Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The restroom, potty, can, WC, loo, throne, powder room, lavatory...

Did you know there's actually an annual award for the best public restroom in America? Seriously. Eight years running. I came across it online today and couldn't help but share: C'mon. Take a peek. You know you want to! Of the 10 finalists there is one in Utah, and one in Arizona.

I used to plan getaways for Mark and I around cool bed and breakfasts. Maybe I've found a new criteria for choosing a vacation destination now! :) Ok, maybe not. However, if I were in the area I'd definitely check it out.

So, this got me thinking. (I know, not the deepest of topics. Maybe it's all the "potty humor" my boys are into lately) Anyway! I started thinking about some of the unique or memorable restrooms that I've used. Both fancy and otherwise:
  • ESPN Zone (we went in Chicago) - has televisions in every bathroom stall. And, according to Mark, above every urinal. Wouldn't want to miss a moment of the game.
  • Hard Rock Cafe (in Hong Kong) - had a bathroom attendant (which kind of wierds me out), but it was fancy with choices of lotions or even perfume to use when freshening up.
  • General WC - there were multiple times while traveling or living abroad that I recall being relieved to see the internationally recognized symbol next to a place to insert coins. Only a couple times did I not have enough change on hand...and had to continue my pee-pee dance until I could get somewhere else. Oh! And there was one in Berlin (I know there are others elsewhere) that was a cube of one way glass, so people can't see in, but you feel like you're using a toilet in a glass box. Creepy. No, thanks.
  • Trains - at least those I tried in Europe. Well, let's just say this...the waste gets dumped on the tracks while you travel.
  • While living in Taiwan I found that most public (and many residential) restrooms provided squats. Also, no toilet paper is provided, so you always carry a pack of Kleenex with you. At first when I moved there I'd take off everything from the waist down when I went. Luckily I eventually became skilled in the art of squats and didn't have to do that anymore. Oh! And the used TP never goes in the toilets/urinals there, but in a nearby trash. That was a habit I was happy to break quickly after coming back to the U.S.
  • Bidets - the first time I ever used one (after Mark's coercion) was at a fancy hotel in Guatemala City. It was actually quite refreshing, I must admit.
  • Harmons (used to be our local grocery store) impressed me by upgrading their bathroom while we lived in Salt Lake. Granite counter top, automatic everything (toilet, sink, soap), fresh flower bouquet on the counter, and this super high speed hand dryer. Noah would pull the "potty emergency" card there just so he could use the cool hand dryer afterward.
If anybody actually took the time to read this post, have you got anything to add? I've heard Japan makes some pretty interesting toilets - anyone tried one? Do you judge a business on the quality/cleanliness of their bathroom? Or do you know of a bathroom that should be entered into the 2011 bathroom contest?!

I'll close with this. When I was growing up, we used to pull quotes from a crazy animated movie called, "Tiny Toons: How I Spent My Vacation". During the movie a family of pigs on their summer vacation would suit up in hazmat suits to clean public restrooms before using them, and would refer back to the nice restrooms that were "sooo clean" as a trip highlight. If you know how me (or my mom) feel about germs, you can see why we found that amusing. I wasn't born concerned about germs though...I have to add this for documentation sake: As a young child my mom taught me to put TP on a public toilet seat before using it (they're dirty and I could get sick if I didn't). One time, before entering a bathroom, she reminded me to put TP on the seat and I responded with a smile, "I didn't last time...and nothing happened!"

1 comment:

Jana said...

Unbelievable! I wonder how they compare to the one the Chinese built for Hillary Clinton--as the rest of the country squatted. One of the photos in this had a pool table in it. I wonder how many wives wondered if their husbands were sick in there.
Interesting post, but no family photos to go with it?