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  • bethstephenson123

Skip to the Loo. . .wherever you are!

I thought my daughter in law was going to faint when she encountered Roman toilets with no seats on a recent trip. I explained that the wide, ceramic rim provides a surface to sit. . .if you must. A few days later we encountered something rare in Europe, a squatter potty. I swear she was pale and shaking over that one!

But going to the potty is part of the adventure of travel, right? Here are a few we've encountered. First up, the ultimate luxury toilet. It was in our room in our FANCY hotel in Beijing, China. ( 2016) (You'll have to zoom to read the console.)

What? No massage button?

Row of toilets in ancient Ephesus, Turkey
new (old) meaning to 'public toilet'

Next up are the toilets no longer in use, (at least not often), at Ephesus, Turkey. (Probably close to 3500 years old)

They were inside a pavilion and a stream of water ran constantly under the seats to keep it flushed. The sewage emptied directly into the bay, about 400 yards away. These were for wealthy men only. Men would arrange to meet at the toilets to make business deals, socialize and lobby. This is the origin of the term "doing your business" linking to relieving yourself.

It was also common to send a slave ahead to sit on your favorite spot to warm up the chilly stone.

I don't have a picture of the toilets in Thailand where the men's urinals were in plain view of the walkway to the women's restroom. In the women's restroom, there was a deep basin of water beside a toilet seat attached to a basin with a pipe. When finished, (No toilet paper in the toilet!) You were to scoop up a bucketful of water from the basin and dump it into the toilet. FLUSH!

We also don't have pictures of the squatters we encountered in Thailand and China. There are foot rests on either side of a channel with a hole at the bottom of the slope. They sometimes have a flush device and sometimes it's the dump-the-bucket method. (google 'Squatter toilet' if you're curious.)

In most third world countries I have visited, (and some second world) there is a wastebasket

beside the toilet for used toilet paper. There are often women sitting outside the restroom and you have to pay her to get a few sheets of toilet paper. Most of us don't consider toilet paper a luxury, do we? No coins? no TP!

I encountered this sign in the restroom of the Melk Abby in Austria, (overlooking the Danube) I could hardly stop laughing!

Bathroom sign from Melk Abby Austria
Notice the sign is in English ???

A sign that the people who occupied this house (possibly palace) in ancient Jerusalem is the private little loo. Inside they found "proof" that it was indeed a toilet. The good news is that it enabled scientists (scatologists?) to determine the common diet of the wealthy folks Millennia ago.

And in case you're wondering about the song, Skip to the Loo, It is actually "Skip to my Lou" and had nothing to do with toilets. It was a "Partner stealing" dance, like a square dance. Abraham Lincoln is said to have mentioned enjoying it. (I imagine Mary Lincoln had something to say about that!)

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