30 November 2011

Things you don't really consider until you are in another country--Toilets

.50 Euro?
Ah you made it to the gas station just in time!  And you have found the signs for the toilets--downstairs of course!  As you rush to do your business in an urgent manner, you come around the corner and find a turnstyle with a change box on it requesting a fee of .50 Euro!  Yikes.  Frantically you search through your purse for the correct change (remember of course this is Euros and not our US coins)...well you get the picture.  Some toilets, or toiletten or water closets as they are called here, charge you a fee to get in.  Just remember this when you are in a hurry!  You will probably find these in the bahnhoff (train station) and the bus stations as well.

Small toilet area
Toilets are something we take for granted in America--they are just there in some form or another.  And while I don't have extensive research on the subject from across the world, I will just address what I have found here in Germany thusfar.  The public bathrooms we have found thusfar have been very clean and orderly, albeit small at times.  Last night at an Indian restaurant, we found the toiletten down a spiral staircase, stuck tidily into two corners--one for the Herrs and one for the Fraus.  I will try to include a picture if I can get it off my phone.  In the space of what we would call a closet lay two individual stalls and a wash area.  To take the picture, I had to step outside the room because it was too small otherwise.  I took a peek into the men's room too, which was also small and had to include the urinals (or pissoirs) as well.  Flush handles are in a variety of places but the most typical today are rectangular pad above the toilet.  The bowls are configured different too, but that's too much detail!

At the Christmas Market in Kaiserslautern, I was impressed.  At fairs and festivals in the States, I am used to see a line of porta-potties ready to be used.  Not in Kaiserslautern.  They had a very clean and tidy bathroom stuck in a central location that you could use for a donation.  Inside there were flush toilets and sinks to wash up--and these were only temporary bathrooms for the Market.  None of these toilets have the look of typical public American toilets with paper and debris strewn on the floor--these are clean and swept.  Of course when I think of my Mom getting around to some of these (she is in her 70s and can't climb stairs), I wonder how the disabled and elderly fair finding some of these toilets.  Because of the age of the buildings they have been put into, they have had to adapt to the space they have and that means up or down stairs.  Usually narrow stairs.

In more typical mall settings, they have the typical bathrooms we are used to with areas for families, changing tables and handicap stalls.  And then there is always McDonald's (upstairs of course), but you can get a glass of wine or an espresso too so it is worth the stop!  I'm waiting to see one of those public toilets that look like a phone booth on a busy public street--but not here in K-Town!

1 comment:

  1. Too funny!! Now I have to go to the bathroom...lol.

    BTW, I love your background pic of John at the veggie stand :)

    Found a place to live yet?? We'd love pics and details of what you're looking at!