper, the officious women made her move. Upstream she positioned herself, and with the hose now turned on as a huge torrent she blasted[/i what by now may have looked like shot graffiti on HER concrete floor.
My pants!!!! THEY"LL GET WET, I exclaimed. But, my words of English fell on deaf ears!!!
What a wet, sad sight departed that concrete chamber!
My first ever experience with a squat! And, the term Fragrant Pond will forever be remembered for different reasons.
Ha! Loved that one Bruce!
I must weigh in on this. My girlfriend and I were recently chatting about the different levels of bathrooms in Southeast Asia.
First, you have the best of the best... choice of western or squatter toilet, plenty of toilet paper - and - powerful ass sprayer, plus a sink with soap.
Then, there's the many "managable" levels... For example, western toilet with toilet paper only - or - squatter with ass sprayer only, plus a sink but probably no soap.
Next we have the "maybe we would be better off running back to the hotel" levels... Dirty squatter with no toilet paper and no ass sprayer. Only the little bucket of water to splash around with. A sink to wash up with perhaps makes it acceptable.
Finally, the worst of the worst... Squatter toilet. Smell enough to drown you. No paper. No sprayer. No soap. No sink. Here, it's good luck, or "no go."
Also thought I'd comment on how, in general, I've found Vietnam toilets to be a step above Thai ones. The reason? Soap seems to be more prevalent in Vietnam. That said, it's a wonder why when a bus full of Vietnamese people stops at a rest area, nearly all of them, including women, forego the toilets and pee outside.
This thread should be a sticky. Brilliant stuff, bet there's nothing else like it on the whole of the internet.
"But do you bring toilet paper or use the ass spray gun?"
I never bother bringing toilet paper and I mostly used scoops this last trip as most of the places I stayed had no running water.
I do prefer a nice bum spritzer when I can get one though, far superior cleansing action than bits of paper.
PS. Madmac, I did a few side trips to Ethiopian countryside and its loos when I could, but I lived in a place called Nazareth not the Ogaden. http://kingdomvisioninternational.blogspot.com/2007/11/nazareth-ethiopia.html
Seems to have grown into quite a big town now.
PS Sorry just seen that Ethiopia link is a bit god orientated, unintentional I assure you. Did a quick google for Nazareth and just saw a picture of a typical water hole which people used for EVERYTHING. Lots of cholera and typhoid when I was there, not surprisingly. I remember trying to convince people that there are these wee invisible bugs that cause diseases and you need to boil drinking water and wash hands in clean water after shitting. They thought I was insane...everyone knows not keeping windows hermetically shut on buses is what makes people sick. ;-)
Another funny thing about Thailand is Thais will talk about shitting like it's just normal conversation. Friend will come out of the latrine and another friend will ask "You shit OK?" like that's just a normal thing to ask someone - which here it apparently is.
Bruce - it was a very passionate story....I laughed and I cried...
I love how "ass sprayer" became such an acceptable term!
My only advice is just to get your daily allowance of fiber to keep things easy and clean!
Ha, yes I love how it is a normal thing to talk about. I once read a story (in the book Phra Farang) of a Thai monk who was invited to give a talk to a group of nuns in England.
He was explaining suffering, and said,
"Birth is suffering. Death is suffering. Aging is suffering. Sickness is suffering. Taking a shit is suffering."
The nuns were appalled, but it's business as usual in Thailand.
First time I used the ass sprayer I made the rookie mistake of pointing it vertical. Couldn't shit or walk right for a fortnight. Should have checked the pressure first.
#87 humpdawg has been a member since 18/5/2009. Posts: 40
Found this amusing article: Ten Toilets You’ll Meet on Your Travels (and how to cope with them)
Good God! My first trip to SE Asia and now I'm having nightmares about getting my ass hosed Brucemoon style!
I still don't understand, let me get this right. I take a shit and then hose my ass. Is the water clean?
But now it appears that someone else might be hosing my ass from a distance! Doesn't this simply cover me in shit and piss? I'm worried about the kickback. I don't want to be covered in shit, especially someone elses. Mine on the other hand smells of roses. That may be somewhat more acceptable but still, I'd rather not have this happen.
Someone put my mind at rest, I'm not gonna emerge from the bathroom, drenched head to toe in urine or worse,...am I?
