Or did you think it was 99 Bottles of Beer on the wall?
It is our 99th post, believe it or not. No worries, we won’t make you scroll through 99 beer bottles, nor 99 toilet signs, though we have collected that many and then some on our travels.
Finding 99 local bottles of beer or 99 good restaurants is easier, but much less important than locating the very vital nearby toilet in time of need. And when you are on the road, that time of need can become urgent, possibly depending on what restaurant you had your dinner at.
While in many “civilized” countries you will find clear signs declaring Restrooms for customer use only, in “less developed” countries kind shop owners or even a local family will graciously let you use their own private facilities.
I still remember this one time many years ago in India, when I desperately searched, stomach-churning, cold sweat running down my face, for a toilet. “My kingdom for a toilet!” cried king Richard III. Or was it a horse?
A merchant seeing my need opened his door and without a word ushered me to the back. Kind sir, your generosity and empathy will not be forgotten.
It is always so very helpful in foreign lands when important signs occur in a familiar language and/or alphabet.
And if the alphabet fails, representations come into play.
Yet at times human forms are not helpful at all.
Maybe the locals can see the difference between the man and the woman here, but we sure can’t.
And if you are not local and don’t know the language,
this smart play on words won’t help you either.
These guys at Hoggie’s restaurant were trying to be cute, but also informative.
If you are from a country that calls toilets very squeamishly Restrooms, Bathrooms or Facilities (talking to you, Americans!),
you will struggle with this one: WC= Water Closet in British English, used widely in Continental Europe, too, for the toilet. Unless it says FIFA in front of it and then it might be World Cup soccer/football.
Some signs, on the other hand, can be very creative, but maybe kind of too specific.
Or, really, TMI
And some totally out there and definitely not for the faint of heart. Way, way too graphic.
Just like a shag carpet your home, a toilet sign can date your establishment. Right?
A lot. Like, these children were put up when I was a kid.
These ones, I think are timeless:
While these ones are just plain fun:
And these from a national park Down under very ethnic:
Are these two classical or a bit sexist?
And these ones too far in the opposite direction?
How about this one from a restaurant called Garage?Just right?
We share the work and the toilet equally.
Hmmm… big talk, but maybe just a little bit condescending? Humor me!
The true sign of equity is this opportunity for both, moms and dads, to have a chance to attend to their parenting duties.
But what do you do when you have a baby and you need to attend to your own pressing needs? The Taiwanese have the perfect solution:
We love the instructions found in toilets around the world.
Some are very simple and straightforward…
Some are open to interpretation…
Others are perfectly clear as for expectations…
Then others are a bit more long winded…
This one on a farm in the outback gives a fair warning about the toilet lid:
The matter of the proper position of not only the toilet lid but also the toilet seat, should be addressed in any and all religious prenuptial courses and possibly added to prenuptial agreements, lest it is grounds for justifiable divorce. Of course, the toilet seat has to always be in the down position unless you want to be murdered in your sleep after your queen unexpectedly sits on the cold porcelain throne in the middle of the night in the dark. She didn’t want to turn on the lights, because she didn’t want to wake you up, you moron!
There might be one exception to this rule. You could possibly want to keep the seat up at all times if you had a charming toilet like this:
I see the barmaid in this urban setting found a special solution to her toilet seat conundrum.
We do appreciate clarity in the area of toilet paper disposal.
In many countries, you are asked to never ever flush the toilet paper down the toilet as it will clog the antiquated or inadequate piping. You DO have to put it in the bin.
Though some toilet paper is just too cool to throw in the toilet. Or maybe even use…
As for the buildings in which the toilets stand, let me mention just three:
The most opulent ever golden toilets at the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chang Rai, designed, built, and owned by painter Chalermchai Kositpipat.
The most colorful and quite famous toilets designed by Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser in Kawakawa, Northern New Zealand.
The weirdest and darkest toilets we have ever set foot in were at the Baan Dam Museum (also called Black Temple) outside Chang Rai designed by the artist Thawan Duchanee.
Hitchcock would feel at home here with the birds.
I do hope you enjoyed our toilet saga. Here is a Post Scriptum on special toilets in Cambodia:
For the last ten years, I have been involved as a volunteer with the Cambodian Community Dream organization. We have brought education, health, nutrition, and clean water to tens of thousands of people in the countryside. It is always a special privilege to visit the village families in the shadow of Angkor wat temples. Yet no other time was I so gratified and touched than when we visited a family who built an outdoor toilet – a brick latrine, with our help and sponsorship. A mother excitedly ran out of the meager thatched dwelling, carrying a disabled boy in her arms. Through our interpreter, she thanked us profoundly for helping her care for her child. We have made her difficult life just a little easier since now she could carry him to the latrine close to her home instead of hauling him into the bushes behind the house. My eyes still well up with tears now, remembering. At that moment I felt I have arrived as a human and that my life was not in vain. Since I was a teenager I tried to live by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s definition of success:
To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
I am sure you have had your successes and touched many lives, but if you are so inspired to help a family with a much-needed latrine please reach out to me or simply check this link: