Hole in the ground toilets

Old Jul 29th, 2003, 06:42 PM
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gb
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Hole in the ground toilets

For three trips to Europe, these toilets have confused me. Why have a porcelain place to put your feet, and a hole that has a flusher?
Well, I asked our home exchange family and they said it was supposed to be more sanitary than a toilet seat. I asked, "Is there a trick to using it, rather than just squatting"? They said," Yes". Apparently, there are two straps(one on each side) that you are supposed to hold onto. I can't quite understand the visual, and how this keeps your clothes clean. Anyway, I've seen the hole in the ground toilets mentioned in guidebooks, but never an explanation of how to "properly" used one. Does anyone have any other ideas?
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 06:53 PM
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Start working on those quadriceps now!
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 07:06 PM
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In the new airport in Agadir Morocco they actually have very modern holes. All done up in marble , with above head water tanks and flush peddles. I will never get used to them
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 07:13 PM
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It seems to me that there's an explanation on the Rick Steves site about the intricacies of these wonderful devices. I may have some time a little later tonight to look around on the site, and if I find it I'll post the URL here.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 07:16 PM
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I have a photo of a loverly white porcelin one with gleaming chrome fittings taken in Carnac. It takes pride of "place" in our photo album on Normandy and Brittany.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 07:17 PM
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gb,

I've seen a lot of these "toilets" and they've never had straps to hold on to. You need strong thigh muscles to balance.

As far as properly using one - you use it just like a toilet except you're squatting rather than sitting. You keep your clothes clean by being cautious and sober!

Most of the squatters I've seen have been in France in country cafes which were frequented primarily by men so it didn't much matter if there was a place to sit or not. I don't know if you're male or female but if you're a woman it's a lot easier to use one if you're wearing a dress.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

adrienne
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 07:33 PM
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During a year that I spent in Japan, I encountered plenty of these porcelain-lined holes. Actually, they are not true porcelain because true porcelain is translucent, and who would want a translucent toilet bowl?

The Japanese are very fastidious people and are convinced that these type of toilets are hygienically superior because you don't make physical contact with anything that may have recently been in contact with a very nasty part of someone else's body. Of course, if you slip and fall in, the superior hygiene principle no longer applies.

Occasionally, I would notice that the "western-style toilets" had footprints on the rim. After seeing this enough times to realize that something was going on, I asked one of our graduate students where the footprints were coming from. Looking embarrased, he explained that folks from the country that have never encountered a throne-type toilet will sometimes climb up on the rim and act as if they are using the familiar hole in the ground type toilet. I wonder how often the fall off.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 08:01 PM
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www.americaninparis.com/guide1.html#bathrooms
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 08:05 PM
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americaninparis site's not active.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 08:08 PM
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I've encountered these toilets the world over and they are actually supposed to be more hygeinic that the usual type. I've never encountered one with straps, however. You just need to use the thigh muscles. Piece of cake! Stay in shape and you'll be fine.....
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 08:31 PM
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I'll try to figure out how to put this...I am a stickler about flushing toilets but... if you are unlucky enough to have to do the major business of the day in one of these, DO NOT FLUSH! I had the misfortune of having one throw it all back at me. I'll never forget it. CJ
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 08:36 PM
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Oh MY God! As my 16-year-old would say. Carol - you survived?
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 08:37 PM
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Eewwwww! I encountered such a hole in Lausanne, Switzerland and was in a panic. Let's just say I was in a desperate situation, and my boot-cut jean bottoms came out disgustingly decorated. I never saw these 'alleged' straps.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 08:52 PM
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Adienne, I mailed it to you.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 09:19 PM
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CarolJean - Are you suggesting you just leave it there for the next person to come along and flush and get your stuff thrown at them? Someone should start a new thread here entitled How to be Rude in Europe.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 09:26 PM
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smueller, in the Phnom Penh airport bathrooms (Cambodia) there are signs indicating the correct way to use western-style toilets. There is a drawing of a person standing on the seat and squatting, with a big X drawn through it.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 09:41 PM
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Couldn't find the URL for the page that gives a thorough explanation, although it was one of my most unusual searches, I must say. But I digress.

Here's a whole bulletin board of toilet tips from Rick Steves' followers:
www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/graffiti6.html

And, last but not least, here's a product that may interest some: www.whizzy4you.com

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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 09:45 PM
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I have never used one of these and never shall. I'd sooner go behind a bush or ? I'm shocked that Switzerland would have such a primative contraption!
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 11:44 PM
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Beware of these toilets if you are wearing sandals.

As Carol, above, discovered, the flush is usually very powerful so stand well back, press the flush button/lever, and then *run for your life* !!
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 02:31 AM
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another piece of advice (I learnt this the hard way in Japan)

... make sure all mobile phones, keys etc are OUT of pockets before using toilet!

... make sure not to hang sunglasses from your t-shirt!

I've never seen any kind of straps on these toilets - but I have been in really fancy ones that squirt nice smelling stuff around the place.

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