Give a Shit? My Most Terrifying Toilet Experiences Around the World

When travelling, you come across a lot of interesting toilet situations. They can be squats or holes; on moving transport or in the middle of nowhere; with paper or without; using jugs of water or handfuls of rice husks to flush with. The infinite number of variables makes the unknown condition of a foreign toilet something that often plays on your mind.

Over the last seven years, I've spent untold hours with foreign toilets on my mind. Whether it's due to an overly full bladder on a long-haul bus ride, praying for an over-eager driver to pull over, or a few hours after a somewhat dodgy tasting skewer of unidentified meat that I chose to eat anyway – chances are, I've been forced to head to the nearest available bathroom, regardless of its cleanliness.

Because when you need to go, you need to go.

Bathroom sign, Ecuador

Why exactly am I writing about toilets?

Today, November 19th, is World Toilet Day, an event established to draw attention to the issue of sanitation around the globe. Travelling makes you extremely aware that we live in a world of bad hygiene, illustrated by a myriad of disgusting toilets, filthy bathrooms and dirt-filled 'cleaning' facilities.

But toilets themselves are crucial to maintaining health. As the guys at WaterAid say:

“Toilets can change everything. Germs in human waste spread disease and open defecation makes living conditions intolerable. And, without a private toilet, women and girls are vulnerable to human and animal attack.

Toilets are one of the most basic human rights, yet one in three of the world's population don't have one.”

Sadly, though, the mere act of building a toilet doesn't mean it's automatically safe to use. The clean, private toilets I know and love in England are miles away from some of the bathrooms I've experienced around the world.

Treacherous bus station bathrooms in Peru

There have been many occasions when I'd have much preferred to simply squat somewhere and be done with it. And luckily that's been an option a lot of the time. I've weed freely on beaches, behind cars, in forests and up mountains; but often it's simply not feasible.

As a female traveller, you learn the ways of foreign toilets very quickly. And number 1 in the travel rulebook states that whenever there's an opportunity to use a bathroom, you take it, even if you don't really need to go – because chances are you'll be desperate in about 3 hours, by which time there won't be anywhere to wee.

For the most part, I haven't found toilets in South America to be that disgusting. But in honour of World Toilet Day, and seeing as I recently caught an infection which the doctor told me was probably a result of “significantly dirty bathrooms”, I thought it was high time to write about some of my worst toilet experiences.

Because there have definitely been a few.

Three terrifying toilets around the world

A confusing 'volcano' toilet in Iceland

3rd place: middle of nowhere, Lithuania

We'd been travelling for a good five or six hours through the Lithuanian countryside when the coach finally pulled over. I was desperate, squirming in the back seat for what felt like a lifetime. My then-boyfriend stuffed our current roll of toilet paper into my hand, and I raced down the aisle and off the bus, to join a small queue of ladies outside a smaller wooden shack.

We were in the middle of what seemed to be a forest – but, of course, the bus engine was revving and I didn't want to risk running off to a suitably far away tree. Besides, they were barred by a line of men, spraying pee in all directions.

So I shuffled nearer to the wooden door – and eventually I caught my first whiff of the toilet, the sheer acridness of which almost made me turn and run.

The dark cubicle ahead was the stuff of nightmares. Flies buzzed erratically in the dank space; they would've flown into my mouth if it hadn't been tightly clamped shut. Placing my feet somewhere not covered in filth was impossible, so I tried to get it over with as quickly as possible, trying my best to aim into the tiny hole. Not that it really mattered; clearly a lot of people hadn't aimed that successfully.

Tiptoeing across the excrement-covered floor (seriously, how do people actually manage to poo on the floor??), I eventually got out of the cubicle and back on the bus, where I poured an entire bottle of antiseptic hand gel into my palms and spent the rest of the journey trying to forget what I'd experienced.

2nd place: Aqaba ferry terminal, Egypt

We were never supposed to spend an entire day in the ferry terminal. Arriving an hour before our boat was due to leave for the Jordanian coast, an impromptu workers strike gave our group an unprecedented eight hour stint of sitting on our bags, playing cards and avoiding drinking any water, despite the intense July heat.

