Friday, September 09, 2011

Germany 1: Le toilettes

A word about showers. And plumbing. And toilet paper.

The United States is not perfect. We have many problems to solve. Foreigners, i.e., some of the people SH works with and with whom we had supper last night, are more than happy to tell me what is wrong with my country.* I don't like political discussions with my own husband and he is stuck with me because he for sure does not want to get divorced twice, plus, the 50% down payment on the house was with my money, so sorting out the mortgage and the ownership of the house would be a real pain in the neck. Fortunately, we do have duplicate copies of our college yearbooks - SH would not let me discard the extras when we merged households - so that would not be an issue.

If I don't want to talk about politics with my own husband, why would I want to talk about them with someone who has power over his employment? That is a lose/lose situation. So I just smile and nod and bite the inside of my cheek furiously as I listen to my country being described in ways I do not like.

Perhaps the next time the issue arises, I should say smugly, "At least we have fabulous showers in my country."

For indeed that is true.

I have yet to bathe in a foreign country where the showers are better than ours, much less even as good as.

I can't believe I didn't write about this when we went to France last year. Perhaps I have just accepted that when abroad, I am not going to have a strong, hot shower. The Hilton in Paris - which was no slouchy dive - had a crummy shower. There was almost no water pressure, which I guess was a good thing for the French way of containing water in the tub is to have a glass panel that goes only halfway along the tub. This glass panel serves two functions: It releases all the heat from the shower so that it is dangerous to shave one's legs unless one just wants to cut off the top of each goose-bumped follicle and have a bloody mess and it lets the water out of the stall so that the floor is soaking wet by the end of the shower.

The Germans at least use shower curtains. However, their taps are designed so that warm is an average of hot and cold. That is, the water alternates between scalding and icy. On average, it is warm.

And at least the Germans understand the concept of the elbow joint or whichever joint it is you use in your drains to keep the sewer gas from coming up through the shower drain and making the bathroom reek, SPAIN. SH and I had to keep a candle going all night long in the bathroom in our hotel in Segovia.

But they have crummy toilet paper. So do the Dutch. And the French. And everyone else. So I'm jingoistic. Sue me. By the time you get me, I'll be clutching my soft, white toilet paper and admiring my beautiful, high-pressure, warm shower in my nice-smelling bathroom.

* That was the only part I didn't like. Other than that, SH's co-workers are truly lovely people.


Sam Sattler said...

...wait until you travel in a country like Algeria or Tunesia. Spain will look wonderful by comparison, believe me. At least "sit down" toilets are the norm there. :-)

Good luck on your efforts to remain silent when absolutely necessary. It's always fun to "travel" with you, BTW. I'm already enjoying the trip.

Fijufic said...

Nice post. I have heard the toilet/bathroom concept mentioned on a few occasions although my wife likes to point out the bidet aspects of her family toilets in the Dominican republic...

LPC said...

Oh yeah. We rock indoor plumbing in the U S of A.

Dorrie said...

toilet paper has gotten better in Germany in the past years... they are finally getting away from using the junky re-cycled stuff. You can even buy Charmin now! lol

Class factotum said...

Sam, I do remember the toilets in Morocco. The irony with those toilets is that they are often the cleanest.

Fuji, I used the bidet to wash my socks the first time I encountered one.

LPC, nothing like traveling in the 3rd world to make one appreciate our plumbing.

Dorie, we stayed in three different hotels and it wasn't until we got to the Marriott that we got good pillows and good toilet paper. But I am glad to know that the average German does not have to suffer with the rough stuff. It hurts. And it doesn't work. If you know what I mean.

A Library Girl said...

Heh, the last time I was visiting relatives in Germany, I was given a talking to for showering every day. I ended up compromising - I still showered every day, but I considerably shortened the time the showers took. One thing I do miss about Germany is the size of the bathtubs. I remember Germany having really nice, deep bathtubs.