Unusual and interesting toilets from all around the world.

Toilets of the World

What is a Bidet?

The purpose and proper use of bidets, those mysterious European bathroom fixtures

Americans traveling to Continental Europe, parts of the Middle East, and East Asia need to learn about the bidet. What is a bidet, how do you use one, and why do you find them in hotel rooms and homes? They may somewhat resemble a toilet, but they are only used for cleaning yourself. Do not use a bidet as if it were a toilet!

I was very startled to hear the following from someone who has traveled overseas quite a bit:

"I just don't understand the bidet. I don't think that a bowel movement would go down its drain easily."

STOP! Do NOT proceed with that plan!

Everyone needs to be very aware of a few crucial details:

A bidet is not a strangely named and plumbed toilet!

If you have a bidet, you still use the toilet for all the conventional purposes! No, a bowel movement probably would not go down the drain of a bidet, not without quite a bit of unpleasant assistance by the operator or some poor person who came along later. Nor would it be particularly helpful to poop in the sink or in the shower, while we're discussing inappropriate defecation.

Read more about bidets »

Today's Featured Toilet
This toilet at Hilde's guesthouse in Gura Humorului, Romania has a solid lid plus two seats making it useful to adults and children.

Travel guides try to give Romania a bad reputation, but the reality is that most things in Romania, including their toilets, are actually quite nice.

My collection of Romanian toilets includes those at hotels and guesthouses, on trains, at restaurants and at monasteries in the Moldovan mountains.
Check back tomorrow for another featured toilet!

Keep This Book In Your Bathroom

Rose George's The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters is a fascinating description of sanitation conditions around the world. To quote from the introduction:

[....] 2.6 billion people don't have sanitation. I don't mean that they have no toilet in their house and must use a public one with queues and fees. Or that they have an outhouse, or a rickety shack that empties into a filthy drain or pigsty. All that counts as sanitation, though not a safe variety. The people who have those are the fortunate ones. Four in ten people have no access to any latrine, toilet, bucket, or box. Nothing. Instead they defecate by train tracks and in forests. They do it in plastic bags and fling them through the air in narrow slum alleyways. If they are women, they get up at 4 A.M. to be able to do their business under cover of darkness for reasons of modesty, risking rape and snakebites. Four in ten people live in situations where they are surrounded by human excrement because it is in the bushes outside the village by in their city yards, left by children outside the backdoor. It is tramped back in on their feet, carried on fingers onto clothes, food, and drinking water.

[....] Poor sanitation, bad hygiene, and unsafe water — usually unsafe because it has fecal particles in it — cause one in ten of the world's illnesses. [....] Diarrhea — nearly 90 percent of which is caused by fecally contaminated food or water — kills a child every fifteen seconds. The number of children who have died from diarrhea in the last decade [1998-2008] exceeds the total number of people killed by armed conflict since the Second World War.

Test your lavatorial knowledge with our new  toilet quizzes! 

Quiz #1: International Toilets Quiz #2: Flying Toilets
Who is the Toilet Guru?

Who is the Toilet Guru? Is he obsessed? What is it like to be the Toilet Guru? How did Yahoo describe him? Why does this site exist?
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