Why? Because the toilets in Aqaba ferry terminal are not somewhere you ever want to go.

Eight hours is a lifetime for your bladder, though. I held out as long as I was able, but eventually I made the piteous walk to the end of the building, and handed over the requisite money to the small girl in charge of the bathrooms. A bit of a piss take really, having to pay for the following experience…

Thinking back to Lithuania, I may have preferred this place to be dark. The cubicle I was presented with – missing a door, by the way – still stands as the filthiest space I've ever seen in my entire life. The walls, which I assume had once been white, were crusted over with a cacophony of colours; a huge amount of blackened dirt and mud, but also with arcs of red and thick smears of brown in various shades. An Impressionist painted bathroom of the worst possible kind.

I don't think I need to explain what the accompanying smell was like, either.

Somewhere in the midst of this mess was a toilet bowl, with the typically Middle-Eastern touch of a seat wide enough to place your feet on and squat. Enough people had clearly done so; the grooves were caked in shit. Even if it had been relatively easy to clamber up onto the seat, the risk of slipping off into the mess was something I had no intention of doing.

I stood in the empty doorway with my mouth open. Was this even possible?! But nature doesn't stop calling, and I just had to grit my teeth and do it. The water I was supposed to drink that day went all over my hands and feet in an attempt to get clean instead.

(Note: wearing flipflops in any kind of disgusting toilet is likely to make you feel even more filthy. Because afterwards you probably will be.)

1st place: bus station, India

Ah, India. A country famed for its squat toilets, balancing-act train bathrooms, and constant public displays of urination. On my second day in India, I watched an old woman hitch up her sari skirts and proceed to defecate on a train platform. Not onto the rails, but actually on the platform. What a welcome, huh?

One particular Indian experience tops the awful toilet list, though – and it wasn't even due to uncleanliness. This was a lesson in humiliation.

A woman knee deep in garbage, India

I was on route to my friend's wedding in the Himalayas. The journey was about 12 hours, on three or four different types of transport; and though I took the utmost care to keep my fluid intake to a minimum, there came a point where I simply had to go.

Luckily, the bus pulled into an empty parking area – just open concrete and low scrubland. And as I've done in many other places, I simply followed the local women who were trotting off in another direction. Clearly they knew where to wee.

But what awaited us was completely unexpected. In amongst the grass and the scrub was a rectangular stone construction, with little walls about mid-thigh height that partly split the rectangle into three partitions.

A woman had already entered when we reached it, and as I watched, she bent down, lifted her sari skirts around her waist and proceeded to pee. In full view of anyone who cared to watch.

The reason this was so shocking to me was that these women clearly weren't happy with the situation. When I made eye contact with the woman next to me and gestured to the stone, her small nod and the expression in her eyes said it all.

This horribly public non-toilet was the only option we had.

Single sex bathroom cubicles in India

For some reason, squatting outside in nature doesn't really throw me. Of course I try to find as much privacy as possible when doing so, but still – it's a relatively normal thing to do. But the fact that people had gone to the trouble to build this construction and yet still made the users completely visible?

Something was very wrong.

Urinating and defecating is an act of human nature that puts us at our most vulnerable, our most private – and it deserves to be conducted in a relatively personal way. Being forced to allow people to watch your actions is deeply humiliating – and as a result, that toilet experience in India made a much longer-lasting impression on me than a filthy bathroom.

It's not all completely shit: the better foreign toilets I've used

The good thing is that I've also encountered a huge number of clean and hygienic toilets in my travels. Japan boasts scarily efficient creations, complete with indecipherable instructions and buttons for water jets. I've encountered compost toilets in Thailand, Ecuador and Brazil, where there's virtually no smell and the resulting compost can be used as fertiliser for plants.

Even the squat toilets prevalent throughout Asia are often really clean, hygienic, and are actually much better for your system – providing you've got strong enough calf muscles!

