Saturday, July 15, 2006

Scary bidets of West Sumatra: a retrospective

I find bathrooms fascinating. I think if I ever went back to grad school I'd do a Sociology PhD on them. For instance, how does one reconcile the existence of the following two bidets in the same culture? The first is precise (one hopes) and discreet almost to the point of paranoia; the other, completely uncontrolled.

This one was in a fancy hotel in Padang. It was hard to get a good photo because I can't angle the flash on my camera. But the idea is, some kind of prong comes out when you press the button. I didn't press the button. I'd only had three hours of sleep and wasn't feeling up to new experiences.

This was on the express ferry back from the Mentawais, and I suspect it was really intended as a continual-flush device, but maybe it was also somebody's idea of a clever two-in-one design. As you can see, there's no opting out here - you get this intense jet of cold seawater rocketing at your bottom, no matter what. It was a weird and slightly disorienting experience, but ultimately not catastrophic.


Cazzie!!! said...

Wow, now that IS interesting, I bet it was an eye opener of sorts!! Treespotter will be overly wrapt to see the pic of the loo I suspect, he may blog about it alongside my Aussie outer encasement of Wrought Iron :)

ace said...

this is disturbing. my fascination for toilets is making its way out in the internet.

how embarassing.

kopisusu2 said...

Well at least you're not alone!

Anonymous said...

t-i know another person fascinated by plumbing. doug lansky, big traveler. he's even thinking about getting the cash together to buy one of those japanese ones, like the one in your hotel there. did you know some of them come not only with spray nozzles, but blow dryers for your bottom? And heated seats which might make them a nice item in Berlin, eh?

also, don't know if you got the note about the people from Pulau Wei? The only full name I remember is Agus Salim... he'd be a bit younger than me, maybe five years. He had a cousin named Isau (love that name) and a sister in law named Allawya (sp?) Otherwise I'm at a loss. The little towns were named Iboih and Tepi Laya and weren't far from Sabang.

all the best, jdh

kopisusu2 said...

Thanks for details John! I'll check with someone I met from a British medical group that's been active in Aceh. But I'm gonna wait a week or two because I suspect they are tied up with the Java tsunami now.

All the aid organizations are making a grim circuit these days: everyone moved from Aceh to Yogya for the quake, and now they're heading straight up to the new tsunami area. They say the followup gets better with every disaster ... but everybody hopes to have less practice from here on out.

mr_john said...

Is JDH also John? Because it's not me, just in case you were confused...

kopisusu2 said...

Yes, JDH is also a John.

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