Few things surprise me these days.
Having criss crossed Europe enough times and become acquainted with all manner of weird and wonderful means of sanitation, my shocker has long since been short circuited. Which, I suppose, is kind of a good thing. Hey, I swam in the south of France… swimsuits optional. I am way more well acquainted with the anatomical layout of old, leathery men than I care to admit.
When in Rome, and all that. C’est la vie! (I did wear a swimsuit, for the record – I can only bend so far…)
My introduction to the Turkish toilet came during our first ski trip to France. For those unacquainted with this marvel of engineering fails, the Turkish toilet is essentially a shower tray with foot pads and a central hole for waste disposal. Some of them even flush. Heaven forbid one make fleshly contact with that horror of horrors, the TOILET SEAT. (The French are positively toilet seatophobic! If there is a public toilet, it is hover or hold it!)
Halfway through my first day skiing, I was pointed in the direction of the unisex public toilet, the one with the glass panelled door and three French blokes relieving themselves at the urinals. Of course, I had to file past them to get to the stalls, which was an experience bordering on the surreal for this Midwestern girl! It remains a puzzle to me how any people so paranoid about bootie cooties can be so very blasé about modesty, but that is probably my American prudishness talking.
Once safely inside my stall, I met my first Turkish loo. Remember, this was the mid ’90s, and one piece skisuits were all the rage… Just imagine the logistics of balancing in icy boots with all the flexibility of milk crates over a tiny hole on the floor, clutching desperately at my suit to ensure it remained undefiled. On this occasion, at least, I was successful. When in Rome.
And then, there was yesterday.
The Turkish toilet, sadly, is also in use in French speaking Switzerland, as well as formerly French places like the Aosta Valley in Italy. Most loos here are great, but there are a few relics remaining, particularly in the older restaurants up in the mountains.
So yesterday after lunch, my little trip to the unisex Turkish loo proved to be rather more of an adventure than this unshockable miss had bargained for when my boot slipped on what I sincerely hope was water in the foot tread (but probably wasn’t), and I was thrown forward onto my hands and knees, mid stream onto the wet (arrgh!!) floor… I did mention this was unisex, didn’t l?
Knickers dry? Check.
Thermals dry? Check.
Ski trousers dry? Apart from the knees, check!
Dignity intact? Epic fail.
Ugh. I may never use my hands again. I am considering setting light to my ski trousers, because I don’t think the knees will EVER be clean again. I need a shower just remembering it all.
I have been well and truly defiled… (shudder!!!)
Feature image: Shutterstock (I know… eww, gross!)
Copyright motherhendiaries 2014, all rights reserved.