Instructions for a compost toilet, Thailand

Having a foreign toilet routine is crucial, too: making sure to carry your own paper or tissues, a bottle of hand gel and sometimes a bottle of water too. Perfecting the art of hovering doesn't go amiss, either.

But eventually, I always have the privilege of returning to England and using a clean, sanitary toilet. The above experiences aren't the norm for me – but they're all too usual for a large proportion of the global population.

Clean, safe toilets should be everybody's right

2.5 billion people struggle with basic sanitation issues in their daily lives. Around 700,000 children die each year from diarrhoea, which is caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. These statistics absolutely need to change – which means action must be taken.

A rural family's bathroom in Bolivia

World Toilet Day is designed as a platform for breaking taboos about these issues, and to start a dialogue about sanitation. To talk about toilets, and about the absolute necessity of adequate sanitation for the global population – which is a basic human right.

Breaking the taboo about poo!

So in order to get this subject out in the open, I want to hear your best and worst toilet stories in the comments: the gorier the details, the better. A bit of toilet humour won't go amiss, either – and the author of the most impressive story will get a little toilet-inspired something in the mail!

For more details about World Toilet Day, you can check out the main sites here and here, as well as searching the hashtags #WeCantWait and #ToiletDay. You could even write your own article about toilets and sanitation, like my friend Steph at Twenty-Something Travel. But whatever you do, try and spread the word about World Toilet Day and the accompanying issues.

Because it's quite important to give a shit.

The inside of a compost toilet: breaking the poo taboo!


About Flora

Flora Baker is the founder and editor of Flora the Explorer, where she writes about her travels around the world, her volunteering exploits and her ongoing attempt to become fluent in Spanish by talking to anyone who'll listen. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

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55 Responses to Give a Shit? My Most Terrifying Toilet Experiences Around the World

  1. Britany November 19, 2013 at 3:01 am #

    The worst was the border crossing to Mongolia. We were stuck there for five days with issues concerning the importation of our cars along the Mongol Rally and forced to camp out in a concrete parking lot. There were two toilets just outside the lot that obviously weren’t built for the regular use they encountered when our crowd of ralliers got stuck there and had to use them regularly. The holes was nearly full to the brim by the time we left and I’d have to cover my face with my shirt to fight the smell. (Adding puke to the equation wouldn’t have done anyone any good, and it almost happened a few times.) The worst part was that we’d see border officials using beautifully sanitary bathrooms in the office, but weren’t allowed near those ones.

    I never thought I’d find a toilet that I wanted to spend time on but I did at my ayahuasca retreat in the Amazon Jungle in Peru. (And not because of how often you need a toilet at an ayahuasca retreat, but because it was really wonderful.) The toilet was on a porch in our hut, facing the jungle with only a screen between you and the trees. It was like a floating Amazonian throne, and if you woke up early enough, the trees would be full of monkeys swinging from the branches. I have to admit, I felt a little weird about the monkeys watching me do my thing at first… but I got over it. They were so cute!

    • Flora November 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      The Peruvian retreat toilet sounds utterly wonderful Britany! Who wouldn’t want to do their business on a floating Amazonian throne?!

      Mongolia, on the other hand… It’s one of the worst situations when a toilet just isn’t prepared for an onslaught of people. Sometimes understandable, but it still doesn’t help! And as if you weren’t allowed to use the clean toilets! Now I’m definitely adding a She-Wee to my mental packing list for whenever I finally get round to doing the Mongol Rally :p

  2. Thomas Dembie November 19, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    Great post! I love reading about this side of travel! Indonesia provided me with some experiences on the same level as what you described above. Egypt also had some fun ones. Then there were the massive ants that loved to hang out around the toilet and wouldn’t die, even after a few stomps, at our hut near Sossusvlei Namibia!

    • Flora November 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

      Argh I would hate to be surrounded by ants in the toilet! I remember a ridiculous number of bugs and creepy crawlies when using toilets in Kenya, too – particularly at night, when it was really hard to decide whether or not to keep the headtorch on to see what was around you, or keep it off to stop said creatures from whacking you in the head!

