Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Tale of Two Toilets

We had an adventure today. We started off by taking the subway out to Suwon where we caught a shuttle bus to the Korean Folk Village. It's kind of like the Korean version of Old Sturbridge Village (or, Williamsburg, for those of you not familiar with O.S.V.): a collection of traditional building with roving re-enactors, craftspeople and entertainers.

I'll post some videos of what we ate today, but first I wanted to tell you about a different sort of experience. Involving toilets. Yes, that's crass, and has nothing to do with food (although I could argue that the topic IS food-related because what goes in...) but it's a good travel story so bear with me. (Or stop reading now - your choice).

Unlike most of the public bathrooms that I've encountered in the US, the restrooms here are pretty darned clean. Even the ones in the train station.So when we arrived at Suwon Station this afternoon, I thought nothing of making a quick stop in the public facilities.

A minor technical difficulty arose: there was no toilet paper in the stall I'd entered. Not an empty dispenser - there simply wasn't any dispenser. Fortunately I noticed this oddity prior to seating myself upon the throne. I left the stall In Search Of...and spotted a giant roll on the wall, next to the entrance. I'm not sure why the restroom was arranged that way (easier to maintain? fewer rolls to change) but, mission accomplished, we went on our way.

My second Adventure in Toileting came later this evening, in a restroom at the Doota Mall. This time it was the toilet seat that took me by surprise - it was warm.Not you-just-sat-down-after-someone-else-was-there-for an-hour warm; that seat was HEATED. Given where I live, this was downright startling. Those of you who have ever used the ladies' room in a Boston restaurant in winter know what I'm talking about: the don't bother to heat the restrooms and the seat are freezing. It's been cool here this week, so I was subconsciously preparing for a chilly voila, a heated seat! Astounding.

Here's a picture of this technological marvel:

Have you even seen a toilet that had its own control panel? I was in awe. When I finished my business, I tried to determine which button was for "flush." My first guess was the big red one: nope. None of the other buttons produced more than a pleasant, but ineffective, beep. Eventually I noticed this sticker posted above the toilet:

The arrow pointed to a plain-old lever. No autoflush, no electronic whizz-bang at all. I was so disappointed.

But at least I had a warm tushie.


Val said...

Wow - who knew!? You are living the good life this week. :-) The videos are great.

Kate said...

Seriously. You're going to come back too good for your old friends, aren't you? Those of us with the plain old toilets?

Thinking of you all the time! Love the videos. So excited to meet the little (running) man...