Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Everyone's got to go

From high born to low, everyone has got to go!

Here in Arabia, you never know what you're going to find when you ask for the loo.

Actually, not many people will understand what the loo means, or the WC, or restroom, or washroom or bathroom or powder room, or any other slightly more delicate term for the sought for space. The problem is language and pronounciation.

I've given up trying to be discrete and have sunk to asking strange men (most of the population here consists of men...Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi...) in my clearest enunciation, for the whereabouts of
the women's toilet!

They seem to take it in stride...bless their hearts!

While I, at least for the first two months, writhed internally.

toilet sign at a safari camp in the desert, with palm screening

high class, high style at The Address Hotel in Dubai Mall

Note the backlit screening under the sinks...definitely Arabic design.

Screening and arches...more Arabic design at Ibn Buttata Mall.

Each stall has its own arched doorway in lovely cherry wood. The walls and doors go all the way to the floor for complete privacy.

Not too shabby for a desert camp...not too shabby at all!

Repetition always looks tidy.

How clever is this...little flush or big flush...sensible in a desert country.

At the malls there is a choice...asian/arabic squat toilet or western toilet... both come with sprayers and toilet paper.

Treads so you don't slip. Be mindful of what is in your pockets as your trouser pockets will be hanging upside down. Lots of cell phones and keys have been lost here.

burled walnut stall doors of the Burj Al Arab...with gold framing!

gold leaf mirror frame and vanity edges at the Burj Al Arab

Now, not every facility is astonishingly nice, some are just astonishing.

"Yes, we have, says the fellow at the country vegetable souq, wobbling his head in a reluctant yes, or halfhearted no, "but not for you ma'am...not for you."

He's not being mean...he wants to spare me misery.

Those are the places where you have someone else hold your things, and ask that someone to stand in front of the door that won't close, and you get in and out as fast as you time for pictures. Even if you could, you wouldn't.

I just put on my very best nonplussed face like I'm perfectly ok with this kind of place, and swing the door open, trying not to break the hinges...if there are hinges. If I took a picture, I'd give myself away...

Well now, what's this may be the perfect delicate answer to the question of what to call the facility...

Next time I may just ask for the prayer room!!!