  3. Prasad Np November 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Shitty toilets are the worst experience for a traveler, and as expected my country ranks at the bottom of the pile… I hope things change in the coming years….

    • Flora November 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

      I seriously hope things change too. You’re right, many Indian toilets weren’t the best places to visit… but they weren’t all terrible. And hopefully if enough people are aware of the levels of uncleanliness then things will improve.

  4. Julie Dawn Fox November 19, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    I’ve had many revolting toilet experiences but the most confusing was in Nairobi airport in Kenya. I went to the loo in arrivals only to find a neat turd deposited on the cubicle floor. I don’t think it was done in protest, I can only assume it was left by someone who either didn’t know how to use a sit down toilet or found the idea so unpleasant that they preferred to dump their business on the floor in an otherwise very clean facility.

    • Flora November 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

      Oh, Julie.. That’s definitely a bad one! I’ve seen the same kind of thing on occasion, and it always throws open a huge number of possibilities. Some people’s toilet-related thought processes are utterly bizarre!

      • Julie Dawn Fox November 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

        I also remember working as a cleaner in a Sydney hostel and finding a lump of poo sitting on the back of the toilet seat. I can see how it might have happened if you hover but I couldn’t understand why it was left there. I’m the kind of person who would be mortified to leave a drop of wee on the toilet seat for someone following me to the toilet to find, let alone a pyramid of shit!

  5. Greg November 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    This is gross but a strangely compelling read!

    I have been in plenty of bad toilets abroad but some of the worst I’ve come across are in England. It seems a lot of people are just utterly disgusting and selfish when it isn’t their own property – case in point, toilets at music festivals!

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

      Great to hear it’s a compelling read for you, Greg! I totally agree – some of the worst toilets I’ve dealt with have been at music festivals. But at least those are only used for a finite period of time, which is why I think the ones I’ve listed above are somewhat worse!

  6. Spencer November 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    As the son of a plumber, who has spent countless summers working on and around toilets and their systems, I have often thought about what might be the best way to contribute to better plumbing situations in the poverty-stricken parts of the world.

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

      I’m sure there are a ton of different options you could explore, Spencer – how about getting in touch with some of the health and sanitation departments in different countries? At the very least there’d probably be an ability to host workshops and talks about better plumbing – and at the other end of the spectrum, maybe working with teams of plumbers to improve the systems they already have in place?

      • Liswaniso October 7, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

        Improved municipal service delivery in the transport sector is what I am working on here in Zambia, southern Africa. Many of our bus stations in rural Zambia have no toilets. Commuters dont wash their hands after visiting the loo because of luck of running water and soap. I marvel at them when they start eating food or shaking hands forgeting that they didnt wash their hands and are passing dirt to others. We need help with dry toilets and other solutions to our toilet challenges. Private Public Partnerships can help sort out this mess

        • Flora October 16, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

          That’s really great to hear, Liswaniso. I hope you manage to install more dry toilets soon and meet the hygiene and sanitation issues that you currently face 🙂 Best of luck!

          • Liswaniso October 17, 2014 at 6:00 am #

            Thanks for the encouraging words. Its work in progress.

  7. Colleen Brynn November 19, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    I wish I had known about toilet day earlier because I could have done my own post like this! Actually I have been planning it (I am armed with lots of GREAT photos *ahem*), and I could have had it ready for today had I known. Oops.
    I have too many toilet stories to share them in a comment here… most notably, I remember the little three walled structures over big pits that constituted toilets in Mongolia. I was always so afraid of tripping and falling into the pit…

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

      Seriously, what is it with the compulsion to take photos of terrible toilets when you’re travelling?! I have too many!

  8. Sally November 20, 2013 at 3:27 am #

    My toilet stories aren’t all that bad, but anytime there’s a slick, clear and smelly liquid on the bathroom floor, I gag and get the heeby jeebies for at least an hour afterwards. Prime culprits: usually gas stations, sometimes in the USA, too. Eek.

    And I will now wear shoes for the rest of my traveling career, there is no way I want to end up with my toes in any unknown substances while on the road! Ahhhhhh.

