The Bare Necessities

OK, I have to talk basics here, and I mean the bare essentials…get ready for some toilet talk. I mean, while it’s true that different cultures have their own customs and such, nothing could have prepared me for my two bathroom experiences here in Seoul.

The first one is the bathroom in Dan’s apartment. At a glance it looks pretty normal: sink, toilet…oh but where is the shower? Well, as Dan explained, the bathroom IS the shower. Saywhat? There is a shower spout sticking out of the wall, and when you get down to the “bare essentials”, you turn it on. Well. The spray goes all over you, the wall, the sink, the toilet and the floor. Talk about a drenching experience! The toilet paper has a cover as does the electrical outlet, and even the toilet seat cover is built so that the seat stays dry. Ok. I can begin to get used to that as well as wiping down the walls and floor after each shower. After all, when in Seoul…..

Well. We went to an Italian restaurant last evening called Lazio Pasta. Oh yummy! Finally some carbs and bread things, and it was great, right down to the bread that is black from squid ink. (I kid you not).

The brown bread is pumpernickle. The black is from squid ink. Delicious!

The restaurant was cozy with rustic wooden tables and chairs, heaters all over the place and blankets to cover your legs if you were cold. Nice. And some of the wait staff spoke English which was a plus. The potato pizza was different but delicious as well.

After a long bus ride to get there I had to go check out the facilities. The ladies room was right out by the entrance, and on entering I felt a frigid blast of air. Oh right; I figured I’d frost my touche on that contraption. But wait – the toilet had a set of lights and buttons at the side, reminiscent of my old BMW.  But this was amazing! A heated seat – trust the Koreans. Afterwards I wondered what button to push to flush. There were three or four of them, each with a light, a Korean symbol and a picture of what looked to be clouds, explosions or spoutings. How hard could it be? One of them had to be the flusher. I tentatively pushed the first button. A few sounds but nothing else; I should have been more patient. Buttons two and three were pressed in quick succession. I needed to know what this was all about. Imagine, to my horror, a tube rose out of the depths and started spraying all over me. The stall was so small I couldn’t get out of the way and I had no idea how to turn it off. Who would have thought of a bidet in a restaurant privvy? I quickly shut the seat and exited, my coat just a little on the wet side.

So now I have seen the primitive as well as the hi-tech. What will Jeju have to offer next week?

One thought on “The Bare Necessities

  1. Thanks for the laugh! I almost sprayed my computer with the cranberry sauce that I was eating as I read your article.


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