By now, I’ve seen many examples of bad toilets, to know this is one of my least favorite subjects about India.
On a positive note: they have both, free and paid public restrooms. Wait, paid public restrooms?
Although I don’t like paying someone so I pee, I do love the idea of the public paying for their toilet use. This narrows down the occupants and guarantees slightly better and cleaner facilities. Also, this often means that the facilities are maintained and cleaned regularly, right?… right?
A row of squat toilets
I’ve never seen a string of public squat toilets before. So this was a bit of a shock to me.
This multi-squatter was the second public john I tried to use in Dharamsala.. and it was pay-for-use. The first one was free and should’ve made this list, because it consisted of a stairway to a dark basement and the smell hit me so violently, that my eyes began to water and I seriously couldn’t take another step further.
Outdoor urinals: The largest toilet in India is public and free.
It’s not like I can’t go into a bathroom that has an unpleasant odor to it. When you gotta go, you gotta go. Unless, you’ve either been traumatized by the smell of something or just overwhelmed by it.
In India, a common odor stain you’ll find is the scent of pee. Outdoor urinals are plentiful and Indian men have no problem zipping down and going anywhere. So you smell urine in streets a lot.
I mean … a lot. Virtually anywhere and in extreme cases,… everywhere…. which is another reason I avoid leaving my luggage on the ground when I wait for a bus.
If you live there, your nose may be immune to this scent. Three months wasn’t enough time for my nose to gain immunity. By my third month, I smelled it so often, my mental resilience broke down as if to say– Enough is enough. No more.
Paid Public Restrooms: Pee for Free or Pay to Pee?
Only when I started traveling abroad did I encounter paid public restrooms. As to date, I’ve experienced paid toilets in Europe, India and Thailand and in many cases, I’ve found the paid bathrooms to be better than free public toilets. Usually, there’s an attendant that sits outside and collects money. The prices range but they’re usually under 1/2 a dollar.
Sometimes, it provides tissue and sometimes, not. Most of the time, I always carry a packet of kleenex, tissues and which I always have on hand,… baby wipes (which never be flushed).
What I like about ? The rule of thumb is that if you’re paying for a bathroom, you’ll get one that’s being maintained, by a lady who cleans them regularly. Not to mention, because less people want to pay or can’t afford to pay for usage, less folks are using it; hence, it’s cleaner than most.
Not always… but generally.
Perhaps the perfume of the last public bathroom was still stained my nose, so I actually didn’t go in.
This one did appear to be well-maintained and the first long (pun intended) john with multiple toilets.