Sometimes you learn by doing something the hard way. With travel this often becomes the case. No matter how many tips you read before hand, inevitably something will go awry or you end up in a situation where the only way to learn is to do it yourself.
So today for the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge we asked:
Dani tell us one of the things she had to learn the hard way – How to use a squat toilet:
“When I was in Croatia, on my first international and first solo trip, I was traveling down the coastline with three people I met in the hostel. I was the only inexperienced traveler and somehow we came upon the topic of squat toilets.
Now I had seen photos of them, and read about them, but I thought they were confined to the Middle East and China (the only 2 places I had ever read had them). My new friends thought this hilarious and proceeded to school me on the widespread use of squat toilets outside of the USA, and started competing in a “Let’s scare the noob with squat toilet horror stories”.
I learned they were used in modern places like France. I learned how easy it is to pee on yourself using them, I heard about fecal-painted walls and that liquid and dirt on the floor is usually not water or soil. They went on for a good 20 to 30 minutes about this as I gaped in horror at how much effort people put into not urinating on your own pants – nevermind the whole other end of business.
Finally my new found ‘friends’ had fill of their fun messing with the new girl and the subject changed. About 5 minutes later we hit the rest stop.
We got in line for the rest room, me last of our little group. Two went in and me and the third chatted. As the two girls emerged, they look at me, look at each other, burst out laughing, and as they walk by one pats me on the shoulder and said, “Have fun!”
I didn’t know what to do. I hung my head down, took a deep breath, and march forth with fearful confidence into the stall.
I think it took me about 5 minutes just to figure out how the hell to position myself. Luckily these bathrooms were clean (I have since walked out of some they were so bad I opted for outside).
It was pretty hilarious, and embarrassing that I honestly didn’t know how to pee in a hole, but turns out squat toilets really aren’t that bad. Once you get the angle right. Or you get smart and wear a skirt you can hike up when on long bus rides.
Also thank you to the friends who held the bus because it took me so long to use this bathroom. Although im pretty sure they told the bus driver the exact reason, because he and a few passengers in the front were giggling when I boarded.”
Squat toilets – one of those things that no matter how much you read about them, and how many tips people tell you about how to use them, the only way to really learn is the hard way – by going out there and using them. And hopefully not peeing on yourself in the process.