Euro-pee'in

Mike Frezon

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I don't travel much.


The only time I've been outside the continental U.S. has been on the rare foray into Montreal (not too far away from me).


I have really enjoyed CBS's The Amazing Race over the years as it has doubled as a travelogue while entertaining me at the same time.


I was surprised recently to see an episode (in season 18) in which one of the American contestants stopped to publicly pee on the exterior of an historic national library in Austria.


In the HTF thread on the current season of the show, I made a remark about "boorish American tourists" and was informed by longtime HTF member Paul D G that peeing in public in Europe is actually quite common.


Paul followed up by linking to THIS blog--which outlines various creative systems created in major European cities to "control" the public urination "problem." I also unabashedly lifted the title of this thread from that blog entry.


I figured it wouldn't hurt to share my newfound appreciation for European culture with other HTF members who might also be unaware of this phenomenon.


 

Walter C

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I was not aware it was a common thing there. I've seen a couple times of guys peeing out in the open, and even one of them tried to aim it at me, as I passing by. At the time, I thought those guys were drunken idiots.


Come to think of it, maybe not such a bad idea, especially if strapped for cash or just too cheap. Those who traveled in Europe may know what I'm talking about.
 

davesmith

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Hey, I'm a Brit. I wouldn't say pissing in public is common, but it's not unusual to go behind a bush if you're caught short, usually on nights out etc. Urinals like the one in the photo can be found in central london on friday and saturday nights.
 

Cees Alons

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The background clearly shows that it's Amsterdam. I can even tell you where.


That thing is not common.
However, during one of the many special public events (I think it was one of the Amsterdam-Marathons) they placed several of those along the trajectory to avoid wild-peeing. Of course, women sent in angry posts to newspapers.



Cees




Here are some more usual types found in our city (taken from the site of a local photo studio). Note the design, aimed to be able to see it's occupied, not be able to see too much, but allowing to count the # of pair of legs:













The older metal ones are based on a type that has been here for more than 50 years, it's called "a curl" (krul), an s-type form with two entrances, which word has become Dutch slang for a public urinal.


C.
 

Greg_S_H

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Gives new meaning to Olympic curling.


If you're an American in the bedroom, what are you in a krul? European! (stolen from Everybody Loves Raymond, certainly among others)
 

Steve Christou

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Thats nothing a friend of mine visiting China tells me he was shocked when he walked into a toilet and found men squatting over holes in the floor, no cubicles. I hope the air conditioning worked. :)




 

Paul D G

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Mike and Steve - I would highly recommend checking out "An Idiot Abroad" (Science Channel in the US - http://science.discovery.com/tv/an-idiot-abroad/) where Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant send their... uniquely witted friend Karl to see some of the wonders of the world. Frequently hysterical. I mention it specifically for Karl's experiences in public restrooms in China...
 

Richard--W

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Originally Posted by Cees Alons
However, during one of the many special public events (I think it was one of the Amsterdam-Marathons) they placed several of those along the trajectory to avoid wild-peeing. Of course, women sent in angry posts to newspapers

Are there no facilities for the ladies?
 

Paul D G

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Didn't have access last night but here is where Karl discovers Chinese toilets in An Idiot Abroad:
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Originally Posted by Cees Alons


There's a coin-op bathroom very similar to this in front of the newer entrance for the main branch of the Boston Public Library. When I was a college student living there, everybody I knew had a horror story about it. Both because it's stiflingly hot, claustrophobic, and timed -- and because all of those factors mean you don't actually take the plunge unless things are already getting pretty desperate:

 

Steve Christou

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Thanks for the video Paul, so thats what it looks like inside Chinese toilets, and no toilet paper either? eee

Originally Posted by Adam Lenhardt


it's stiflingly hot, claustrophobic, and timed -- and because all of those factors mean you don't actually take the plunge unless things are already getting pretty desperate:

Timed? What happens when time runs out Adam do the doors suddenly swing open exposing you to the outside world? The toilet flushes automatically? ;)
 

Walter C

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Originally Posted by Steve Christou

and no toilet paper either? eee

That's got to be the one of the worst things whenever using a public restroom, especially if I had to pay money to use it.
 

