An ode to the Scottish WC
Perhaps this will bring a smile to your day.
If you don’t like bathroom humor, I would recommend skipping this post. 🙂
Cultures are different; there’s no two ways about it. Even ones that share a similar language; they’re still different. Most often we see this in the area of food, but perhaps close behind that is the bathroom. You read that right, or perhaps we should refer to it the way they do here and that is simply “the toilet.” No, really, I’m not making this up. It’s not quite as different as a place like Mexico where (I remember from our last TIM trip) you could sit on the toilet, wash your hands, and take a shower all at the exact same time (not to mention the bucket showers). It’s not quite that stark, but that doesn’t mean it’s not different.
In order to make the trip a bit more economical, we chose to stay at a very unique hotel chain called the Metro Inn. The rooms are tiny (probably 10×12 or 10×15) and feature a full sized mattress on a piece of particle board and then a twin sized bunk above it (meaning 3 people can stay in a room). In the corner their is one small sink with a mirror above. That’s it; no bathrooms, no showers. Those are down the hall and they are shared with everyone. The “toilet” (as they say here in Scotland) is about the size of your average airplane bathroom (maybe just a “wee” bigger). In fact the first time I went inside I swear I could feel turbulence. Close by down the hall, there are some shower “rooms”. Picture a small, two-compartment fiberglass enclosure with a small dial you could push to get about 25 seconds of water. (Matthew actually timed it) In the other compartment, mounted on the wall, was a “hair and body drier” (yes, you read that correctly). I just stuck to using towels myself. Suffice it to say, that this dorm-style living didn’t leave a lot of room for what you might call “personal space.”
Now mind you, this is not the highway-side motel that looks like a murder might have taken place last night. This is a hotel chain here and it’s been full every night. In fact, the first night we were here, there were no vacancies. Everything was full. This is just a cheap way to travel here and people just don’t seem to mind. I asked our kids whether or not they thought we could start a chain like this in the states and the answer was “definitely not.” But they haven’t seemed to mind too much; it’s kind like a hotel version of camp…only a bit cleaner.
But that brings up an interesting thought… You see as Americans, we travel for the experience. We like big, comfortable cars, nice lavish hotel rooms, and plenty of “personal space”. We would never choose to travel and share bathroom and shower facilities with anyone else (unless we were saving some serious cash and even then I don’t know how many people would). Europeans (and many others in the world) travel for the destination. Who cares about where you sleep; it’s where you’re going that really matters. Experience vs. Destination…A fancy cruise vs. Backpacking. Why waste resources in where you’re sleeping when you can use those same resources to get to more destinations?? It’s just different thought process, that’s all.
When you think about, perhaps there’s a lesson for us a Christians. We are strangers and pilgrims, and we get ourselves into trouble when we get bogged down in the experience of this life instead of our eternal destination. The comforts of life push out the spiritual priorities that ought to be first in our lives.
All of that, from a toilet…
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