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Yes, I know, you are an expert on the use of toilets.  Have you used one the does not have a fixture? How about one that includes a hose attached to a cold water spout, but does not include toilet paper?  I thought not.  Perhaps you should read our article to find out the twist and turns that await you  in the....is it really called the water closet?

 

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Travel Advice/Travel Tips -  Toilets - What can there be to know?

In some rural areas of the world, you may discover that the door to the toilet leads to a small room with nothing more than a hole in the floor.

  • If you are lucky, there may be a set of concrete footpads. You likely will not have a fixture (something to sit on) or toilet paper.
  • Fancier settings may be equipped with a small hose, which is the substitute for toilet paper.
  • The hose discharge is usually cold and the water  pressure may be too high for comfort.
  • In other words,  always carry  a small packet of tissue  when traveling.

Other areas of the world may have modern plumbing, but there may be a charge to use the lavatory, or a charge for toilet paper that is doled out few sheets at a time by an attendant. This is one of the more important reasons that you should always carry change in the local currency (see our article about always carrying cash).

In many cases, the American practice of separate toilets for the sexes is not observed overseas.

  • If there are no specific stall designated for women and men, just stand in line and wait your turn
    • Always be prepared for the “seat-up" trick often practiced by your male friends.

Japan takes the cake for the most interesting toilets, as well at the title for the most electronically endowed fixtures.

  • It is common for toilets in exclusive Tokyo hotel rooms to feature such luxuries as a heated seat, hot air blow dryer (don’t ask), directed jets of warm water and other features too numerous to mention.
  • Read the instructions before you proceed on this adventure and operate the various controls only while seated
    • there is usually an instrument pad to the side of the toilet
  • I’ve been told the spray jets can reach a standing person, well, that's what a fellow traveler told me...

Various terms are used for lavatories around the world, and you should take the time to learn the local term for what Americans call the “restroom”. I still remember this episode from the first time I visited Paris.

"I was in one of the "Grande" department stores and needed to use their restroom. Realizing that the word restroom might not make sense, I asked the sales staff for the location of the "bathroom'. They sent me to the fifth floor of their building across the street.

Arriving in the new building, I looked around and still could not find the facility. I stopped a different group of store employees and once again asked for directions to the bathroom. They gestured to the area surrounding us.

I suddenly realized that I was surrounded by towels and shower curtains. Being somewhat under pressure I tried to explain that I did not want to buy things for a bathroom but needed to use one.

A group of four sales clerks, dressed to the nines, met in special session, gesturing wildly, and after three minutes, I heard someone exclaim "toilette". I shouted "Oui" and was soon on my way to the correct location."

So, know the local term, (loo, toilette, water closet, privy, latrine, etc.,) whatever it may be, to prevent any problems and to avoid looking and sounding like, well, a tourist.

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