Sunday, April 26, 2009

When in Rome (Poo as the Romans Poo)

I need to talk a little about Indonesian bathrooms. Most bathrooms here have a little hose with a squirt nozzle right next to the toilet so you can hose yourself and everything else down when you are done. What not all bathrooms have is toilet paper. Sometimes it is available out by the sinks, sometimes it is in the stall, and sometimes it is not there at all. This is where the hose comes in. This is also why the right hand is for eating, greeting, etc and the left is for doing other things. There is also plenty of water and usually soap for washing hands. The system seems to work pretty well.

Now about the toilets. Most of the toilets I used were western style, but I did encounter a few squat toilets. Of course I am quite comfortable going to the bathroom in the wild, but when faced with the task of squatting over a hole on slippery tile and actually being expected to aim I was a little intimidated. Of course it wasn't a big deal, and the aiming thing is probably half the reason they provide the hoses. It is the little cultural adventures that make travel fun.

The best part of the Indonesian bathroom is the mandi. I'm not sure if I'm spelling that right. Anyway, a mandi is a little bathtub sort of thing that you fill up with water. But you NEVER get IN the mandi. You scoop water out of it and pour it over yourself. There is always a drain in the bathroom floor, so you just stand there and dump water on the floor. It is very satisfying for anyone who ever wanted to splash water all over the bathroom as a little kid. Most places don't have hot water. That's ok though because it is so hot that the cold water is quite refreshing.

The hotel where stayed in Ubud had a waterfall/fish pond thing right outside our room. The sound of flowing water was so loud that the first night I had a dream that I was relaxing in an overflowing mandi with flowers floating around me. It was delightful. Then I woke up and realized I needed to go to the bathroom.


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