It all began with a little Belgian guy that led me to write this blog. No, I don’t mean the diminutive dapper detective Poirot; it was the infamous Manneken Pis in Brussels. Sorry, you might have heard him called by his nickname, the Little Pisser.

What’s this have to do with the price of tea in China? Easy, it got me thinking about the little talked about “toilets of the world”. Ask someone who’s been to some exotic and far away locale and they’ll most likely tell you about the sites, the hotels, the food, smells, and maybe even a little known shop for the best souvenirs or a Cuban cigar.

Yet, no one, and I mean no one, will tell you about the bathrooms. Ah, the many faces of culture shock.

I got a kick out of the urinals at Charring Cross Road (at Shaftsbury Avenue) in London. They pop right out of the ground at nightfall on a Thursday & stay up all weekend long. That’s right, out in the open for all us guys to use. Ladies, you might want to turn your head while coming down the street.

At least the open air design is a bit fresher smelling than the one you’ll find at the Cape Fur Seal Colony in Namibia. Don’t be startled if a seal blocks your entrance–its par for the course.

There aren’t any seals, just lava in Bolivia (on the Chilean border) at the Lincanabur Volcano, where you’ll find an outdoor commode smack dab in the middle of nowhere at 5,900 meters above sea level. I’m kidding, there’s no lava–but the bathroom’s for real.

The biggest shocker came at Thailand’s Lumphini Park. How do I say this delicately? It has all the charm of a port-a-potty with not one of its comforts. Better make sure your leg muscles are working properly since sitting’s not an option. Yeah, ‘nough said.

Surfing the Caribbean on Nalungen Island in Panama? Gotta go & you gotta go bad? Don’t sweat it; look for little huts with flags hanging over the water used by the local Kuna Indians. It’ll sure make you rethink any island vacation you’ve ever planned.

Australia’s Outback is about as remote as you can possibly get, so sometimes facilities aren’t readily available. The Aussies know this, which is probably why someone created the collapsible Jimmy’s Thunderbox.

Thanks, Little Pisser, this is all your fault. I probably could have gone the rest of my days without thinking about any of this–now it’s ingrained in my mind’s eye for eternity. I don’t even think I’ll be able to watch a Poirot movie the same way again, either.

Stuart