Saturday, April 15, 2006
Ibu Trish Answers Your Touristic Inquiries: Bathrooms
I know you probably have questions you’d like answered before you come to visit us in Jakarta. So to simplify your planning, I’m launching this occasional column. If you have any questions, feel free to post or e-mail them!
Ibu is a commonly used title for women of a certain age. It means “Mother.”
Dear Ibu Trish: Will I have to use a squat toilet when I come to Jakarta?
Signed, Nervous and Shaky
Surprisingly (to me, anyway), we haven’t encountered very many squat toilets here. You’ll generally find Western-style toilets in malls, offices, restaurants, and hotels – even cheap hotels. Curiously, most of the squat toilets I’ve seen have been in super-glitzy hotels and malls, where they’re offered alongside Western ones. I suspect we’ll find more of the squat variety in people’s houses, and in areas outside Jakarta.
Restrooms here are generally pretty clean and decent, other than the occasional bar bathroom. In other words, it's a lot like Bloomington. Toilet paper is almost always offered, as well as a bidet or a bucket of water and a scoop.
The picture here is almost entirely gratuitous, since it isn’t from Jakarta at all. I took it in Shanghai last year, and I love it, because it’s a picture of a squat toilet with a laser-activated automatic flush system. Talk about ancient-meets-modern!