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      “Slick, cleasr and smelly liquid”… Ah Sally, the joys of bathroom travel!

  9. Casey November 22, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    Just skimmed, but seems you have missed the pleasure of the squat toilet! I’ve heard these are common in Japan, but I experienced them in Ukraine. A long tiled slit in the floor over which you squat, hence the name. :^P The worst experience with these was one in an below ground restroom that had no light. I wasn’t about to feel around for proper placement, so bailed and my wife stood guard while I used the women’s toilet that at least had one bare 20W lightbulb.

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      Casey that sounds awful! Although at least then you were spared the misfortune of actually glimpsing what was hiding inside the squat..

      Actually two of the toilets I mentioned were squats, but I didn’t have photos of them for adequate illustration purposes. The vast majority of foreign toilets I end up using are squats, though – and actually are often more hygienic than regular toilets, so I ultimately prefer them!

  10. Chandan M. November 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Hi Flora,
    The principal at my old school once told us that whenever he visited another school, for an audit for example, the first thing he did was to walk into the toilets and check them. He said that that gave an idea of the whole institution in an instant. Not only the basic facilities and cleanliness but also the graffiti on the walls.
    I think how people keep their toilet shows how much attention they are willing to pay to a very important job that no one wants to do.

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      What a good idea from your old principal! It’s true – your basic levels of hygiene in such an important place as the bathroom is definitely a good indication of your attitude to hygiene overall!

  11. Felipe 8a November 23, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    I have a tip for everybody, normally when you go to a Public bathroom, you don’t seat in the toilette, so you poo like a parachute and move fast to the side ,but the smash or the landing / the diving in the water , returns so fast that you get some sprinkles. jajaj yes everybody has suffer this don’t worry… but the solution is to trow some paper before the action so it helps to have a nice landing without the SPLASHHH.

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

      Jajaja Felipe, amazing!! Muchas gracias por eso :p I’ve never tried throwing paper down beforehand to avoid the splash – good techniques from a true master, clearly!

  12. Ryan November 24, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Oh wow I love you for writing this. All around, I think the most important think for any country is to provides a clean and safe place to do your business. I had the awkward pleasure of attempting a balancing act on a Thai squat toilet in a bus station. I felt like I was going to catch something or fall in….

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      Please, Ryan, PLEASE don’t fall into a Thai squat!!

  13. Andreas Moser November 27, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    When you go to Iran, take plenty of toilet paper. There ain’t none.

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

      Good to know, Andreas! I usually carry at least some kind of paper or tissue wherever I am in the world – being caught out is never fun!

  14. Lisa December 2, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    This blog does nothing to lessen my fear of toilets during travel as we head into Iran, Pakistan and INdia and all the way to Singapore.

    My fear has however already been confirmed on more than several occasions that toilets and sanitation are a huge problem in this world. 50 countries in and on the road for 30 months and THIS, in Poland, takes the biscuit so far!

    We will be out there raising awareness where we can moving forward in the hope that the future brings sanitation and toilet facilities to the whole planet!

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      Aww Lisa, sorry for the reality check! But at least you’ll be prepared for whatever those Asian toilets throw at you (not literally – dear lord, that would be horrible!!)

  15. Ben December 3, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Great post raising awareness of these issues. I’m fortunate enough to not have experienced anything as horrendous as these (my girlfriend suffered in China when she was shocked to find holes in the ground in even the nicest of restaurants.. toilets some places and not others!)
    But it really is eye opening (and eye watering!) to think of the lack of sanitation and hygiene in these countries amd i wonder how long it will be before they catch up with Western sanitation.

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

      I don’t think it’s necessarily the idea of “catching up with Western sanitation”, as squat toilets are actually much better for your body and ultimately more hygienic to use than Western toilets!

      That said, the actual task of keeping these spaces clean and sanitary is the real goal for many developing countries. Hopefully advances will continue to be made, though!

  16. Mish December 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    I have absolutely no tales that can match yours or any of your readers’ experiences. But I think this post is absolutely fantastic: so many travellers come across these toilet hygiene/dignity issues, but rarely write about them because they’re not very “delicate” subjects.

