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Coin-operated Toilets and other mysteries


Coin-operated Toilets and other mysteries

Old Jun 17th, 1999, 02:17 PM
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Coin-operated Toilets and other mysteries

At one point I thought I saw a reference here to something called a coin operated toilet that won't let you out. (Can't find the post now)
Huh? I thought you were supposed to give coins to the gramma figure that gives you a square or 2 of TP.
What's with "coin operated" and what are the foot pedestals (also mentioned) for?
Do these occur all over Europe (E & W)?
Answers should pertain to the Ladies W/C when possible.
Thanks mucho.
Old Jun 17th, 1999, 02:30 PM
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Hello again! Well, as I recall, the discussion was about those automated, freestanding toilets located outdoors. I think the poster was remarking that they can be hard for children to open from the inside. I've used them in NY & Paris, & it wasn't too hard to figure out how to operate, but I could see a child having trouble going it alone, so to speak. The foot pedestals -- how do you say? -- are the raised footprints on either side of a hole in the floor. Talk about hard to operate! (As low tech as it gets, but not my accustomed posture! My experience of them is limited to Paris (yes, in 1999!)
Old Jun 17th, 1999, 02:34 PM
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Paris has the aforementioned coin-ops on the streets. You put in your 2ff, door exhales open, you go in, shut the door, do your duty, open the door. Now here's where it gets hinky...once that door shuts as you leave, the john is hermetically sealed, and disinfectant that hazmat wouldn't touch sprays throughout the entire cabinet. When it's finished, the door can be opened by putting in the 2ff. Repeat cycle.
Where these heads got such a bad rap is: 12 yr old boy puts in 2ff, opens door, goes in and does his duty...THEN HOLDS THE DOOR OPEN FOR HIS BUDDY. The loo doesn't know a kid had come in; it thinks everyone is gone and WHOOSH, pre-pubescent male is disinfected to death.
Apparently, though, they now have some sort of safety thing where there's a warning bell/flash and the door pops open, humiliating the cheapskate but indeed saving his life.
Old Jun 17th, 1999, 03:22 PM
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I always thought someone might make a very interesting coffee table book based on toilets from around the world. I am always fascinated by the different ways different cultures rid themselves of waste. The Germans have some toilets which have a ledge or tray at the back of the bowl. I guess it's so you can admire your handiwork before you flush. Elsewhere in Europe, you have the two footrests on the floor and a hole in the middle. I can't imagine getting down to business over one of those. Some older toilets have the tank of flush water overhead with a chain for flushing. While our toilets usually discharge on an angle toward the rear of the seat, some European models have a straight drop. Of course, you also have the ultra-modern French public toilets discussed above as well as the toilets that use light sensors to detect when to flush and disinfect after you walk away. And I haven't even mentioned the various types of urinals. I've never visited Asia or South America, but I'm sure they employ some unusual designs too.
Old Jun 17th, 1999, 03:47 PM
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Dougy! Did you forget the old, wooden out-houses that our fore-fathers used to *love* to tip over, while other people were in them...screaming?
Old Jun 17th, 1999, 06:07 PM
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One of our sources of amusement on our Europe trips has been figuring out how to flush. It seems each toilet is different and some flushing methods you really have to hunt for! The modern free standing French toilets were quite something, and we also got a kick out of the ones that have the plastic tube cover that encases the seat, then rotates away and is replaced by a fresh cover. My favorite however, is the scenic portapotty on river trips. Each night the boatmen set up a little stand with legs in the great outdoors, usually around the bend or behind a handy, large boulder or bush. Then there is a designated "signal" out of sight (a sort of "occupied" sign). After a week of this, when you go home, it's kind of like, well, where's the view?
Old Jun 17th, 1999, 08:18 PM
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I heard this in elementary school.
To lend respectability to it, I have labeled it "The Lament of the Constipated Traveller"

'Here I sit, broken hearted
Came for a sh*t, but only fa*ted'

Hey, Hey, don't get on my case, now.
Look at the Austin Powers phenomenon.
Some of us, and the entire country of England, remember the original meaning of the word he is bandying around.
Old Jun 18th, 1999, 12:38 AM
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See the difference in cultures? We Scots have a reputation for being mean ( I have been accused of this in this forum in the last week)

Our version of the foregoing ditty is based on coin operated loos is:-

Here I sit
broken hearted
Paid my penny
And only farted

However I think the story of the dying 12 year old is a bit of an urban myth. These loos are a bit ovewhelming and can be tough to open- in this country you pay to get in, not out- but tey're not exactly a hazrd.