I didn't think China was on your radar.
- - - - -
Another story from my trav-ails in China...
The China Rail soft sleeper car is often located next to the buffet (or food/drink) car. Clearly, Chinese people on hard benches don't need to be 'exposed' to fat westerners flopping along carriages (just wouldn't be right, would it?).
And, just for the western traveller, the toilets on the soft sleeper cars are western (again, fat westerners may not be willing [oops, able] to enjoy a squat on a train).
And, to ensure that the high fare paying westerners in soft sleeper 'class' are not exposed to others' anal ills, there is also an attendant 'on duty' in a room immediately opposite. It is also her (always a her) task to ensure Chinese travellers from 'lesser' class carriages don't hang around in the soft sleeper class corridors.
But, the (relatively) affluent Chinese is more likely to use the buffet car after 10pm than the westerner.
And, just like a westerner, when a (relatively) affluent Chinese gets drunk, he needs to take a leak.
This causes anxiety to the attendant. As the aim of a drunk person standing in front of a western toilet on any train will be erratic, the attendant knows it will be she who must clean the smelly mess.
Her resolve? Simple, lock the toilet!!!
For the daytime travelling westerner, a polite knock on the attendant's door will have the said cubicle unlocked in a flash. But, at 4am the said attendant is often in 'another world'. For the grey haired westerner with an age related bladder, this is extremely disconcerting (to say the least).
After what appeared like 5 minutes of knocking, and no reaction, one westerner was definitely NOT going on a journey to find a squat.
Rather, he resolved the problem there and then.
On the attendant's door there is an air vent: a large rectangular grill with lourvre's facing downwards.
"Ah, a solution" he thought with a devillish joy, and promptly took aim.
With a progressively increasingly flow, the relief of the night filled balloon was quickly punctured when the door suddenly flew open and there stood an angry female attendant yelling abuse.
While the shock of the situation caused an immediate mid-stream halt, he knew no Chinese, and with a pain only a male knows, promptly let the trickle resume only to see it splash over her feet.
The door slammed closed!
Thereafter, there was no locked western toilet door.
"Brucemoon, nope, no China for me. So you're saying I do the hosing myself in Thailand - cool, I can handle that, but not a stranger giving my ass a clean."
BUT, before we speak too soon, if you go into a urinal in some clubs (which Bruce doesn't go to - he doesn't like clubs) there is often a masseuse (a man) and he'll start rubbing your shoulders while you're taking a piss!!! I kid you not. Now when I go in I look for the masseuse and always tell him "Mai Neued bei Sooka" and then I get my massage while washing my hands. They do expect a tip, but thye're strong, I always get a good little massage - I know it's weird, but I kind of like it.
Not all toilets are created equal. This simple yet integral revelation should be the first thing anyone tells you before travelling to Asia. As strange as it no doubt sounds, I have been pondering the peccadillos of oriental lavatories for years and consider myself something of a rogue expert on the matter, which I realise is a somewhat dubious calling.
This fascination with freakish and fanciful chamber pots, was prompted by my first fateful encounter with the wondrously high-tech commodes of Japan, which can be frightfully complicated for the uninitiated, almost requiring a drivers license to operate whilst sober, let alone under any form of alcoholic influence.
Curiosity can be a dangerous thing when tampering with devices in foreign countries, my advice, don’t push the button unless you know what its for, otherwise you may find yourself having to explain exactly why the front of your shirt or even worse, your face is drenched in toilet water and I do not mean eau d’ toilet. High power projectile hoses are best left to the experts.
The Japs do seem to be innately fond of bottom-washing paraphernalia and even have a portable version coined the ‘washlet’ for all those occasions when a good rear-end cleansing is suddenly called for. I am still wondering when that might be but it makes a great party trick.
Since conquering the mighty Japanese throne, the many wierd, wacky and downright nasty versions found throughout the region have captured my imagination and at times left me dazed and confused as to how to proceed when no familiar tools were to be found.
Every country has their own unique take on ablution facilities so lets take a look at some of the common equipment that can be found throughout the Pan-Asian region.
