Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I apologize in advance for the Potty Pic

One of the things I didn't really consider the first time I came here was the lack of toilet paper. As you can see in the picture, I've come to understand that the women generally use that little hose attached to the wall to spray themselves, and that's about it. Luckily I always carry tissues in my purse, but it would've led to quite the awkward situation were that not the case.

I should clarify here that most of the touristy places, hotels, etc are equipped with TP, so it's not anything to be worried about if you travel here. And one of the employees invited us over to his house last night and he was very proud to show us the special bathroom he'd had built just for his Western guests. But all of the country-side places we've been - like at my client's, local restaurants... definitely do not. So unless you're into the whole "When in Rome" thing, it pays to come prepared in this country.

This may be TMI, but what I'm still wondering is how they do it - it'd be like showering part of yourself several times a day and not drying off afterwards!

Also, another question for anyone familiar with the Tunisian culture - I've noticed a lot of the men use the masculin form with me. As in "vous etes americain ?" or 'vous etes chanceux". And I'm curious as to why - is it a sign of respect ? As in I'm a position of power and it'd be derogatory to use the feminine? Or is it something much simpler (like them just maybe not speaking French that well)? I really have no clue!

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Blogger parlez-vous-kiwi said...

It's not TMI, we need to know these things (will carry tissues with me).

What I find even grosser is in Turkey, where you don't put the toilet paper IN the toilet but next to it, in a basket. It just felt wrong.

May 1, 2009 at 12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The things you learn on this blog ... I'm going to Istanbul this summer, so thanks for the toilet paper info, parlez-vous-kiwi!

May 1, 2009 at 2:02 AM  
Blogger Nikita said...

funny that you mention that, parlez-vous-kiwi... they do the same thing in mexico! (putting the paper in the waste basket beside the toilet and not flushing it...)

May 1, 2009 at 2:47 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Rather like a bidet I guess. They had fancy toilets in Korea where if you wanted, you pushed a button and a sprayer built into the toilet itself shot water out.
When we were re-doing our bathroom, Alain's father asked "what, no place for a bidet?!"
Yeah right. They have one but never even use it, why would put one in?

May 1, 2009 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger jonnifer said...

My sister lives in the Philippines and there they use a
bucket of water with a cup in it. I am seriously confused by the concept. Do you splash it on you? Pour it on you? Does this flying water really clean you off? Apparently it's so hot there that getting dry is not an issue.

And when there is TP, it goes in a trash can next to the toilet, like parlez-vous-kiwi said about Turkey. That's apparently because the plumbing can't handle toilet paper. What is really gross and annoying is that my sister and her gf keep doing it when they visit the US. Ugh!

May 1, 2009 at 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ran into the no tp and the Turkish toilets during my summer in Tunisia. At one point my family took me to visit the grandparents and they had the Turkish toilet, no TP and a little can of water next to the "trough". I was having intestinal problems and I had a really hard time with it at the age of 17. I remember lying on my concrete slab (bunkbed)and refusing to come out because of the toilet in the dark in the middle of the night in a strange place. There was no running water- we had to send a bucket down into the well and bring it up for water. It was the only time I cried and experienced homesickness that summer.
Sam- I looked online last night and looked up my "family" on Tunisia White Pages and the parents still live on Rue des Violettes. The house # is 8. If you ever get a chance to go by it and take a picture I'd love to see it again.

May 1, 2009 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

I think I would like that a bit better than a bidet... but I would DEFIN. feel the need to dry myself before pulling my clothes back on... Hope that's not TMI..

May 1, 2009 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

They also don't put TP in the plumbing in Crete (Greece). One of our acquaintances in Crete did a visit to 'tourist' Tunisia, and she was totally flipped out that they don't even have a basket for the TP next to the toilet. It seriously bothered her.

What we called 'Turkish toilets' in Greece (which has quite a lot of crossover culture with Turkey) were the holes in the floor with foot rests to let you know where to put your feet when you squat. Word to the wise: roll your trouser legs up before getting started.

No wonder we love to travel.

May 1, 2009 at 5:56 PM  
Blogger Eileen said...

Maybe they all wear skirts?

May 1, 2009 at 7:16 PM  
Blogger Starman said...

There must be a lot of people walking around with wet bottoms and wet clothes in Tunisia.

In Cuba, they just throw the paper on the floor....after it's used.

May 1, 2009 at 11:08 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

One thing I always bring with me when I go to Morocco - a HUGE supply of toilet paper!!! :-)

May 2, 2009 at 12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Dubai airport they have the hose things and the toilet floors were all covered with water..kind of gross.

May 2, 2009 at 7:35 AM  

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