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Let’s Talk about Toilets for a Minute

Yesterday, Pizza in Motion tweeted a photo of a toilet seat that came equipped with sensors.

While I’m also not sure what the sensors are for, it brought to mind a recent conversation I had with a friend about travel and toilets.

We were talking about the different moments of culture shock we had when we were first traveling and we kept circling around the subject of toilets.  (Get it?  Circling ar… nevermind).

When I studied abroad in Russia, my luggage was lost on the way there.  So the only pants I had at first were the yoga pants I decided to travel in.

This seemed perfectly fine until I went into a public restroom and encountered a trough-shaped squat toilet.  I couldn’t figure out how to use it at all without completely de-pantsing myself and I was stuck like this for two days until my skirts and dresses arrived.  As you get used to that sort of thing, you, uh, get better at it.  But I definitely was not expecting to see that when I arrived.

Reporters in Sochi were shocked by the toilets in Russia as well, but for different reasons. (While you are there, try the cake in the ass.  It’s great).

Then another time, I encountered a washlet toilet for the first time.  I used it late at night in my hotel room and freaked out for a moment when I felt the toilet was warm when I sat down.  I thought I had sat in someone else’s mis-tinkling.  It took using the toilet a few times before that “aaaghh!!!” instinct wore off.

I didn’t even attempt the control panel.  There is a great scene in the book the Elegance of the Hedgehog where one of the main characters decides to try a random button on the control panel, and well…

(I’ve learned my lesson from Indiana Jones)

Of course, my biggest case of culture shock was not realizing I’d have a toilet I could not physically sit on in a Manhattan hotel.

I will continue to use this photo to continue to make my mom proud of me.
I will continue to use this photo to continue to make my mom proud of me.

But toilets, being what they are, are a silly subject to recount “culture shock over”.  Have you had any experiences with not anticipating the abound you’d encounter?

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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One comment

  1. All I’m going to add to this is:
    – Toto Washlet on an ANA Boeing 787
    – 35,000ft
    – Odd noises from the toilets.

    Make up the rest of the story yourselves.

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