Cultural Differences in bathrooms

One of the complaints Big Sur residents have about our tourists is the failure to use bathroom facilities, but to turn our entire coast into a bathroom.

I have traveled a fair bit, and often times to countries not as advanced as ours. I always carry my own tp in another country unless I am staying in a hotel that caters to western travelers.

One of my readers has been meaning to send me this article, Lana Weeks, which I found fascinating. I have not traveled to India, only Europe, Peru, Morocco, Greece, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, New Zealand, Mexico. Some of these have had different toilet etiquette than we have at home, but it has been easy to adjust. I had never really thought about all this when we are facing this health issue on our coast, but it is time we do.


So, I did a bit of research on line, and found this sign meant for people from other cultures who are not used to western toilets.


But even more fascinating is a comparison of the different bathroom etiquettes in different parts of the world. I have known and experienced outdoor toilets in Paris in the mid-60’s, the whole in the floor toilets in many of my stops, and no toilet paper in most. But for a comparison of different provisions re toilet facilities, nothing beats this comparison.

Until we understand cultural differences and address them, we will never resolve our “Big Sur as a toilet” issue with all the international tourists we attract. Something to think about… Maybe we don’t merely need to make it known WHERE bathrooms are, but how to use them.


~ by bigsurkate on July 29, 2017.

8 Responses to “Cultural Differences in bathrooms”

  1. Kate,

    For Big Sur wouldn’t Ed. 3 “How to sh!t in the Woods?” by Kathleen Meyer be more of an appropriate subject : ) ..


  2. BUT they don’t go in the woods, they go on the side of the road and in people’s driveways. Anyone have a primer on that??


  3. DIAPERS issued at the Big Sur Drive TOLL BOOTH ???!!!


  4. Regine, you made me laugh!


  5. Kate, You made my day.


  6. I love when that happens, Regine.


  7. On a practical note: I have known many non-Americans to be confused by our euphemistic use of the word “bathroom”. Apparently, many Americans consider it a more polite term than “toilet”. However, often there is no bath in the “bathroom”, and those that are looking for a toilet don’t necessarily need a bath. In any case, I find the word “toilet” is more widely used and easily understood. I suggest using “toilet” on any signage, as it may be more effective.


  8. Sample of multiple languages for recycle bins at Zion Park. How about a similar sign for toilet etiquette complete with drawings and a kiosk with toilet paper and poop bags at inflated prices on sale in the Molera parking area?


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