A normal toilet

A friend of mine visiting Turkey commented on a squat toilet with the words: ‘Well, things are just less hygienic in Turkey than in the Netherlands, aren’t they?’ I smiled and didn’t bother trying to convince her otherwise. I mean, she had to go back to Holland and still feel okay using public sit-down toilets, so I thought it would be nicer to just let her maintain her delusion.

I admit, when I first came to Turkey I too was unhappy with the squat toilets. I knew them from holidays around the world, but that was an inconvenience that would last a maximum four to five weeks. In Turkey, I wouldn’t be able to avoid them in many places, year after year. How happy I was when, for example, in a roadside restaurant on a stop over on a long-distance bus trip , there would be two or three ‘normal toilets’ too, not only squat ones. And they were always unoccupied, because when a Turkish woman in such a roadside restaurant, with about twenty to thirty toilets in a row, opens a door to a toilet and finds its ‘a sit-down’, she immediately closes the door again. She refuses to use that sort of toilet, she prefers a normal one. I remember one roadside restaurant that thought it was a good idea to renovate and only install sit-down toilets. The complaints I heard all came down to: aren’t there any normal toilets here?

Over time, I’ve learned to appreciate the squat toilet version. The good and totally hygienic thing is that you don’t touch anything, with any body part. And Turkey, my dear readers, is not like, for example, India: most of the public toilets here are very, very clean – never hesitate to use them.

Some nights ago, at a roadside restaurant during a stop over on a long-distance bus trip, I found myself even more integrated. I opened a toilet door and saw a sit-down version, with a wet seat. Must have been some western woman messing things up. Yuk. I don’t use them anymore, I prefer a normal toilet!

3 replies
  1. Yanwar
    Yanwar says:

    I come from Indonesia and have been staying in the Netherlands for more than three years. Like in Turkey, the normal toilets in Indonesia are the squat ones. I smiled when I was reading this article because it reminded me a lot about my own country and also about how foreigners–especially Europeans and North Americans–told me about their experiences in dealing with squat toilets when they were in Indonesia. Although most Indonesians in the Netherlands–or in any western world–do not complain about the sit-down toilets, yet they complain about cleaning up using tissue after defecating for they believe that cleaning up using water is cleaner and much more comfortable. So, appreciating both versions is a wise thing to practice. Greeting from Leiden, the Netherlands.

  2. Lex
    Lex says:

    it’s disgusting using paper to clean your bottom, doesn’t really clean a thing, just smudges the poop all over the place… Use water people (then clean your hands).


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