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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Twa-let by any other name is still a toilet

This is a beautifully painted squat toilet - co-ed, of course - that I encountered in back of a wine bar in Paris

Although we all have basically the same male-female equipment, bathrooms around the world seem to have evolved differently. Even the word bathroom varies from country to country. Washroom is the preferred term north of the border and the words loo, privy, ladies describes it elsewhere.
In  Tokyo I even experienced a toilet with a heated seat and sound effects, not unlike the facilities in a spa like bathroom I visited recently in a designer home.
In some countries there's an attendant outside collecting small change in exchange for toilet paper.
In Paris the facilities in restaurants usually are down a flight of stairs and sometimes they're uni-sex. So I thought I was being directed to an outhouse when visiting a winebar in the d'Aligre neighborhood.I don't speak French but when I  asked for  twa-let and I was motioned out back. It was a place  in the 12th arrondissment (district) not far from the LeGare train station and it seemed not to have changed in at least 50 years.   I stepped outside and saw a doorway in which another American was standing,  snapping pictures and giggling. It was what I know as a Turkish toilet because I've encountered them before in that country. It's also called a squat toilet - basically a hole in the floor with a reach up for the  pull flush. This one was painted a cheerful blue so I retrieved my camera for my own picture.
You'll be able to read more about this neighborhood on April 13 when the next Travel section comes out. I am working on it now.


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