Friday, May 13, 2011

The Euro Bathroom Experience

One thing you notice when you first stay in Europe is that the bathrooms are different. Not just in size, which is generally smaller, but in style. They look hip and stylish, albeit smaller, with the showers tending to have the hand held head, which can be nice at times. The toilets also look and work differently. In fact, when I first encountered them, it took a few moments, at least it took me a few moments, to figure out how the things worked. The flush mechanisms are often on the wall behind the seat, and there are two settings, a low flush for #1 and a big flush for #2. There is usually less water in the bowl than what Americans are probably used to, leading to an interesting bathroom experience, to say the least. This also sometimes requires that additional flushing ensue after the deed is done.

This is nothing compared to the toilets you see in Asia, and I've seen in France, even Paris. They just have a hole in the ground, and for a guy doing a #1, it's no problem, but any situation that requires dropping your pants down puts you in a compromising position, to say the least. If you're not used to it, it will lead to a wealth of humorous anecdotes that you can share with your friends after the fact, though while you're in the midst of it, it's not the least bit amusing.

However, the one thing that I'm still not really used to is the fact that, in many places, including Athens and all of the Greek Islands, is that you cannot flush the paper down the toilet. It takes some getting used to. I remember in Costa Rica seeing this, but that was 20 years ago in a fairly undeveloped country in Latin America. I figured European countries would have it together by now, but it makes you realize that some of these cities are so crowded and the infrastructure is so old that they just can't handle toilet paper.

Either way, it's a bit odd at first when you toss the paper in the trash can, and kind of goes against all that you're used to in the States, but as they say in the old country, "C'est la vie."

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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