As far as "holes in the ground" are concerned however, I believe they should be banned under the United Nations Charter on Human Rights. I fell over in one in Italy 2 years agoa nd limped for a week. My friends were in stitches over it. In fact they still are.
Old Jun 18th, 1999, 06:24 AM
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This is definitely the kind of informative, and classy, topic that keeps bringing me back to the Europe forum. Keep 'em coming!!!!
Old Jun 18th, 1999, 07:38 AM
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Don't forget the ones that have no light switch in the stall--you have to close the full door on the stall ALL THE WAY to make the light come on. We have those plastic-encased seats at O'Hare, so I guess I'm used to those.
Old Jun 18th, 1999, 09:31 AM
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My most complexing experience was also in Paris. Probably the same one as Marilyn experienced where the light wouldn't come on until you locked the door completely. Well, this one wouldn't flush until you UNLOCKED the door, but by then I'd spent quite a long time trying to figure out how to flush...to no avail. When I finally gave up (feeling really embarrased and bad for the next occupant)... voila!!!! The flush mechanism was in the door lock. Then I realized why the lines were so long to use the ladies room...
Old Jun 18th, 1999, 09:33 AM
Mary Beth
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I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the squatter. I thought I could escape it last year on my trip to Italy, but I had no such luck. Looking back, as far as I'm concerned, you have not experienced another culture until you have used one. I will never forget it.
Old Jun 18th, 1999, 09:36 AM
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How does it differ from the aforementioned two-footprints-plus-hole-in-floor setup? (Sounds like the technique is the same.)
Old Jun 18th, 1999, 01:51 PM
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It dawned on me in Paris last summer that toilets may reflect national character as much as cuisine and fashion. The French love individuality in bathrooms. I went to Ma Bourgogne for lunch, climbed the spiral stairs to the toilets, came first to a beautiful sink (Bacchus? spitting water), then went into the men's stall, which had a turkish toilet. It isn't a lack of technology in this part of Paris - - I peeked and the women's had a conventional 1990s toilet. The next day I went to Les Bookinistes, and the unisex toilets downstairs were models of modern design in black metal and granite. However, I didn't figure out how to turn on the lights until I'd finished and went exploring in the second stall: in case you go, you walk in, close the door and rotate the knob a half turn to lock it. Then, if you rotate the knob once more, the lights come on. A few days later it took me almost no time at all to figure out that the ornate little finial on the top of the urinal was the flush valve. In stark contrast English and American toilet hardware vary not all from place to place, and the uniformity and interchangeability helps explain why they took the lead in the industrial revolution. I don't think I want to speculate about that weird display shelf in German toilet bowls . . .
Old Jun 18th, 1999, 02:07 PM
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The worst toilet ever was in Morocco, in a roadside...ahem...cafe that our taxi driver stopped at for lunch. In the back, in a corrugated shed about the size of a coffin, was a hole. Outside the door was a bucket and a spigot. Fill the bucket with water, take it in with you, squat over the hole, dump the bucket of water down the hole. Few people seem to do the latter. Second worst: ladies' room in Grand Central Station.
Helpful hint from a Thai acquaintance: if the toilet bowl is nasty (no seat, dirty seat, mold crawling up the sides) STAND on it and squat like you would over a hole. Saved me a couple of times in nasty circumstances. Takes a little balancing, but only your feet touch the offending structure.
My personal favorite are the French toilets that flush the FLOOR around the footprints/hole. Good way to get your shoes washed, too...
Old Jun 18th, 1999, 05:02 PM
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Here's my contribution...cut and pasted from "Rtites of Passage."
My first trip to Europe was with a travel course in European art in 1962 I think. [6 wks - you name it, we saw it]
On our second or third day we were on our way back to Madrid to Toledo. By that time, umm... the local flora had overcome our systems. A bunch of us needed to "go", so they stopped the bus at a little roadside cafe. [the door was a "curtain" of pop bottle tops crimped in long strings.]We asked for the rest rooms. I'll skip what we went through to get them to understand our need. We were led to an open dirt yard with chickens wandering around. It's amazing how fast "needing to go" can change into "not needing to go."

Our hotel in Paris on that trip also had the porcelain treads in the floor down the hall. [to be fair it was a placement hotel and the worst on the trip]. There is one problem though, which I was reminded of in the WC at the university in Skopje last March, and which Elvira alluded to. You pull the chain AND exit as fast as you can or a shower is included. This was difficult in Skopje as there was a door on the stall that opened in! I finally figured out to open the door first and pull from as far away as I could!
Old Jun 18th, 1999, 06:37 PM
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My favorite bathroom experience was in Paris(what a suprise). We were in a cute little cafe close to Notre Dame; I made my way through the hall, around the corner and down the steps to the bathroom; I open the door the the ladies room and find two pay toilets(my first). After digging the francs out from the bottom of my purse I deposit them into door number 2; open the door and to my horror there is a hole in the floor(also my first). I must have stood there a good five minutes deciding how bad do I Really have to go? I decided to be brave, and somehow managed to get through it. On my way out the door the lady behind door number 1 came out and what did I see? Yep, a regular toilet. I can laugh about it now, well almost!!

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