We all know that travel broadens the mind, but in some places, it can also strengthen the thighs! We’ve taken a peek into different bathrooms around the world to lift the lid on what you can expect to find inside toilet cubicles when you spend a penny overseas…
Many cultures around the world have toilets separated from the main home, not for privacy but for hygiene (especially in areas when the summer climate could make these loos a very unpleasant place to be!).
In the Australian outback these are called dunnys, and although thankfully many have been now abandoned, some are still in use in rural or tourist areas with no sewage system. They follow a basic design, a simple hole in the ground underneath a bench with a hole in it – and if you’re lucky, there will be walls and door too!
In many areas of India you’re unlikely to find a European-style toilet with a bowl and seat, and if you’ve not used a squat toilet before, you may find a traditional Indian bathroom a little daunting!
However, sitting in the squat position to use a toilet is actually thought to be much healthier and more hygienic, although if you’re ever experienced the horror of using a squat toilet on a moving train, you may not agree!
In most of China, squat toilets are the norm and with a little practice (as well as a reasonable about of thigh strength and the ability to balance) they are much easier to use than you might think!
Public toilets in China are often just a row of holes in the ground, with very little in the way of privacy – cubicles and doors are a luxury! Usually a fee is charged to use a public toilet, and in return you will be given a few sheets of tissue paper – if there’s no charge, there’s no paper, so it’s always advisable to carry your own!
Traditional Japanese toilets are very simple squat toilets. Sometimes there’s a bar to hold on to or a shelf to perch on, but more often than not, it’s down to your sense of balance and thigh strength to keep you in the required position.
More recently however, travellers visiting japanese hotels are more likely to experience the new tech-heavy super toilets or ‘washlets’. These fancy toilets are usually equipped with an ‘adjustable cleansing wand’ and a sophisticated control panel that always the user to opt for different features, such as warm-water rinsing and warm-air drying, a temperature controlled heated seat and even an automatic air purifier.
The ancient Greeks may not have had the same hygiene and sanitation standards that we’re used to today, but their public toilets were very sophisticated for their time.
On a visit to a public loo in ancient Greece you would have seen a stone bench, above a stream of running water, with numerous holes in a row. There was no separation or privacy, so it would appear the Greeks weren’t as shy about their toilet habits as we are!
Although Russian public toilets have a bad reputation and you may still stumble across the old squat toilets in some more rural areas, most have been modernised in recent years, especially those in busy cities and tourist areas.
However, the most common complaint from travellers in Russia is the lack of toilet seat – which can be a chilly surprise in the harsh Russian winters.
At first glance German toilets are deceivingly similar to European toilets, but on closer inspection, they reveal a rather unexpected surprise – the display shelf! Inside the toilet bowl, and above the water level, this shelf catches any solid deposits, leaving them open to the air until flushed away.
As well as the rather unusual ‘inspection shelf’, German toilets also feature a variable flush system so less water is wasted.
Amsterdam is a city known for its cheap beers and bars so it’s no surprise that they used to have quite a problem with public urination. However, rather than trying to stop people relieving themselves in the street, they decided to provide open air urinals for their complete convenience.
These urinals are lacking privacy, but they keep the streets clean and they are regularly hosed down and sanitised to encourage use.
Space toilets have to overcome the obstacle of zero gravity as in a weightless environment, anything deposited into the loo would simply float back out again!
Instead, space toilets use airflow to direct the waste for processing, where it is compressed and stored until landing. The air used to direct the waste is then treated to remove bacteria and odors, before being reused and circulated throughout the cabin.
If you are looking to update your public washrooms with new toilet cubicles, contact us to find out how we can help you provide comfortable and hygienic facilities that your visitors will really appreciate.