Martino

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I have 2 stories from Italy....and ran into two Euro-pee'in places.


I was in Florance, and walking down a back street when I noticed two tall porcelain urinals built into the outside of a building near the corner. The "collector" was at ground level, with a flush handle about 5 feet up. There were no doors or partitions at all..I guess since it was a side ally that was privacy enough.


Then later, I attended a festival in a nearby park and had to use the bathroom. when I went in there, there were stalls, but when you went in the stalls, there were 2 metal foot placement spots over a large whole - that appeared to be over a port-o-potty type pit about 8 feet down. The whole was big enough that you could have slipped and fell through...
 

Kevin Hewell

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Timed? What happens when time runs out Adam do the doors suddenly swing open exposing you to the outside world? The toilet flushes automatically? ;)

They put in one of those at one of the entrances of the largest park in Atlanta about a year ago. It's like the ones I've seen in San Francisco except this one is free. I've tried it a couple of times and found it very clean. Yes, it's timed (15 minutes, I believe) but it gives plenty of warning before the doors open. After you exit it self-cleans (toilet, sink, floor) for the next occupant. I like it much better than the other bathrooms around the park and I hope they install some more.
 

Adam Gregorich

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First off great thread title Mike! Cees I think the S shaped "bathrooms" make a lot of sense and I wish they had them here. Simple and cheap. Just bring hand sanitizer.

Originally Posted by Cees Alons

Why? They can use a FUD, can't they?

(I'll spare you the picture, especially of the more fancy ones. Google is your friend.)



Cees
 

Cees Alons

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Originally Posted by Steve Christou

...., and no toilet paper either? eee


Here's a story I told once before on the forum, but it's definitely about European public bathrooms.


It was told me by a business acquaintance at the bar at one of those fair-type occasions where you have to spend the night in another town, and he had had a few drinks too much, trying to find out the next morning if I remembered what he'd told me (I pretended I didn't).



It happened in Rome. That's Italy, so he was abroad. He may have eaten something wrong, or just too much olive oil, but while walking the streets and nice squares he got a terrible cramp. He looked around and around to find a public bathroom, but while you notice many when you don't need them, he didn't see any of those things and he tried to judge which restaurant he could honor with his visit. Just when he decided on a little pub, he also spotted a public restroom on one of the tiny squares and hastily went into it.


You know how it is when you enter "the place": you can no longer wait anymore, so he barely made it into the position. In fact all went well. After extensively doing his thing, he found out the terrible truth: no toilet paper left. Not even the inside cardboard thingy. And no tap.


What to do? He certainly couldn't leave the place in the state his, err... , he was in. It had been ample.


He felt in his pockets, but all he had were some of those huge Italian Lira notes (worth a million or so Lire each, meaning: almost nothing). He decided to use these to clean himself up. They're not made of the best material for this job, but it can be done.


Now we get to the part he hoped I forgot.


After getting relieved and reasonably cleaned as he was now, his Dutch nature kicked fully in again, and he actually couldn't bring himself to dispose of the money. He folded the notes as carefully as possible, and put them in his inside pocket. Then he quickly left the place, went back to his hotel, and it's true, washed the notes to the best he could in his hotel room, making sure they were the first ones he spent that day, and the next one.


Money just may smell after all. (Hotel rooms too.)



Cees
 

Mike Frezon

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O...M...G...
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Originally Posted by Steve Christou

Timed? What happens when time runs out Adam do the doors suddenly swing open exposing you to the outside world? The toilet flushes automatically? ;)

As Kevin noted, two things happen: 1) the bathroom unlocks for the next occupant, and 2) the bathroom starts a self-cleaning cycle you don't want to get caught in the middle of. They did a study, and found out that 20 minutes in how long it takes handicapped people to do their business, clean up, wash their hands and move out.
 

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