Tales From The Toilet – Lombok, Indonesia

We pulled up to the petrol station on our newly rented Honda scooter and I was cursing myself for not going to the washroom before we left.  With my fear of public toilets, especially in foreign countries, I thought it best to go now before I find myself in a worse situation if I held it.

Following the direction sign to the Musholla, I made my way to the back of the petrol station.  Gas stations in general (especially in North America) have been given a bad rap – picture Hollywood horror flicks with zombies hiding in the stalls or serial rapists waiting for unsuspecting women to come in.  This gas station impressed me though.  It was big and clean, and nothing like back home.  Come to think about it, I feel bad for the gas stations I normally frequent at home.  If they could see this one it would probably hurt their feelings that they weren’t cleaner or better looked after.

I approached the washroom fearing the unknown and was immediately stumped when I came across two doors labeled Wanita and Pria.  Putting my university education to good use, as well as common sense, I knew that one must mean man and the other woman.  Perplexed, I stared at the doors, half hoping that a local would appear around the corner and I could make awkward hand gestures and speak to them in a foreign language (English) that would hopefully lead to themdirecting me to the right room.  No one came.Being a beginning grade one teacher, I thought it best to put my reading strategies to test:1.) Break the word(s) into chunks.2.) Find

smaller words within larger words.3.) Look for clues within the sentence that might help identify the meaning of the word.  (As there was no sentence I interpreted this as also meaning take a look in each washroom and see if one has hand lotion in it or a loofa)In the end I decided that Wanita related to “woman” in English because they both started with W.  The ita in Wanita sounded a lot like Senorita in Spanish, which also means “woman”.  My last strategy didn’t really pan out.  Unfortunately both rooms looked exactly the same and there were no hidden clues, but I was 2 for 3 and that was good enough for me.  Wanita it was!

My next hurdle to overcome was the actual toilet.  The polar opposite to those fantastic Japanese inventions, this one was a squat.  It is in these very instances that I do truly wish to be a man. Having the power to aim would be a wonderful thing and I would never, and I say NEVER have to worry about peeing on my own feet.  Luckily for me this was not my first encounter with a squat toilet and I felt like quite the traveler knowing exactly what I needed to do.  From earlier instances of the aforementioned technicality I had learned that in order to get a better stance while squatting I needed to take at least one leg out of its pant leg (this allows a better vantage point, my legs are able to widen a little more and it prevents the pants from dragging on the dirty floor – which I know from personal experience is often covered in pee).  After limbering up like a gymnast I was ready to do the deed.  Fortunately, I had done quite a few squats at the gym to prepare myself for the likes of these.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared to squat for so long.  My legs began to burn and shake, and all I could think about was, “Man, I’d have killer thighs if I had to use these toilets everyday!”

I should mention that in my haste to get to the washrooms I brought my motorbike helmet with me.  If I have not already painted a clear enough picture, imagine it all with a helmet on my head, as there was no way I was going to set that puppy on the ground!

When I finished I quickly exited the bathroom only to see a man exiting the door beside me labeled Pria.  I hoped that I had picked the right one but wasn’t sure because the man gave me a rather dirty look.  A look that might suggest I was just another stupid tourist who used the wrong washroom, or a look of disgust due to the smell of urine emanating from my feet.  Which ever it was, I was relieved, the deed was done, and we were on the road again!

– Katherine

P.S. I Googled the translation for Wanita after we returned from our journey, and I had picked the right door.  I guess that meant the dirty look wasn’t from me entering the wrong room…

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Categories: Lombok, Tales From The Toilet, Travel Tales

Author:Thomas & Katherine

A love for travel, adventure, and photography. We just can't help but write about it!

3 Comments on “Tales From The Toilet – Lombok, Indonesia”

  1. Buddhabelly
    August 6, 2010 at 7:16 pm #

    Good thing your not a sqauw..never know what that man would of done!!! LOL


  2. Multi-tasking
    August 7, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    I just exercise my brain by reading while I sit on the toilet. But you are taking multi-tasking to another level – exercising your thighs while on a squat toilet. Very efficient.

    Love, dad


  3. Anonymous
    August 27, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    Where’s the Bali brush??


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