    I love how you’ve highlighted an important problem in this funny, gross and informative post!

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog, and I’ll definitely be returning for more. Yup: you’ve gained a new reader through poop!

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      Haha that’s very true Mish – I’ve had innumerable conversations with fellow travelers about toilets around the world, but there doesn’t seem to be that many write ups about them. It’s a shame really, as it’s such a hilariously horrible topic to write about!

      Wonderful to hear that poo has gained me a reader. Hope you enjoy everything else I write about! Alas there isn’t that much more writing about poo here though…

  17. Hannah @ Getting Stamped December 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    LOVED reading this story! I am really nervous about the toilets in India!

    • Flora December 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      Don’t be scared, Hannah! There are certainly some terrible ones in India but the country’s pretty huge and there are also a lot of perfectly decent bathrooms 🙂 That said, be prepared: a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of hand sanitizer will be your best friends – keep them on you ALWAYS!

  18. victoria March 28, 2014 at 4:06 am #

    I still remember ‘the toilet that broke me’. I’d been quite used to the toilet inside the bath phenomenon, and also used to not having running water, or even clean water with which to bathe and flush the toilet. Out in the desert– fine. Sun and arid climate kind of bleaches things clean. The toilet I speak of now is in Puerto Nuevo, a small fishing village east of Barranquilla. It is on the side of a large, shallow bay, which breeds more mosquitos than fish. The toilet was in the back room of the fish-sellers house. When I woke up with a stomach virus (the combination of bad toilets and stomach viruses could maybe a sub-article in your indictment), the door of my sleeping quarters was completely blocked by an enormous rotweiler, who was growling viciously. He scared the shit out of me. When I finally managed to get to the toilet, it wasn’t just the rats climbing up the cement walls, the pitch dark room, or the fact that this toilet-in-a-bath had no drain (what happened to the bathwater?) The bucket of water provided to wash myself after vomit/ diarrhea episode was the left over from the water they had cleaned fish with earlier that day.

    • Flora April 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

      Victoria, this could well win the ‘worst toilet’ award!! Absolutely horrific to be feeling so ill, face the most dire of all bathrooms and then to wash your hands with old fish water?!

  19. Christie April 17, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    My best toilet experience (although somewhat strange) was in Switzerland, where toilet seats are automatically sprayed with a sanitizer when you stand up. Odd, but nice to know that things are clean I suppose.

    My worst toilet experience was on a train traveling through India, where my husband had to hold me up while I held my skirt to urinate over a hole directly onto the train tracks. Talk about marital intimacy.

    So glad to see the awareness you’re spreading for proper sanitation.

    • Flora April 25, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

      It’s great when travelling gets you out of your comfort zone, huh?! And I’m slightly terrified at the idea of automatic sanitiser – what if you didn’t stand up quick enough?

  20. Tracey May 26, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Great post – love it! I had a hideous toilet travel experience which I have detailed on my blog, and thus felt the need to suddenly read about other peoples terrible travel toilet stories.

    You have certainly had your fair share of shockers.

    I have had two awful experiences, one in Venice (Italy) and one in Meteora (Greece). The Greek mud hole was a very deep (couldn’t see the bottom). I had to put my feet either side of the hole, and when I stood there my feet started to slide inwards. I had images of sliding down into the dark dirty abyss. Needless to say I packed up shop real fast and got the hell out of there. It was painful to hold on for another hour, but better than ending up a casualty down that hell hole.

    • Flora June 2, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

      Sliding down the mud into a dark dirty abyss is probably an image that will haunt me for a very long time, Tracey.. No Greek roadside toilets for me!!

  21. Liswaniso October 7, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    Very good work. I love your writing. Please continue with the same spirit. We need proper toilets

  22. Richard November 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    As someone who has had to “dig out” an outhouse after two years of use, I am a scarred, twisted and altogether fragile individual. It’s amazing what this can do to you. After completing the Herculean task, I tore of my clothes – we were in the Canadian Rockies not all too many people around – and naked, threw them into a fire since I never wanted to be reminded of this moment.

