Loos, language problems and aliens!

50C to spend a penny!
Take me out of my familiar surroundings in Portugal, plant me in France and I feel like an alien newly arrived from Mars. My attempt at pigeon French, unlike my Portuguese, was apparently so incomprehensible I was viewed as some alien being. Hmmm mental note to google Martians to see what they look like! I ponder on the fact – how hard can it be for someone asking “Ou est la toilette?” whilst desperately miming you need a pee pee, to back up your limited French language skills, can be met with such a blank expression? Do the French not play charades?

Yes, I know I’m a crazy English woman just off the latest spaceship from Mars, and yes I know my pronunciation is far from perfect but come on all I ask is that I’m cut some slack and given at least an “E” for effort.

When we did eventually find some toilets I discovered the cost to “spend a penny”, an old phrase used by my Grandma, was 50c! The public toilets we have used in Portugal have been free, so we were surprised. I turned to Hubby for some change to be met with “Do you really need to go now, 50c is a bit steep?” I did consider the option momentarily based on principle rather than need, however, as they say – needs must!

The entrance and barrier to the ladies toilet was more complex than the security control at Gatwick airport. An attendant stood guard just in case you leapt the barrier. As if! However, I was soon to discover she was there to help people get in and out! I wondered what her job satisfaction level was on the scale of 1 to 10? Poor thing! Still, I think hubby relieved her boredom when he started taking photos, for me, of the sign and the entrance barrier to the ladies. Thinking back it was lucky he was not arrested!

There is really nothing extraordinary to report about Portuguese toilets other than that the motion sensor lights have a tendency to go off after 30 seconds. You are then left in the pitch dark hovering above the loo in the stance position, waving desperately at the light, whilst trying to maintain your balance with your handbag tucked strategically under your chin as there are not usually any convenient coat or handbag hooks behind the door. Obviously toilets are designed and installed by men!

No I don’t have a photo of this feat your imagination will have to suffice!

Do you have a funny story to share about your experience of foreign toilets?

5 thoughts on “Loos, language problems and aliens!

Add yours

  1. I just remember the automated public toilets in Paris. They looked like space pods standing on the sidewalks. You deposit your money, the door slides open, then back shut. Once you’ve finished, you slide the door open, then it closes and gives the entire interior an antiseptic spray down. It was fascinating, but it was hard to shake the feeling that it would begin disinfecting while you were trapped inside. That made it even funnier when we later went to Venice and the lights in the loo shut off on my sister. In addition to all her other worries about peeing into a little hole in the middle of a dark room, she was terrified that some automated cleaning service was about to spray her down!


    1. Dillon, I had to laugh out loud when I read your comment. I heard about these toilets and I was wondering if like the lights that switch off after so long whether the same applied to the doors and they just opened whether you had finished or not!


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