Traveling with a group of senior citizens often means the guide needs to know as much about area restrooms as the historic sites.
While I was visiting St. Petersburg, Russia, recently, our guide encouraged members of our group to “wait 15 minutes” for much better rest room facilities. But when we arrived at The Peter and Paul Fortress, the restroom she had been touting was horrifying. Parked in the open square was an old bus that had been turned into a restroom. After our guide paid our admission, the line of ladies entered one end of the bus, where each collected a handful of toilet paper. We proceeded down the narrow bus aisle selecting an available stall, no larger than the space between bus seats. Even with partitions we were all in one narrow space, sharing verbally our frustrations at not having enough room to pull down our pants. We were all laughing as we emerged, whether the job had been completed or not, to run our hands under a faucet at the other end of the bus.
If this was “better restrooms” we feared our trip was doomed.
Yet, later in the day, while visiting St. Isaac’s Cathedral, we happened to visit the Lions Palace Four Season Hotel just across the street. The elaborate marble and gilded public restroom there was suitable for the tastes of Catherine the Great!
But our opinion of Russian restrooms reached new heights while we were visiting the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow. Known for its high-tech, interactive museum exhibits, this new facility was not about to offer anything ordinary. The toilets by Panasonic featured push button controls for spraying and blow-drying every orifice. And the seats, of course, were heated.
Gives new meaning to the “hot seat.”