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8 July 2011 / leggypeggy

Pay to pee

I hate having to pay for a pee—and with only a few exceptions, the practice is common across Europe. Imagine paying 6 euros (about A$9) to visit a museum and then having to chip in another 50 euros cent to have a pee.

When we’re on the road, the boys nip round the back of the truck or a building and pee in the bushes (Poor John does this all the time just because he can), but the girls troop to the toilets and cough up the equivalent of up to A$1. It wouldn’t irk me so much if I actually got anything for my money besides a hole in the ground (even if it is surrounded by porcelain).

Take today. We were on the Turkish side of the border between Bulgaria and Turkey By the way, Bulgaria gets a gold star for mostly free toilets and slightly-better-than-the-usual 1/2-ply toilet paper—one campground even had genuine 2-ply paper. More about that great place later.

According to Will, our driver, the immigration facilities on the Turkish side are new. I’d show a picture, but photos are not allowed at border crossings. The buildings are immense and mostly spotless. There are two duty-free shops, a string of fast-food outlets, a bank (where you take a number to be served) and a few general shops.

And then there are the toilets. G-r-r-r! There are two large sets of toilets—one on each side of the building. It costs one Turkish lira (or about 75 cents) to pee.

But here’s the rub. The one set of toilets that were open were filthy. Water splashed all over the floor, muddy footprints everywhere (and it wasn’t raining outside), no soap in the first three dispensers I tried, no water in the first two sinks I tried (wonder where the water on the floor came from), a young girl in fake Crocs nearly slipped over, heck I nearly slipped over, my toilet cubicle looked as if some kids had had a TP decorating party before I arrived, the toilet paper wouldn’t pull down so a huge roll was propped against the wall and slowly soaking up some of the water on the floor. I’ll stop now because I’m sure you get the idea, even if you can’t visualise it. Clearly, my lira is not going to someone who will come along and clean up the place.

So I have that whinge out of the way. Thanks for listening. I should mention that I NEVER rely on a toilet to actually supply toilet paper, so I always have some in my pocket. If anyone is interested, I can explain how to get the most out of your toilet paper. My dad taught me.

Exception to my objection—I do not mind paying for a pee in places where my money actually is a source of income, such as a village in Africa or Indonesia. I’ll let you know my views as we travel across Central Asia.


Leave a Comment
  1. Gary Walker / Jul 8 2011 8:57 am

    Oh, dear! Ha! The lavatories sound just awful for ladies.

    Men really do have an advantage when needing to take a pee. A tree or dead stump or fire hydrant will do just fine. And it’s free. Just unzip when no one is looking and then be on your merry way.

    I’m sorta intrigued by your Dad’s tips on conserving toilet paper…

    My Dad was a hoarder and had a strange fixation that he would someday run out of TP. He died 11 years ago and Mom still hasn’t bought a roll. I wish I were kidding butt I’m not.


  2. Sy S. / Jul 8 2011 11:49 am


    It is a lot easier being a male and having to pee, then being a woman. Here in the states (USA) they had outlawed pay toilets. One of the problems with traveling in third world countries, is relieving yourself and not having good clean facilities or whatever… and finding toilet paper when you run out.
    I can write volumes about all this but will spare everyone my comments.

    Ok, OK LOL one funny experience! Forty years ago I was on the new Bullet Train in Japan. On the train I went into the bathroom and there was a porcelain device on the floor with a hole. So I did what I had to do.. but then when I reached for the toilet paper, it was behind me?! Just then I realized I was squatting down on this device backwards, facing the wrong way! LOL

    Sy S.


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