Potty Talk

Between working at a school with over 200 Vietnamese staff members and all the traveling we have done, our butts have been in a lot of bathrooms. We have started to notice some…different…behaviors than what we are used to. Following are those observations:

You have to pay anywhere from 10-50 cents to use some public bathrooms. This does not mean that they are clean, flushed, or well taken care of. One I used cost 50 cents, was missing a ceiling, had cockroaches on the floor, and no lights (maybe this wasn’t a bad thing).

You would feel less dirty going in the woods than in here.

Bathroom stall doors are optional. This makes me uncomfortable.

Most toilets don’t have seats. You just need to hope your thigh muscles are stronger than you think.

The women do not use toilet paper; they think it’s unsanitary. Instead, they have sprayers next to the toilet to use when you’re done. I tried it. I failed. I ended up missing and soaking the entire bathroom instead.

Useful for cleaning the bathroom, not your bottom.

Squatty potties are really only at the more local places. Western-style toilets are a lot more common, which means I don’t get to use the skills I acquired from all that time I’ve spent camping (also not a bad thing).

There are signs in most stalls reminding you not to stand on the seat. I guess some people prefer squatting to sitting.

A typical stall sign.

Some toilets don’t flush at all, but instead you just pour a cup of water from the giant tub of water sitting in the bathroom into the bowl and walk away. What this does, I have no idea.

Nothing that is non-human waste is allowed to be flushed down the toilets. This means all paper, etc, must be put in the trash by the toilet. This gives me the germs heebie-jeebies.

Washing your hands after you use the bathroom is not common practice. This is also heebie-jeebie inducing when you think of the people cooking your food. Don’t think of this when people cook your food.

Washed or unwashed?

Women brush their teeth after every meal. Often, two or three women will be using the same sink at the same time for this habit. At least they have good dental hygiene.


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2 Responses to Potty Talk

  1. Aunt Linda says:

    I’ve got potty stories all my own. On my first trip to France, I was in a restaurant and went to use the bathroom. It was “ala Turk” as they called them there at the time. It consisted of a gross pit with foot rests to place your feet for the squat. Contrary to your story about doorless stalls, this one had a door that went to the floor, making it into a smelly closet of sorts. Imagine my surprise, when I was set to exit, when I found that the lock had jammed. I yelled for help and when my rescuers finally arrived, they couldn’t get it open either. Finally had to ax down the door. Not too embarrassing!

  2. Brooke says:

    This is a horrible story. I am so sorry! How long were you stuck in there before you were rescued?

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