Sunday, 19 October 2008

The World's Worst Toilet

I remember a conversation I once had with some friends about the worst toilets in the world. I think the winning entry at the time was one suggested by Matt who had worked in Somalia for a while. They had shit-filled holes in the ground inside metal boxes for privacy, where the cockroaches were so big, they used to throw in a load of petrol and then a match before entering the pit. 

I have racked up some pretty revolting toilets in my time: one in Brazil that was so disgusting that my friend urinated in the sink instead of the toilet as even hovering was too traumatic for her; a spray-shitted squatty in a government building in Hong Kong into which I had to go to the loo while looking after an 11 month old, walking Beatriz and not let her touch anything; the one on the top of the Great Wall of China where you squatted above a hole in a concrete floor that looked down approximately 1800 feet of rock face to the bottom of the gorge below and which, apart from the icy wind whistling up the shoot, was actually not so bad, but also not so environmentally friendly for this world-heritage site. 

Anyway, I have discovered a new contender for worst toilet in the world. Take note, that if you are ever crossing the border from Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan, DO NOT use the public convenience on the Kyrgyz side. Husband said he had used the Gents on a previous trip and it was the worst men's toilet he had ever been in. But since they had a box charging women for the privilege of using it, I figured that the lady's would be better (they usually are). The kids and I entered, armed with our small roll of paper (20 tenge each), eyeing the concrete squats that just had a fairly large hole into a massive pit of excrement. The hole between the foot rests was big enough that one could feasibly lose ones balance and, in exceptionally unlucky circumstances, fall in (and with Sasha the wobbler, this kind of thing is always possible...) - total Horror. 

We don't have a  problem with squats, they don't have to be neat and tidy. We can do our business in the most basic places, but this room was honestly like a hell on earth. A place so terrible that you imagine the Black Hole of Calcutta might have smelt like this, or the bottom deck of a slave ship, or some other godawful situation. THE SMELL. I have not taken a photograph of this place, mainly because I left the place retching uncontrollably and did not want to go back in, and also because a photograph could NEVER capture the stench of this awful, awful little room. The girls were laughing their heads off. Sasha didnt even need to go, she had just come along and bought her loo roll for the expedition! They had never seen me react in this way to a loo before. 

It must have been the way the building was built, lack of ventilation or something, but I have never been in such a honking place. It was impossible to breathe in there without your stomach rising. I was desperate to go, and so had to go outside, take a deep breath and rush back in without breathing. The kids were looking through the door giggling as I struggled to finish without having to breathe in again and possibly puke on the floor. 

And that was my last impression of Kyrgyzstan! 

1 comment:

  1. My wife and I had a similar experience at the infamous border crossing toilet about 5 days after you passed through. I was a bit disgusted but my wife was heaving on her way out. That toilet ranks up there with a few I had the misfortune of encountering in Tanzania.

    Great blog by the way. My wife and I are American expats living in Almaty and can relate to many of your stories.