Lets begin with the most popular variety, the squat hole. Seemingly healthy for the motions but not so good for untrained knees and thigh muscles, these dainty floor-bound orifices are a challenge for many a traveller. Most often found in public toilets, train stations, cheaper restaurants and guest houses, the squat holes pose a precarious problem for the not so agile among us, as locked knees can sometimes give way in the struggle to maintain balance.
Another not so hidden hazard is the ever present puddles of water and other questionable liquids awash on either side of the said potty; carefree flip flops, sandals and open toe shoes leave fully anointed in the toils of the previous occupants labour. Hiking boots are advised.
Some squatters are even raised on a pedestal, a kind of royal dais in honour of this most sacred receptacle. These wily water closets present yet another obstacle to unwitting adventurers, who can very literally fall from grace after slipping off the sodden stage. Patrons used to using this variety of loo can get very confused when faced with a western toilet arrangement, evidence of this can be seen in the form of dirty footprints adorning the toilet seat, I’m impressed by that kind of agility.
Along with the toilets themselves come a plethora of instruments to assist with the whole affair, most of us are familiar with toilet paper and many will have encountered the high power water hose that could blast the craters of the moon before you can achieve a good aim in the rear direction. The real mystery for plucky explorers is the requisite barrels of water accompanied by a smaller water scooper found in so many Asian nations.
Now over the years I have come to understand what basic ablutionary purpose these serve (there is a reason for the lack of paper in these places) but some others aren’t so privileged to get in on this before making some fatal mistake. A certain close acquaintance of mine was delighted to find this small vessel in the bathroom, believing it to be a shaving aid and was preparing to use to this end before I tactfully explained its purpose as a hand held bidet. Now that’s what I call a close shave!
As is the trend in many countries, there is a small charge for using the facilities under the guise of maintenance and cleaning, I prefer to call it the ‘pee fee’. One would presume that this indicates some kind of care for actually keeping the toilets clean, or at least vaguely useable. Alas this is not often the case and after dredging the contents of wallet and pockets for suitable change, inevitably errant when the urge is most dire, the best you can hope for is toilets that flush and doors that close and at least some kind of rubbish bin or water source. This is never a given.
In certain parts of Nepal and I have heard, India it comes down to hanging your behind over the edge of a precipice, especially on long bus journeys along treacherous and sparsely inhabited roads. I don’t know the statistics, but I am sure more than one unlucky backpacker has followed the call of nature all the way over the edge of the cliff, never to be seen again. Thankfully I managed to avoid this untimely fate by the administration of Imodium and practiced dehydration, although I certainly had brushes with some terrifying and downright degusting outhouses in the remote trekking areas. Some experiences just make you stronger.
Of course there is no avoiding these situations unless you are cosseted in five star resorts the entire time, and let’s face it the trials and tribulations of the road make much better stories! So brace yourself, go out into the world armed with wet tissues and waterless antiseptic soap and let your own journey of toilet discovery begin.
I pondered your use of the word pecadillo, as it comes from the latin to sin.
So, I began to wonder the background for your sentence "pondering the sins of oriental lavatories for years and consider myself something of a rogue expert on the matter" Mmmmm!!!
Maybe my post at #91, above, puts me into a similar category.
- - -
On the topic of pee fee, when in Malaysia a few years ago, my wife paid to enter and was so disgusted at the unclean state therein that she came out and demanded a full refund. Chuckling, I went to her aid. Likely the attendant had never encountered this, and with apparent shock, refused. As the said place was in a shopping centre, we asked to be directed to the Centre Management. We went, kicked up a fuss, and duly accompanied the Centre manager back to said place. The result was a circus. First, the attendant had to remove all females from the said place so that the Manager could inspect - that was hilarious, with lots of yelling sounds eminating from within, etc.[/i - and then the Manager entered, but while my wife was allowed to enter, I was not -I was male!!!! [/i. I learned that the Manager directed the attendant to clean one cubicle, which upon completion, my wife was directed to use. We discovered that Malay's do not appear to be supportive of the idea of a refund.
We can only assume there was, for a brief moment in time, one clean cubicle in that shopping centre.
Do others have experiences such as I've detailed here, or at #78 or #91, above?
If you do, I, for one, would love to read about them.
Haha, yes think I used a bit of wayward creative license with 'peccadillo' but in a strange way I think it is still appropriate.