    So, I suppose, what I am getting at is that, it’s better to be on the shit caked floor of the commode than beneath it. Suck it up, it’s part of travel to enjoy the dali-esque forms of faeces frozen on the salt flats of Uyuni, the piss flooded urinals in Egypt and the mystery that surrounds the ability by an individual to carefully position their poop on the toilet seat and then stick a pencil in it in Nepal. All true.

    We are hardened warriors of the bog.

  23. Fiona July 20, 2016 at 10:36 am #

    This is nothing compared to the stories I have read in this article, but my worst toilet experience so far was in Crete.

    I visited the bathroom in a local Subway, and most people by now know about Greek toilets- paper cannot be flushed, it must be placed in a bin beside the toilet.

    So I entered a cubicle (which was incredibly dark) and the smell was completely overpowering. As I did my business, I couldn’t help but notice that the (uncovered) bin was overflowing with used paper, some of it covered in shit stains. There were even used tampons and fanny pads, which weren’t wrapped in toilet paper or in bags- just lying there, soaked in blood. I was nearly sick.

    • Flora July 24, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

      Woah that sounds like an awful experience, Fiona – I can only imagine how sick you must have felt!

  24. notthenakedpooper September 26, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

    We recently hired a IT/IS worker who is from Pakistan and in America through a work visa program. We are a small business at <20 people in my office building and even fewer men. Eight men share one bathroom in this building and there’s two stalls with doors and one open urinal. Things were great and the toilet situation was of no concern until our new IT/IS teammate arrived.

    It all started rather oddly as I walked in the bathroom to notice a person was in the larger disabled person stall, with the door closed and was getting completely undressed. I thought it odd, but maybe someone was heading to the gym for lunch and changing cloths here in the office. Then a day later one of my employees asked me if I noticed someone was stripping completely naked to use the toilet and take a poo. It would be rather odd and funny if this was all of the story. Pooping completely naked at work is strange but it’s not affecting anyone too much. The week this IT/IS teammate started, and the reports of the “Naked Pooper” started to come in, I also noticed the urinal stall was completely covered in pee. The floor under the urinal was drenched in pee. An enormous amount 3” to 4” curly hairs began to cover the urinal. They spread to the floor and began to reproduce as if they were Gremlins, add water and they multiply! Anyhow, being the understanding person I am, I did not want to jump to judgement.

    Then the time came later in the week where I needed to use one of the doored stalls to take a poop at work. I mistakenly choose the handicap stall where the “Naked Pooper” was seen and all of his reported sightings had been recorded. The stall is larger to accommodate a person with disabilities and the entire floor was infested with these 3” – 4” dark black curly hairs. The floor around the toilet was also tacky and you could tell covered in piss just as the urinal. Those long curly hairs were all over the bowl, in the bowl and sitting even on the lid of the toilet tank. How did they get all the way up there on their own? So piss and thick black hair everywhere…Like the urinal but over a larger area…A massive area. Then when I lifted the lid of the toilet there was several streaks of feces inside the bowl. Like someone flushed but it stuck to the side like a textured wall covering in a dark black/green streak of shit. Now we have a toilet brush and plunger directly next to the toilet to clean up after yourself if needed, heck emergencies happen. Well it’s needed but not used by the “Naked Pooper”. It’s getting unbearable and I keep getting complaints. As the only Vice President in this office who is a man…I field several complaints about how disgusting the bathroom has become thanks to the “Naked Pooper”.

    My dilemma is how should I proceed. The “Naked Pooper” does not report to me and I brought it up to his Director, yet it continues. Today is Monday and we have the restrooms cleaned every weekend. By noon today there were over 50 hairs, piss soaked floors and the toilet has a huge streak of poo smeared inside the bowl…on day one of the work week. I stumbled onto your site while looking for Muslim bathroom ethics and enjoyed the read. But I am desperate on how to stop the “Naked Pooper” and the biological Jihad he is waging daily in our restroom before someone gets seriously sick. Any suggestions of advice?


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