7.19.2012

ou est des toilettes?!?!

hope you're not getting to sick of my franglais in these posts. bear with me and i can certainly promise that once i leave france the semi-dual language posts will cease. especially since i don't know how to say much more than "i don't understand (insert language i'm speaking in here)" in other languages.

it goes without saying that beyond the language barriers, there are many a comfort typically found in the US that tend to be lost in europe. while i can handle things like mayo replacing ketchup and drinks without ice cubes, there is one comfort from home that i find it really difficult for me not to complain about while abroad - the toilet situation, or lack thereof.

seriously, i'm pretty sure there are about 5 toilets in all of france. apparently, the french never have to pee, and this behavior dates back to the 1800s. back then when women had to go number one, they would let their ladies in waiting know by saying, "i am going to go pick a flower." upon receiving the code phrase, the ladies in waiting would escort her to a secluded place outside in the garden and form a circle around the indisposed lady, while she completed her task in a special pot brought outside for the occasion. and how do i know all this? clearly my frustration was so deep, it lead to actual research.

on a fictional note, apparently since that time, the french never spoke to each other in depth enough to realize that everyone does it, and alas peeing has become some big secret. i can understand how the american way of announcing where we are going and what we plan to do in there isn't the most refined, but could we at least be a little less secretive about the location of the toilets, france?

it actually started to become something of a joke that i felt france was playing on me. having devoured a large bottle of evian in the blazing heat, i would walk around and look for a monument or somewhere that i thought surely there would be a good chance for a large population of those who had to "go." sure, there were plenty of signs pointing me in the direction of toilets, but following them lead me down a labyrinth of other signs with directional arrows that just seemed to end up right back where i started. it must be a tricky game the french have put in place, hiding their toilets to force tourists into an unpleasant game of would you rather - would you rather walk 3 kilometers to the next toilet, or have to attempt to announce your bodily functions to a perfect stranger in broken french? it's actually a tough call in my book, particularly if all that seems to be around are beautiful french 20-something men...decisions, decisions.

as you may know, once a toilet is finally discovered in france (and in europe in general), there is usually a fee to use said toilet ranging from 0.20€ - 0.50€. once again, another punishment for being human.

don't get me wrong, i didn't mind paying in a few of the toilets which were beautiful and clean enough to make me confident that the money was going to a good cause. it's the situations where i was forced to balance my huge pack in my back and purse around my neck for fear of my bags contracting a permanent smell of hobo urine, however, that i had a little trouble with the fee.


an example one of the less desirable options in france. if only i could bear taking a photo of the inside..


think i'll stick to finding the closest mcdonald's from now on...

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