Monday 2 February 2009
Australia vs Italy: Toilet wars
If someone was to ask me the best thing about Australia and the worst thing about Italy - the answer would be the same thing.
Yes, I know there are many more deep issues I could concentrate on, but I am a lady who goes to the toilet all the time so for me, this is an important topic.
In Italy, the toilets as a whole are a filthy, dirty, smelly room with no toilet seat, never ever any toilet paper, pee all over the floors and most of the time no soap to wash your hands. And this ladies and gentlemen is not those public toilets at the train stations (which you expect to be a bit vile) but in some of the best bars and restaurants in Italy.
Picture this: a cocktail bar which sits a across the road and a level above the Colosseum. You can sit out on the terrace, drink a chilled cosmopolitan and think 'this is the life.' Until you go to the toilet and almost pass out from the retched stench. The floors are covered in grates so your heels get stuck in the pee fill holes, you don't want to touch the dirty toilet bowl, but then you don't want to touch the walls either...oh and there you have it - no toilet paper so you have to search around in your handbag in the semi-dark for a tissue.
Ok, you think, this is a way for them to get back at the drunk tourists...fair enough. So picture this. A large shopping complex in Cosenza, Calabria. You have a great variety of shops, no tourist unless they were seriously lost would find themselves here and you have...well no one really but locals. There may be no grates on the floor, and this time they do have soap to wash your hands but the staff seem to use the public bathrooms as a smoking lounge, the flush doesn't work unless you like me have learnt to push it in a particular fashion, and god forbid they should have toilet paper...no. It seems that it is against the law to have toilet paper in Italian toilets.
Then we have Australia (or Melbourne in this case.) Music often fills the public toilets in shopping centres, the cubicles are large, clean, oh and is that a full roll of clean toilet paper I see? The toilet seat looks crystal clean, the floor is spot less and the soap is a plenty.
Note to all: In Italy carry a packet of tissues with you at all times. In Australia just go to the toilet even if you don't have to as it is such a pleasant experience!