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My fascination with airport bathrooms started a couple of years ago at the Montreal airport.

Our plane had just landed, and I had decided to pay a visit to the ladies' room. On my way out, I noticed that there were several dispensing machines, much like the ones you find in any other public bathroom. Only that besides the customary feminine product dispenser, there were also dispensers for dental floss, gum, and condoms. Flavored condoms at that.

Ohhhhkay, I thought. Who would be looking for a flavored condom vending machine at an airport? Does one go "It's an emergency! We need a condom! Anyone has banana?"

From then on, I decided that paying attention to airport bathrooms would be a good exercise in amusement.

I have yet to be dissapointed.

So far, here are my findings:

Montreal, Canada: Flavored condoms (not in every bathroom, but if you visit a couple you will find them).

Bogota, Colombia: The toilets have no seats. I initially thought that this might be due to security reasons. That is, until I paid a visit to a public rest room in Knoebels Park in Pennsylvania. Much to my amazement, they had the exact same toilet model, with no seats either. And since I doubt that they expect anything to go explodey in Knoebels (other than the occassional customer who may have eaten too many deep fried pierogies), and taking into account that said amusement park is about as old as the Bogota International Airport, I must conclude that both places purchased their toilets from the same early 20th Century manufacturer. Live and learn.

Orly Airport, Paris, France: Those toilets are boring, and not automatic at all. For an international airport in a large capital city (Paris no less!), having to flush my own toilet is sort of a dissapointment. However, accross one of the ladies' room, there are some strategically placed chairs in which you can get a massage and a foot rub. Just so you know.

Antigua and Barbuda: Avoid the rest rooms at all costs. I have seen porta-johns way cleaner than those, plus they leak.

Fortaleza, Brazil: The toilet seats are cushioned. Go figure.

Brasilia, Brazil: They have the exact same toilet model than Fortaleza, only that they are *not* cushioned. I am sorely dissapointed.

Manaus, Brazil: The bathroom is small, and only features a couple of stalls. They are old fashioned, but tankless. Surprisingly, they do feature a hose next to the toilet, which can be used as a bidet in case you want to freshen up. (And who doesn't?) The height of sophistication(?!) It will take months of therapy to erase that image from my brain.

Atlanta, Georgia, USA: There is a sharp and needle disposal container in the ladies' room, with a big hunking "biohazard" sign. EDIT: I don't want to ask. I have learned that this is for diabetics. A nifty little amenity. More airports should have this feature. Kudos Atlanta!

Ronald Reagan National Airport, Washington, DC, USA: It is a most unremarkable bathroom. But if you are interested, toilets are automatic and they do have a baby diaper changing station. But they've got nothing on Atlanta's needle disposal container. You've gotta try harder guys.

And that's it for today. I know I am missing a bunch of other airports, but I wasn't always this observant. It is amazing what you can find around you when you decide to pay attention.

Belfebe out



( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
"Atlanta, Georgia, USA: There is a sharp and needle disposal container in the ladies' room, with a big hunking "biohazard" sign. I don't want to ask."

Diabetics. My mom has to carry her own sharps with her for disposal later. She would kiss the designer/contractor for including sharps disposal.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
I figured that much. They appear to be ahead of the game from the rest :-)
(no subject) - marionred - Mar. 3rd, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greta_k - Mar. 3rd, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marionred - Mar. 3rd, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greta_k - Mar. 3rd, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - belfebe - Mar. 3rd, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - redsquirrel - Mar. 3rd, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - antoniodicapizi - Mar. 4th, 2010 01:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 3rd, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
It's not an airport, but you MUST visit the rest stops on Route 80 in Ohio. You could eat off the floors in the bathrooms. It's quite remarkable.

In Japan, there are padded seats... and they are often heated!

Knobel's is near where I grew up. I spent my entire summers there as a teenager. Never did figure out how to use the toilets. (Central PA trivia -- the park name is pronounced "K-nobles" but the family who owns it are called "the Nobles" with a silent K.)
Mar. 3rd, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
Never did figure out how to use the toilets.

They are weird, I'm telling you.

In Japan, there are padded seats... and they are often heated!

Heated padded seats? Bliss!
(no subject) - kass_rants - Mar. 3rd, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 3rd, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
I second the comment re: I-80 restrooms in Ohio. I swear they hired steet sweepers from Belo Horizonte, Brazil (which has a varitable army of such people and streets so clean you could almost eat off of them).
(no subject) - belfebe - Mar. 3rd, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - redsquirrel - Mar. 3rd, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - belfebe - Mar. 3rd, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anotheranon - Mar. 4th, 2010 03:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 4th, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC)
Traditional Japanese toilets don't HAVE seats. I wonder how many of them are still in use. The Western style of commode was pretty common when I was there in the early 70s.
(no subject) - belfebe - Mar. 4th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kass_rants - Mar. 4th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - donal_mac_r - Mar. 4th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kass_rants - Mar. 4th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 3rd, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
Little Newport News airport has perfume/condoms/women's supplies dispensers - and none of them allow you to choose which style of product you are buying. (Five scents! We choose for you!) on a whim, I bought a flavored condom - it comes in a package exactly like Japanese gum does, which had me giggling during my flight, wondering (hey, it's flavored, right?) what would happen if I popped it in my mouth and started chewing when the airline attendant was walking by. Sadly, I chickened out. BTW - It was "pina colada".
Mar. 3rd, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
It definitely gives a new meaning to the song "If you like pina coladas ... "
Mar. 3rd, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
Man, you need to check out the Vegas airport bathrooms--slot machines! No joke.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
A multi-tasking bathroom! Whoa!
Mar. 4th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
Hamburg, Germany - remembered through a jetlagged haze, but militantly white and minimalist.

Unfortunately, mice at the gates, but that's a different story.

You should write a book or something :P
Mar. 4th, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)
I am thinking about a website or blog dedicated to airport bathrooms. :-)
Mar. 4th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC)
Mar. 5th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
You beat me to it.

Sorry Belfebe, you only brought it on yourself that I think of you when I think of the best restrooms. ;P
(no subject) - belfebe - Mar. 5th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )

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