Italian Bathrooms Adventures part two

maria Maria's Blog

gabinetto all turca This happened a few evenings before my flight back home. Dinner time in Vicenza, home of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. It was my last must do item, eat polenta e baccala’ (a local dish) at Righetti.  It’s a landmark, been around forever and while it’s touted as self service is not the typical American style self service and you pay through the honor system.

We sat outside under the trees, the evening was perfect and I was delighted to hear English spoken at several tables. By the way, you set your own table, and then you also clean it. Before leaving I went to use the bathroom. There were 3 doors. Men, handicap and the one in the center, for ladies. Two women stood by the middle door, whispering…they glanced at me and whispered some more. I tried to hear what they whispered about and realized they spoke English.

“Excuse me.” I said, “Is there something wrong? May I help?”

I had their full attention. They looked at each other, nodded and flung the ladies’ bathroom door wide open. Then the chubby one pointed to the floor and with a look of horror on her face said. “There is a hole.”

Indeed it was what’s known as a gabinetto all turca (Turkish toilet?). I forced myself not to laugh and explained it was considered hygienically good because you squat and don’t really come in direct contact with anything since you have shoes on where your feet stand. The young one nodded, exchanged more glances and finally went in and closed the door. I prayed she didn’t get her feet drenched when she flushed, but I guess all went well. I waited for the chubby one to go, but she wasn’t buying it, she insisted I go first and when I asked why? Her answer made perfect sense, “I can go in and squat, that’s easy, but how am I going to get back up?” I guess I’ll never know, I left before she closed the door.

Perhaps it’s time to retire the Turkish toilets???

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  1. I’ve heard that many counties have “conveniences” that are essentially just a hole in the floor (so much for the euphemism “convenience”) and I pray I never encounter one since it would leave me in deep doo-doo (literally!). Being handicapped, I cannot merely squat, then stand back up (“Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up” can be very real for me and has resulted in occasional, potentially embarrassing situations at home, such as the time I had sat down in my rolling chair in my bedroom right after a shower, leaned over to pick up something, and the misbegotten chair rolled out from under me, then landed on top of me, leaving me wedged between the wall and my bed with the accursed chair plated firmly on top of me without a stitch of clothing on; I had “fun” extricating myself from that situation.). Getting back to upright after squatting not only would be a chore, it would probably be quite messy.

    Hopefully, if I ever need to “attend to business” in a location that prefers a hole in floor (I’ve heard various names for them but Mama told me not to use those words), the handicapped stalls will have a toilet or a bidet!

  2. You know, you’re not the first one to tell me that, I think a bar should be installed to help people to get up or at least feel some kind of help. I hope they just get rid of those old toilet, if you can call it that.

  3. Btw, I forgot to mention (old age sucks) that I thoroughly enjoyed your last two short stories about Lella and Mina. The only things I didn’t like was they ended too soon! I’m looking forward to your next full length books!

    1. Thanks Jeannie, I have the new series almost ready to go but something else (life) keeps interrupting. Thank you for your kind words and your patience, and by the way…did you post a review????

  4. There are so many things I could say about this, but none of them are printable. LOL! I would definitely have to have some kind of handhold to help me coax my knees into coming back out of the squat. Seriously, this was not invented by a woman–and I don’t even want to think about trying it in high heels! Wow!

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