It is pretty amazing that you can fly half way around the world, and the airport terminal looks pretty much like any other airport terminal. But what really gives away that you are in a different country, is the restrooms.
And specifically, the toilet.
Here’s a pretty generic American toilet. Handle on the side of the tank, bowl full of water, a cycling magazine to read. [Hotel in Miami, earlier this spring.]
Disappointingly this year, the number-one-exotic-place Colombia had very non-exotic American toilets. [Cartagena airport]
European toilets are definitely different from the North/South American standard. A toilet in France has very little water in the bowl, and often two flush options-- light or super-flush. [a restaurant in Paris]
Definitely strangest of the year were the toilets in Austria. Hole is in the front of the bowl. [Hotel in Vienna]
Most fun-- toilet from our Congo room in the hotel in Brussels.
But the best toilets in the world, the epitome of toilets, the ne plus ultra, hands down, belong to the Japanese. The toilet seat sings and dances. Well, there may be dancing waters. It includes space command which controls: a bidet function; a heater for the seat; and for those who have a shy bladder, you can play flushing sounds. (To save water- apparently Japanese women are very shy about making toilet noises, and would otherwise really repeatedly flush while they go in public restrooms.) I’m not totally sure why you need a bidet in an airport or at the office, but just in case, you are covered. [my company’s office in Tokyo]
I love my Toto Drake [in our house in Philadelphia], but next time around, I have to have a toilet with a seat heater.