Monday, January 9, 2012

Did You Hear the One About the Toilet?

Hey all,

I can't help it, I’ve got a rant coming on.  I’m due.  I haven’t had one since we were in Macau.  And after the day we experienced, I just can’t help it.

As you all know, I’m still in Paris and we were all excited about being able to spend New Year’s Eve in the City of Lights.   I mean, what could be more romantic than locking lips with your honey at midnight, under the shimmering lights of the Eiffel Tower?  (And boy howdy, it was!)

So, we prepared. Jonathon got off work and met me in downtown Paris near Concorde (where King Louis XVI and Marie-Antionette were guillotined). We had all night to play so we closed our eyes, pointed a finger at a map and started to explore. We wandered all over. We strolled down the Seine and shopped at the green metal book stands that line the river. I dragged Jonathon back to Notre Dame…again…and we found Point Zero, considered the official centre of the city and where all the avenues in Paris are measured from.

We got lost in the Latin Quarter…where there are clubs, restaurants and enough atmosphere to keep you speaking French for years!

One of our favorite places to spend time in is Tuileries, which is a huge garden right downtown. It stretches along the river and is dotted with statues, fountains and beautiful gardens and mazes. It reaches all the way to the Louvre, the biggest museum in the world. (I spent parts of three different days there.  I LOVED it!!!) The view of the pyramid that sits outside the museum, (the one you see in the Tom Hanks movie, Da Vinci Code) is beautiful, especially at night.

I bet you’re wondering where the rant is. Well, wonder no longer. Here it comes…

Remember the blog I did a few days ago about the lack of bathrooms in Paris? Remember how I said after a while you learn where all the free toilets are? Fast food restaurants, museums, cemeteries (go figure), and public toilets. And then there are the oval boxes that sit along the streets and take an engineering degree to figure out. Just kidding. ☺ I honestly didn’t think the toilet problem could get any worse.

Well, I was wrong.

Jonathon had to go to the bathroom. So, we started our search. We weren’t worried. I knew the drill. But somehow, I couldn’t find a single toilet. We weren’t around any cemeteries, the museums were all closed, and none of the streets we were on had the oval facilities, so we headed to the nearest fast food restaurants. Which unfortunately for us were all on the street where the New Year’s street party was taking place. The famous Champs-Elysees. And there was where we ran into trouble.

We weren’t the only ones looking for a bathroom on New Year’s Eve.

Think about it. If you pack a gazillion people into a few blocks, and all of those people are drinking to excess, some of them are going to have to pee. It’s a scientific fact. But do the Paris PTBs think about that?


Do they provide porta-potties? NO!

Do they have the restaurants and cafés open their toilets for public use? NO!

Do they keep the public works dunnies open and not chain them up for the night? NO!

And if you think that’s bad, just wait. I kid you not, it gets worse.

Since the fast food places had all closed their bathrooms, (they had security guards, I swear to you) we had to find another place. We headed off the crazy-busy Champs-Elysees onto a side street. And there we were lucky enough to find not only a restaurant, but right across the street was one of the oval street bathrooms.

Luckily, we didn’t need one now since we were in a restaurant and could use theirs, but our outdoor table, set under a toasty warm heat lamp, was right across from the public one. Now we had entertainment with dinner.

So we ate and sipped our French wine, watched people and giggled over the ever-lengthening line at the public toilet. I even timed one poor person. It took them forty minutes for their turn in the bathroom. Seriously.

We decided that whoever designed the public toilets must have been on crack. I’m sure the design looked good on the drawing board, but in actual use, the toilet pretty much sucks. I mean, think it through. The whole process is ridiculous.

Once the door opens, you go in. The door shuts and you do your business. Obviously, how long that takes depends on the person, but on an average, let’s say it can take three minutes. So, you finish up, open the door and step out.

But the next person can’t go in. NOT YET. Now it has to clean itself. EVERY TIME!!!  (That's the ridiculous part) So the door closes and the sprayer comes on to spray away any nasties that might have come about from your time inside. That takes a couple minutes to finish.

So let’s do the math. One minute to get in, three to pee (and I’m being generous here), and two to clean. So each person will take at the minimum, six minutes to go to the bathroom. The line we watched had at least twenty people in it, so six times twenty equals one hundred twenty minutes. So if you are the twentieth person in line, it will take you two bloody hours to pee. Crazy, loony or what? But I’m not done. Guess what happens at 11:00pm?

They turn those automatic bathrooms off.

Lift your jaw off the floor.  I’m serious. After 11:00pm they shut them down, I’m assuming so the street people won’t hole up in them during the night. So here it is, New Year’s Eve, the streets are filled with drunks who desperately need to pee and all these people are in line and the ONLY bathrooms available shut down. Now, just whose bright idea was that?????

And God, did I feel sorry for that person who'd just waited two hours in line only to have the stupid toilet shut down on them before they could go inside! 

So here is my rant, you Paris Powers That Be.  Get a clue.  If you’re going to have a huge street party—DUH--don’t close the bathrooms.   In fact, be even smarter and put out a few porta-potties where the crowds are.  Maybe even more than a few.  Tourists will thank you.  Your own people with thank you.  And you know what? The trees, bushes and flowers that everyone peed on when they couldn’t find a toilet?

They’ll thank you too!!!!

****Just a note...  We're off to Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday, so I'll be offline for a few days.  As soon as I get my internet up and going again (please God, let it be so), I'll be back with another blog.

Hugs to all!



jothi.r said...

That's hard to stand for 2 hours to pee. But in India you can choose your own open place and pee any where, if you pee in-front of governors' house then no one will scold you...

Phylis said...

That's is mind boggling! I'm glad it wasn't you standing two hours in line. lol Good to hear from you again and can't wait to see pics from Barcelona!