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Where is the Toilet?  

One of the most important questions in traveling is: “Where is the restroom.” Of course, that question is fraught with linguistic problems. 

Eleanor, for example, asked a ticket seller in an English railroad station to point out “the restroom.” He led her to a seat in the waiting area and said: “You can rest here, Ma’am. 

Morris, in a department store in Germany, asked, “Where is the bathroom?” The puzzled clerk directed him to the department selling towels, shower curtains, etc. 

Note: We found that people usually understand the word “toilet.” An excellent source to find out how to ask “Where is the toilet?” in a variety of languages is:

Facility standards and construction are different in many places abroad. Generally, you are safe if you can find a deluxe hotel or restaurant, or an international brand- name fast food eatery. Best advice: Use your hotel bathroom before you leave for a day out!

You will be stunned by the types of toilet facilities around the world...styles that you have never encountered or imagined. And your sense of privacy and modesty might be affronted. Furthermore, toilets with handrails for elderly or handicapped people may not be present.

What to expect:

-The sitting style (as most Americans are used to...although you may encounter toilets without a seat), the squatting style and other variations. People with arthritis and knee problems may find it difficult to use the squatting style.

-Waste may be flushed by water, fall into a hole, roll down a slope, or just stay there.

-You may have to face the entrance, the rear wall, a side wall, or a partition.

-Males may encounter only a wall, a ceramic urinal that may be wall hung or floor mounted, or a trough.

Note: In this entry, we only introduce the types of facilities that you might encounter. In our next entry (July 17, 2014), we provide tips for healthy use of foreign toilets.



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