Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Everyone Is Curious

This will be a bit of an unconventional blog about toilets.

However, please note that this question comes up frequently between expats here in the Middle East. No one seems to know the answer and even a search online did not reveal one.

How do the Arab people go to the restroom, use those water hoses and stay dry?
Remember -- they do not use toilet paper in the Middle East (ME), they spray clean.

The ladies have those long black dresses and the men are in white thobes.  In all the time I have been in the ME, no one has ever answered this question and everyone is curious.

I searched online for why toilet habits are so different in the ME and actually found a site that had Etiquette of the Saudi Toilet.  Having visited a Saudi home where I did use the ladies room, I found this description to be very accurate.

When I arrived in the ME, I noticed that bath rooms (toilets - power rooms - ladies room - what ever you call them) seemed to come in two varieties – very good and very bad. I saw my first square toilet fixture and first toilet room with fine art here in the ME.  And, I was curious about the water hoses.  

I started recording photos of the interesting toilets thinking someday I might share these pictures.  I have mentioned working on this blog to several friends, and they ALL agree.  They are ALL curious about how people stay dry.

This was shown on television the first week after I arrived in Bahrain. I thought it was a humorous way to market underwear.
A friend sent this to me. It was posted in a Bahraini bathroom.  I saw a similar sign recently on the door to the bathroom on a GulfAir flight to Paris.
At the BAPCO (Bahrain Petroleum Company) Club where the AWA Craft Group regularly eats lunch, this sign is in the ladies room.  It helps you determine if you are dehydrated.
One time when we were away on a trip, an engineer staying in our flat used the bidet as a water collector when a sudden downpour soaked our patio cushions. He told us he had finally found a good use for all the bidets in our flat - there is a bidet  in each of the 4 bathrooms.
This is a  toilet we saw when we were driving in the southern part of the island.
Some of the worst toilets are what they call Eastern World “two steppers.” There is a video (clean) online describing how to use a “two stepper” toilet. It is too weird for me.

Most ME airports and public places have a Western style toilet in addition to a “two stepper” toilet. I try to avoid (as I best I can) visiting the bathroom in any public place.

This is a "two stepper" toilet at the Bahrain Airport. The flushing mechanism is the button on the back wall.
Once I was in a beautiful ladies room in a restaurant and I could not figure out how to flush.  There was a decorative button on the wall and I finally found it.  They are a bit too creative in the ME with their flushing mechanisms.

Here are some examples of the toilets I have encountered while living in the ME. (I warned you this would be an unconventional blog.)
Abu Dhabi Golf Club had some lovely powder rooms. There was a sensor so you did not have to push any buttons.
This powder room was at a dance studio. Do you think it was built in the 50's?
The Address Hotel in Dubai had gorgeous art in their toilet closet. 
More art from the Address Hotel.
The toilet on the Emirates Airbus A380 was the nicest airline toilet I have ever experienced.
The toilets at Hubby D's office have controls.
Eureka! Just a week ago I saw my first handle flushing toilet here in the Middle East. It was in a restaurant.
One of the first square toilets I encountered was at the Ritz in their beachside bathrooms. The flushing mechanism is the button high above it on the back wall.
My all time favorite powder room was in the home of one of our AWA members. She had two side by side powder rooms in her entry hall. They were just lovely.
Recently during a broadcast of CNN they talked about a toilet crisis in China. Apparently many people who have lived in the rural areas don’t use a toilet and have no problems stopping along side the street in the cities to relieve themselves.  So, I guess the ME is better than that.

I did not go in this bathroom although I needed to.  It was just a bit too rustic for me.  It is located at a small restaurant on the top of a hill on the Cinque Terre Trail along the Northern Coast of Italy. The view of the valley below was spectacular.
However we still have that burning question. How do the Arab people go to the restroom, use those water hoses and stay dry?

I will let you know if I find out.


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