Sounds like you have had many adventures when it comes to the topic Brucemoon, love your pee fee story - the lengths we have to go to, to 'go' in comfort!
Now I am working at an English school in Korea. While we have about 150-200 students throughout the day, we have only one bathroom. The bathroom has only a stall and a urinal. The bathroom door can't be shut so we all use the one stall. It is gross!!!!
Plus they use a rag to dry the hands. It used to be purple but now has a brownish color. Also they use bars of soap and I suspect it is made out of plastic because it never gets smaller.
The Koreans seem to get sick often and don't understand that if they kept a clean bathroom and encouraged the children to wash their hands, and do so properly, that maybe they wouldn't get sick as much!
Concerning the water vs paper issue, one guy (westerner but lived in Cambodia for some years) put it this way:
"If you got **** in your hair - what are you going to do? Wipe it with paper or wash it with water?"
#98 hokasch has been a member since 24/12/2008. Posts: 45
If you're talking facial hair... I do not even want to know...
It was his reply to my concerns about "cleanliness" when using water instead of paper. Kind of convinced me.
#100 hokasch has been a member since 24/12/2008. Posts: 45
I think he was talking about butt hair and he makes a lot of sense.
I never used those sprayers until recently and they do make a big difference.
Trust me, use them for your wife/girlfriend's sake!
THis has got to make Travelfish the most "anal" travel site on the net!
#102 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560
I've always wondered where to place this story - so here goes!
The one thing no one has ever had the nerve to write aboutwhen traveling in Thailandis the problem of using their toilets. I feel the need to flush this issue out once and for all.
Just to give you a bit of a background, in Thailand, you cannot put toilet paper in the toilets – otherwise they will get blocked. When you have finished your business, you put the paper in a basket which is usually located beside the toilet. That’s if toilet paper is there in the first place! In the better hotels you flush the toilet as you do in the west. In the not so good hotels/guesthouses they supply water and a scoop. You are required to scoop the water into the toilet then flush it. Now these are the easy western type toilets that don’t require too much brain power to use, that I am speaking about.
To be fair the Thai people seem to suffer the same predicament with western type toilets as I did with the squat toilets, as I often found foot marks on the toilet seats. I can’t imagine the logistics around that, but I hope they didn’t break a leg getting on and off or have the same disastrous first time experience that I had with one of their squat toilets.
My first try with a squat toilet was a dismal failure. I squatted over the toilet best I could, not too high and not too low, aiming for the water, hoping that it wouldn’t splashback at me. Holding my knickers and trousers forward, I let go and missed the target…. eeeeewww!! It’s very difficult to aim straight when you are trying to squat and not slip on the slippery and often wet launch pad. Perhaps I was standing the wrong way round – who knows??
After 3 months in Thailand of using squat toilets, I am still unable to tell you how it all works. I always carried my own wet and dry tissues with me everywhere, I was never without them. There is almost never any toilet paper supplied in the squat toilets and no where to put the used toilet paper if you had some on you. I have yet to ascertain how the Thai’s clean their bums before pulling up their dats! Do they use the same water to wipe their bums as well as to flush the toilet? If they use their hands then I don’t even want to go there as most places didn’t have a separate place to wash your hands. Perhaps it’s just as well they put their hands together and bow to greet each other, rather than shake hands like we westerners do!
At some public toilets you could buy a sheet of toilet paperfor 3 baht. Yes that’s right, a sheet! Maybe it’s ok if you have a good solid poo, but what about those runny or sticky ones or is it just us westerners that suffer from those? Perhaps it was just to wipe their hands after washing, who knows???
Now imagine this…. squatting over a squat toilet, trying to aim straight, holding my pants off the very wet floor and away from the firing line, trying to stop myself from slipping on the very wet ceramic foot pads, swatting mosquito’s – I tell you I could have given Houdini a run for his money!!
Wow, most of this is from years ago but I'm heading there Sept 21, 2011 and this page just freaked me out! I didn't even think about how I was going to crap when I got there, now I guess I've got a heads up and I can prepare...
I'm still not sure how the bucket and bum gun are supposed to work and I'm really hoping I guess right on how exactly to squat on this mofo - face door? face wall? bring bran muffins regardless. Thanks everybody! Wish me luck
#104 Fuzzyboan has been a member since 8/9/2011. Posts: 1