if you know me well, you know that i am absolutely obsessed with bathrooms. more specifically, i am obsessed with avoiding gross bathrooms, and sometimes i will hold it in (whatever *it* may be at that time) for hours until i can get to a decent facility. seriously, it’s becoming something of a mental disorder: i regularly have nightmares about having to go to the bathroom so so bad, but every stall is nastified, and i have to run through some huge building, frantically looking for clean bathrooms. w-e-i-r-d-o.
anyway, living and traveling abroad has been something of a challenge for that reason, and my impression of a city (and my potential to want to revisit that city) is largely influenced by how its public bathrooms fare. bathrooms in china have been less than awesome in many situations, but i’ve learned to live with them — for better or for worse — because i have to be here for the next 4.5 months. i have even begin to appreciate the fact that when a bathroom is dirty, squat toilet trumps sit-d0wn.
now, traditional bathrooms in thailand were quite interesting, because they’re like some mysterious combination of squat and sit-down toilets. i don’t know if you can see from the picture (taken in a train bathroom), but the toilets are elevated about a foot off the floor, and you basically have to squat and balance yourself on those wing-like footrests. now try doing that on a bumpy trainride through the thailand countryside. umm… NOT GONNA TRY.
i tried using the toilet at the train station instead, and i was still afraid that i’d lose my balance and fall in or off. so i had to get creative. i will spare you the details. all you need to know is that i did not get anything on myself and i did not leave a mess anywhere. but the question remains: how do old people and/or handcapped people use these bathrooms? AH! life is a mystery!