Most of my family and friends can attest to the fact I have a bladder the size of a 2 year old child. This often has me in a panic desperate to find a bathroom or if driving seriously considering pulling over at the side of the road to relieve myself. Over the years because of my small bladder I have seen some horrific bathrooms and yes I have had literally had to pull over at the side of the road and dash over the embankment.
This years travels have taken me to many developing countries and semi-developing countries where the locals are always touting how amazing their country is and that it is better than anywhere else in the world. Newsflash if you cannot flush the toilet paper down the toilet you are yet to be one of the best countries in the world. But all that aside the number of differing toilets in one country can be a testimony to progress and the completely unusual such as the squat bowl toilet.
A rather unattractive skill acquired due to my childlike bladder, tragically is perfecting the art of throwing up silently in a smelly dingy public bathroom. So along with a tiny bladder I have low tolerance to violent stenches. Nothing is quiet as horrible as walking into a bathroom and almost dry wretch let alone realising the chance of you having to quickly do your business then having to stand up and be ill has on a number of occasions had me quickly debating the virtues of nappies. The very thought of having to put your head closer to some of these horrific things called toilets is almost enough to make me dry wretch again.
The first rule of any world traveler is to ensure you have your own supply of toilet paper and a bottle of hand sanitiser. Without this a bathroom break can be more than just an unpleasant experience, it can be complete torture.
What I did realise while sitting in a cafe in India; that had an equally horrific squat toilet: is though I often dry wretch and the fact I so often need to use less than pleasant bathrooms I am clearly no wimp. A group of young travelers came in and a girl went to use the bathroom; she almost ran back to the group she was with and said ‘there is no way I am using a squat’. I chuckled to myself thinking why on earth would you travel in a developing country if you won’t use squats and pondered what damage she must be doing to her bladder and kidneys.
All the toilets featured in this post were in Dharamsala, India. All three had no toilet paper, no ability to wash your hands and yes as well as the necessity to relive myself I was ill. I am rather looking forward to going back to Australia at Christmas and the chances of having to be ill in a distressing public bathroom is slim to none. May you all have much more pleasant bathroom pit stops than me.