I have fond memories of my great grandmother's house in rural Waihi. She was a dairy farmer. A fierce one too. She milked cows twice a day until she was into her 90s. She had an outside loo and she didn't seem to mind. It was just what she was used to. It was a small, rickety, old shack with vines creeping all over it. I was always terrified that spiders lived in the vines and that they would jump in my hair when I walked under them. There is a photo of me, aged five, sitting pants down on the toilet, door wide open (to my dismay, this photo made a cameo at my 21st). The worst part about outside loos is the going at night! The thought still sends shivers up my spine. Yeah, that late night cup of tea really is not worth it.
As I get older, I've discovered I like to know where I can find a good loo if I need it. Perhaps it's because I have kids who always seem to need to wee whenever we go anywhere. Maybe I am just becoming a little more fussy. However, when it comes to traveling abroad, one must forgo all desire for luxurious toileting experiences. Because as soon as you leave familiar territory, all toilet bets are off. There is no knowing what your are going to get. This was what I discovered when a long, long time ago (before kids) I went on a trip with my partner Andy, to Europe.
It was a bit crazy really. We'd only been together a few months when my lovely parents surprised me with a trip to Holland with them to see my extended family for a reunion. The return ticket was for three months later. Three months! This was tricky. Do I leave my new found love for three whole months? Or ask him to come with me? I went for the latter. Luckily, my parents didn't mind at all. In fact they were glad.
The best way to know if you have found 'The One' is to spend 3 months with them in a Volkswagen Transporter, hanging out with your crazy parents. (don't worry, my parents had their own van!) That is a very good test to see if you will last. We did. And nine years later we are still going strong.
Japan - The bum squirter.
Holland - The poo shelf or viewing platform.
France - The squat
Andy did tell me that to poo, he had to totally remove his pants and hang them up. Otherwise you risk getting them wet with the remnants of the last punters flush. Comfortingly though, most private homes do not have a squat. They have a normal kiwi toilet! As far as I could tell, the squat was a public toileting option. And, my least favoured.
However, after researching the health benefits of squatting, I am almost tempted to convert! According to naturesplatform.com, squatting can prevent colon cancer, appendicitis and IBS. Whereas modern toileting can cause fecal contamination of the small intestine. Ewww! This is because when we are seated the ileocecal valve does not close off as it would if the muscles were engaged in the squat position, allowing poop bacteria to travel back up the colon into the small intestine. Sounds gross huh. Maybe squatting isn't so bad after all!