Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thoughts on Squatting Toilets

Rather than spoil your views of Cinque Terre, Trofie Wife decided it was best to describe some of the unsavory sanitary conditions we encountered there in a separate post. For those of you who have never encountered a squatting toilet, I give you Exhibit A (you place your feet on those dirty ridges): 

While such set-ups are familiar to those who have traveled further east and I suppose south, Trofie Wife had not seen such an apparatus prior to reaching Italy. And up until this excursion, she was able to avoid them. However, within Cinque Terre there was no workaround. While Wikipedia and other related pages on such appliances (yes, several cyberspace scribes have devoted considerable effort to documenting the worldwide differences in bathroom equipment) tout the “naturalness” of the squatting position, for those of us accustomed to a chair-like toilet (especially if you’re of the female variety), this is just plain awkward (not to mention uncomfortable). Note: While there are likely more familiar toilets located in established inns and restaurants, the main visitor experience of moving from town to town seems to lend itself to brief breaks at train stations or tourist spots where the squatters are the only option. 

So, potential Cinque Terre visitors, be forewarned! Oh, and be sure to carry an extra package of tissues with you.

Baci e gelato,

Martello e Trofie Wife