Captain’s Log (Part 2)
by matt carlson
To answer your first question about “how did the relieving of waste materials” go? Well, yes it was very complicated. I guess I should have asked someone about those things. Who would’ve known that in order to urinate or deficate (pee or poop), that one has to go into a specific room, often referred to by Americans as the BATHROOM! There are no bathing rooms on the streets of Paris! “Toilets” yes; there are lots of toilets – just not very many available to an unaware ALIEN public (that’s me) or perhaps you too…
What you must absolutely know here in Paris is that when the “urge” come upon you to relieve yourself of bodily liquids or solid ones’, that you need to find a “toilette”. No one will understand you if you start asking about a “bathroom” or “salle de bain” in Fench. They’ll be wondering why in the heck do you want take a bath??
So, next you’ll need to know how to discover the where-a-bouts of toilets in Paris. The last remaining public urinal is actually still standing in the 13th district next to an old prison. It is often used for historically related films to this day. Who knows why they no longer exist. This last one looks like a dark green cage and smells very bad – but it works – and it’s free. So if you’re in the neighborhood, you’re in luck! If not, know this: there are metallic grey toilet structures on the streets that you must usuallly pay for. Sometimes they are free. If you see large families of Lebanese nearby, I mean living nearby, then you have found a free one. Just make sure you give time for the current Lebanese inside it to come out and for the mechanism to flush, otherwise you’re gonna see some unwanted eye candy in the toilet bowl….
If you don’t find any of these structures or (god forbide) or if you don’t have any change for the paying one you just discovered – don’t run inside and try to use it for free!! Once you have sat down and begun the process of relieving yourself, a terrible alarm will begin ringing! Like for a fire, but even worse! “RING! RING! RING!” AND then, the door will open exposing you to everyone outside on the streets NOW staring in your direction!!! (No, of course this didn’t happen to me – and no those were not my two jack russels also running alongside me, while with my free hand I attempted to pull my pants up…:))) ha, ha, ha,…well, it’s funny now I suppose.
The best bet is to go to a café, order something to drink and then excuse yourself to go to the toilet. Most of the time, you don’t pay for it and the toilets are on occasion clean.
Sometimes you may come across what is called a Turkish Toilet, which is simply a hole in the ground with two designated foot prints on the ground. Those foot prints are the ideal location for YOUR feet as you squat down and do your business. Strong knees are recommended….
Oh, yes and by the way – get into the habit of carrying toilet paper, because sometimes “surprise, surprise” there won’t be any….
Did I mention that at the train stations you must pay Madame or Monsieur Pee-Pee in order to use those facilities?….Ha, ha, ha, well at least they are usually clean.