TURKEY: An Altercation With A Bidet-Toilet Hybrid in Pamukkale

Rainstorm Under the Mountains
Rainstorm in the Valley

Most of the toilets in the bathroom at the Denizli bus station were of the squat variety.

This doesn’t faze you as you consider yourself to be quite proficient in their use. However, given the choice between seat and squat, you will always opt for the former.

So you make your way to the end of the bathroom where the western toilets are located, and along the way you notice that there is a large puddle in the middle of the floor. You ignore it (just like you ignored the filthy tablecloths in the restaurant that gave you food poisoning) and lock yourself into a cubicle.

A Storm Enveloping Pamukkale. I didn't take any pictures of the toilet, but these photographs do show the time I got wet at an inconvenient time.
A Storm Enveloping Pamukkale. I didn’t take any pictures of the toilet, but these photographs are from another occasion I got wet when I didn’t want to be.

There’s plenty of loo roll, a hook for your bags, and everything goes to plan until you try and flush. You pull down on the lever beside the toilet and instead of the water being directed downwards to wash the contents of the bowl into the sewer, you find (somewhat to your inconvenience) that it is jetting up and outwards instead.

The shock of finding yourself the target of a miniature water cannon (you’d heard about black widow spiders hiding under toilet seats- but this?) causes you to do nothing except wait for it to stop.

A few seconds later you figure out that you had accidentally turned on the bidet function of the toilet and that turning the lever back would stop it. Unfortunately this revelation came too late for your clothes, which have all been drenched with cold toilet water.

Shaken and sopping wet, you notice that the puddle in the middle of the floor has become significantly bigger.


    • I do sometimes feel like almost everything I do becomes a lesson to others..

      Just this morning for instance, I took a slightly too-big bite of a sandwich and managed to drop an entire fried egg (covered in ketchup) onto my lap.

      Eh, life goes on.

    • I’m in London at the moment.. it’s a heatwave, but that hasn’t stopped the rain. I set off for Thailand + elsewhere in October, so pop in if you’re headed towards Europe before then (really!).

    • Oh indeed, my mum’s side of the family are from Japan and I have a couple of stories about the toilets over there too..

      Also thinking about the toilets in Japan has reminded me of a special toilet I came across in Belgium. After you flushed, the toilet seat rotated and got wiped by a cleaning thing attached to the cistern (like this )

      Thanks for the comment!

  1. That link didn’t work for me: “unavailable” it said. But I think I know what you mean. My mum’s side of the family is likewise from Japan. I was born there, in fact. Strangest toilet I encountered there was at a Chinese restaurant in Shinjuku. Men only, but the urinal was shaped like a giant, “oni” demon face, and had a motion sensor where if you stood in front of it, it would start moving left and right while tape-recorded laughing sounds would play. It was a bit over-the-top to say the least!

    • Oops, changed the link, should work now.

      And here I was thinking toilets that flushed automatically when you stood up were fancy, aha!

  2. That was hilarious, probably not so much for you at the time. We found ourselves often perplexed at the toilets of Turkey. Just part of a memorable adventure. πŸ™‚

    • The lack of toilet paper was another thing I was unprepared for. I remember looking around for it and coming face to face with a dripping hose instead.

      Took me a moment to realise that I was supposed to use that in place of paper. It’s more hygienic when you think about it, but it was a bit of a shock at the time.

      • Definitely Lana. I have learned over the years to always travel with some toilet paper or tissues with me. I can see the benefits from the hose but I must say I stuck to my usual routine. πŸ™‚

  3. hello there which way now – the water option is traditional in many muslim countries, if you have ever seen a bottle of water standing behind a loo in a western country and wondered why that might be the reason. we also have them here in Switzerland. That said, the story made me giggle and I am sure it was not funny, although it was clean water that drenched you not toilet water. anyway totally off topic, thanks for stopping by my blog and liking it, love yours Ill be back Poli

    • I told this story to my Somali friend, and she in turn explained to me that the idea of cleaning with only paper is a bit repulsive to her, and that when she went to sleepovers at non-muslim households, her mum would pack a little water jug for toilet use!

      • much more hygienic if one thinks about it – a nice example illustrating that what the so-called developed world likes to think of the so-called developing world is very often no more than a prejudice born of perceived superiority

  4. Your posts are truly works of art! I look forward to reading your future posts! πŸ™‚

  5. Love those storm photos. Wow!

    And toilets in Turkey brings back memories. I was there during Hajj, and was simply grateful for anything I could get since the tradition, of course, is to respect the pilgrims’ needs for a loo above one’s own. I would have thought I won a prize finding a seat like you did, until the bath. Ick. Great story!

  6. Very funny and great photos. It reminds me of our family fear before holiday in Cremea in 2011, when it was still Ukraine. We were afraid of horrible squad toilets during our car trip through Ukraine we heard a lot about, but to our surprise every toilet at gas stations was clean and … seat.

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