Hazards of travel: Using squat toilets

Most travel agents, travel books and travel articles gloss over the lesser delights of travel in many parts of the world. The reality is less than glamorous. The reality can be confronting. The reality often stinks.

I am speaking of squat toilets, a harsh reality in many parts of the world. On my trip to Thailand I was not faced with any problems but Nepal was another matter. On the trek through the Himalayas we experienced the challenges of numerous squat toilets. These included well-kept, mostly clean, cement-floored ceramic basin type toilets with an accompanying bucket of water. At the other end of the scale we encountered small smelly huts on the side of the track. These were no more than a few rickety floorboards with several boards missing; a pile of dry leaves in the corner was a toilet paper substitute (but we had our own) and no water.

Coping with this can be confronting to inexperienced travellers. The guide books are often silent on the protocols. What does one do? What are acceptable procedures? How does one manage this situation with dignity intact?

All these questions – and much more – are answered in this wonderfully useful, honest and forthright article:


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