September 2, 2010

Daily life: Numero Tre : Public Restrooms

When I was little, I used to put my parents through hell on road trips. I refused to go to the bathroom in public places because I thought it was too gross. This continued until a few years ago when I went to Kenya on a mission trip. In Kenya, it is normal to squat and go, in a hole in the ground. You have to get used to it, there are hardly any public restrooms around. So, I learned to be more open to using the facilities in public places. Now that I live in Italy, I am astonished with how terrible many of their public restrooms are. It is not a third world country after all, but floor space is limited.

There are two types of toilettes that I have experienced so far. The first one is what I would consider the norm, a seat, water tank in the back, and a flusher. The flusher is a two part button on the wall. Large button for you know what, and small button for a light flow. I got so used to reaching behind me to push a button on the wall, that for weeks being back in Atlanta I would reach back and only get a cold wall. Oh yea thats right, the toilets do not automatically flush in Italy - you have to press something!

Okay, that is a nice photo of the toilets here, many do not look like this. I am only posting this photo as a reference to the 'two part' flusher. For the second type of toilet in public places, it is similar to the ones in Kenya, but a step up. It is literally a hole in the ground, with a large ceramic plate over it where you stand and aim. I couldn't believe it. But when you gotta go, you gotta go. They look something like this, flat on the ground. I hope your aiming skills are good!


It is incredible how much money & effort are put into making nice, clean restrooms in the United States. I never really paid attention to this until now. Be happy almost every public "Toilette" is clean! For those of you that frighten easy of being dirty, make sure to bring your wet wipes when visiting or living in Italy! 

Or, you can do like me, hold it until you get home............Ciao!


Linda said...

This is too funny. Between my travels to Italy from 2007 and 2009, I noticed improvements in some of the public bathrooms. Regular looking toilets replaced some of the hole in the ground ceramic things in some train stations. I welcomed the improvements.

Your blog is fun to read and I enjoy your snippets of life in Florence.

Christy said...

Thank for the kind words Linda! I am so glad you enjoy it!! Italy is improving, thank goodness the 99 cento store sells wet wipes :) Ciao!

Passage to Italy said...

The second type of toilet in Italy, is a nightmare! The foot areas aren't even places for your feet bc that gets...hmm we'll just say dirty. You have to straddle even more. LOL

There are PLENTY of extremely dirty bathrooms even in the US. You wouldn't want to use a lot of them in NYC.

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