View from the Loo

"I'm off to the loo," I announced to no one in particular one fine Mexican day.

"The what?" questioned the curious new woman fresh off the airplane from America.

"The loo," I repeated. "The restroom," I translated. Or the servicio, as it was called in Mexico. Or the toilet as it was called in much of the world. Whatever you called it, I was headed to it. For experience had taught me to never ever pass up the opportunity to visit the toilet, even in the First World civilization of NYC where the restroom can be few and far between.

And please, don't call it a bathroom. The only person I ever knew who bathed in an airport public toilet, bathed her dog.Poor guy had lost control of his bowels on an international flight home to the USA and she had to clean him up before getting into a rental car. Seriously.

 

In the 1970s while living in Peru I fondly remember The Three Little Pigs toilet. Built of sticks, it was a single person darkened hut where I found cement footprints with a small stream of water running between. I thought it clever, a passive flush system if you will. All I had to do was to place one foot on each footprint, drop my jeans, squat to keep everything high and dry--and do what needed doing. Afterwards  with a few coins dropped into the hand of an obliging woman, a bucket of water was splashed over the area.

Peru 1970s

 

When a long distance bus pulled over for a break in Peru, passengers would quickly exit. Men went in one direction and women the other direction. Traditional Peruvian women in their long petticoats and skirts had the forethought of not wearing underpants. To relieve themselves, they'd stop, widen their stance and let it rip.

For foreign women in jeans--we only could watch jealously. Leaving one male companion behind to hold the bus and keep an eye on our gear; we'd run down the road to get out of sight of the men ogling us in hopeful anticipation. Finding an out of sight dip in the landscape, we'd drop our jeans. Though the facilities were limited, the views were incomparable. Nothing beats a toilet overlooking a glacier lake surrounded by Alp-like mountains.

 

In the early 2000s, Egypt and Jordan sometimes had a choice of toilets. Traditional European/US ones  with toilet seats were available to anyone who could pay the baksheesh or tip; otherwise it was a stall with a shower drain hole. A do-it-yourself bucket to flush afterwards was on hand, sometimes even with water in it. As for toilet paper, it wasn't part of the deal. Any wonder why I have a penchant to keep home and rentals well stocked in that precious comodity?

 

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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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