Monday, April 30, 2012

The Wet Washroom


The most asked about topic since coming to India relates to the Indian "washroom." The month of May will mark the 1 year anniversary 2 rolls of toilet paper entered my flat, and as you can see, they are alive and well, and mostly still whole. I thought now would be the time to introduce you to what is referred to as the "wet washroom."




  






When locating most public washrooms, you'll typically see a sign hanging the door stating whether the washroom is "dry" or "wet."  A "dry" washroom means you'll find toilet paper and no sprayer or bucket of water/cup (although sometimes they are there and the "dry" just means you'll have the TP option). "Wet" generally means no toilet paper and instead, a sprayer or a bucket with a cup. Now, I can't say I'm a bucket/cup fan. Using that option generally means needing to strip from the waste down, because you WILL get water on your pants. And many times it can be tough to find a "dry" place to hang your drawers in such a washroom as the folks before you might have splashed around a bit. Not to mention, a certain amount of friction might be required to properly clean certain areas.

So when I was deciding what my flat HAD to have, I went with sprayers (and as you can see, Western toilets). These are the types you find attached to kitchen sinks in the US. Each washroom has one sprayer next to the toilet. This is used after you do the business in place of toilet paper. It's considered to be a much cleaner option. Not to mention Indian toilets aren't meant to handle large quantities of TP nor is the sewage system that sophisticated.
 Additionally you'll see that there is no bathtub or shower stall. You will however, find a showerhead mounted on the wall. This gives a while new meaning to the term "wet" washroom. After your shower, you can squeegee the floor and things will be pretty much dry instantly. Additionally you'll notice a tank above the toilet. That's known as the Geyser (pronounced Geezer, like an old man). It's essentially the water heater. Please note the size. There's a switch on the outside of the washroom that you flip on 10 mins or so before you take your shower, which buys you like 20 gallons of hot water. That means getting wet, turning off the water, soaping up, turning the water on, rinsing off, etc. It also means you know how to take a very efficient shower if you want to take a hot one. Generally the ground water is warm enough to where I don't bother turning it on in the first place. You can achieve a "warm enough" shower without it.
Additionally in the washroom you'll notice an orange bucket, and inside that - a cup. This bucket is essentially a wash bucket. It's used when the water is turned off (which is frequent in the summer due to a mass water shortage) whether you're using the toilet or needing to shower. It's a scant supply of water, I can promise you that. It's imperative that whenever the water is turned on you fill the bucket. Keeping the buckets filled at all times is vital. You don't want to be in a precarious situation without water handy. Trust me.

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