When you travel far and wide you get to see a lot of different interpretations of the concept of a toilet.  Beyond the typical American seated variety, occasionally I come across an old style with the tank raised up above head height, particularly in older English locations.

Of course, when you travel to the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, the squatter is something most westerners dread.  In Japan, you have to be careful of the high tech toilets.  Because the toilets are so sophisticated they have an “idiots mode” just like most modern cameras, just so you don’t accidentally press the eject button.

In various locations there are gatekeepers who charge you to go in, no matter whether it is a #1 or a #2.  The best of these at least hand you toilet tissue and towels on your entrance, like in Belize last year. Pity the person that does not have change in these locations.

In China there were the communal toilets with no privacy, and in Thailand, I remember using a communal urinal, which was fine, except that the cleaning lady was constantly there wiping and mopping all around you.  None of the local men was fazed.

Today I had a new minor addition to the plumber’s travelling hall of fame.  A toilet with a shredder.  At least that’s how the sign behind the toilet in our room described it.  After using the toilet (or for that matter the sink or shower), a fairly loud whirring noise is heard as the sewage is “shredded” on exit from the toilet.  I am not really sure why this is necessary as the sign explains not to put anything in the toilet that doesn’t come out of your body plus toilet paper. How much is costs to repair the device if you do is spelled out in detail.

Perhaps this is a new privacy thing, and maybe I should sleep sounder knowing my waste has been properly shredded and is secure from identify theft.  Forget the bidet, a toilet shredder may become the next “keeping up with the Joneses” thing to put in your bathroom.

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