After reading Leilouta's blog about her husband using one of the toilets in Tunisia for the first time (the ones on the ground), it got me to thinking about the first time I used one of these toilets. I'll never forget it.
I was at a birthday party on the beach w/ my husband and his friends. Everything was going fine until I had to make a potty break, so I walked to the nearest little girl's room w/ the only other girl at the party. When we get there, it's pretty dark inside but the moon is shining, so you can see your surroundings. I open the first stall and the toilet is on the ground. I think "ok" and I move to the next stall. Same thing. So I move to the last stall and, again, the toilet is sitting on the ground. Now remember, I had NEVER seen anything like this. I was visiting Bahrain for the first time and no one had ever told me about toilets on the ground. I was a bit surprised, to say the least.
Well, coming from a background of camping out as a child, teenager and such, and learning early on to make due w/ what ya have, I went in, closed the door and proceeded to use a toilet that wasn't really a toilet to me, but a whole in the ground. I had on jeans... so can you imagine how difficult it is to squat at one of these things while wearing jeans!! It's not easy... I'll tell ya that much. I guess the girls wearing abayas and such have an easier job w/ it... but I found it to be quite an interesting little toilet journey.
I'll have to admit, it'd be a lot easier if they had little handle bars or something to hold on to. But NOOOO... no such luck. AND.. to make matters worse, there is NO toilet paper. Just a hose to spray yourself off w/. Which is the case w/ all the bathrooms in this part of the world. You'll find a spray hose next to the toilet but a lot of times, no toilet paper. I don't like not having toilet paper... actually, I hate that but the hose is a good way to clean up, but... I don't get the no toilet paper thing. To me it's messy and who wants to be wet??!! after going to the bathroom?!
This brings up another issue... I was reading this girl's blog a while ago and she was talking about westerners walking around w/ "shit smeared asses", to directly quote her. I guess she believes this because we don't have spray hoses in our bathrooms... but to me, these things don't get you clean, and the only true way to get clean is by the use of toilet paper. Yeah, I know... what a weird topic to talk about, but it's the truth. I mean, you can't get clean just by water alone, and I have seen several houses in my time of being in Bahrain that don't supply toilet paper in the bathrooms, and I've gone into various public bathrooms that have the toilets on the ground and/or regular toilets but no tissue paper but they all have spray hoses.
So... my question is... how do people stay clean here? Using the bidet? Well, ok.. that's one solution, but still... no toilet tissue... so, what do you do? Ok, there's soap and.... I guess you use your hand. Is that why some ppl say that Arabs don't use their left hands to eat w/ and such? I've read blogs where ppl have talked about this but never given reasons... which has always left a question in my mind... and I've asked my husband and he says it isn't the case, but it's not the feeling I get after reading some of these blogs and such. So... what gives?!
My husband told me that you're raised not to use toilet paper... only the spray hose. Ok, I understand it's a different culture, different traditions and such.... but... toilet tissue is such a clean way of doing things. He told me that at the schools, most of the toilets are on the ground and you'll never find toilet tissue... NEVER.
I don't know... I remember when I was a young girl and would visit my cousin's house. She lived in what we referred to as the boondocks. Meaning... WAY out into the country. Well, they had a nice house w/ bathrooms, but... they also had an outhouse. All the children were made to use the outhouse. It really smelled bad! And there were always flies and such flying around, but you did have toilet tissue. Not that it mattered but... there were no fancy toilet seats or such... just hard wood and a lid that you lifted and closed down after each use. Honestly, it was gross and I always hated going to the outhouse. I thought my aunt was crazy for making us kids use that, but... it didn't stop her. Actually, we'd get in trouble if she caught us using the bathroom in the house and the last thing you wanted was to get in trouble at this aunt's house... because she could be quite mean w/ the switches! So you learned real quick not to mess w/ her.
I can remember going into my husband's bathroom in the States and he had this watering pot/can next to the toilet. I've seen this before cuz my older sister had some friends from the Middle East when she was in college and they always had these things in the bathrooms - reason: the U.S. doesn't have spray hoses next to the toilets... ANYWAY... the hubby isn't the only one who had these watering cans next to the toilet... all of his friends had them as well or the ones we visited. It's kinda funny to go into the bathroom and see these. At first you kinda wonder what it's all about but then.... it's no big deal. Just like the hoses here... at first it takes some getting used to when using them, but then... you understand the reason behind it. One thing you have to be careful of is a hose that gets a little outta hand... don't want that or you could wind up seriously wet! I guess mastering these things takes a little time.... or maybe I'm a little slow! ;)
The only thing I don't understand the reason behind... is why the toilet tissue is missing from so many places and why so many ppl don't use toilet tissue. But then again, they probably think we're weird for using toilet tissue. Go figure.