Mothers and daughters have many opportunities to bond in life. I never thought one of those opportunities with Sydney would be the Peruvian bathroom situation. The two of us have had bathroom experiences that I hope none of the women reading this blog have to have...EVER! Our Cusco home bathroom situation is acceptable (although I am in a now six week fight with the shower as you may have seen in an earlier post) It's the bathrooms we encounter outside the home that are the problem.
In an effort to make this bathroom situation more bearable for the two of us and to get us in and out of bathrooms as fast as possible, we decided to develop a rating system each time we go. Here is our scale:
Here are examples so you have a clearer understanding.
HORRIBLE: We were visiting one of many Incan ruins, in the middle of nowhere, early in our trip and Sydney looks at me, crosses her legs and says, "Mom, I gotta go." I cannot let this child pee on Incan ruins (disrespectful!) so we search for a bathroom. I found the "bano" sign and we got into the line. There was a man sitting outside the bathrooms with a bucket of water. As people stepped out of the stalls, he took a bucket of water and threw it inside the stalls. I thought he had amazing aim to be able to get the water into the toilets after people left the bathroom. What a talent this guy was! When it was our turn, he pointed us into one of the stalls. We walked in and all we saw was a drain, about the size of a standard checker board, on a flat floor. There was no toilet. There was no toilet paper. There was this drain on a very wet floor and it smelled "DEESKUSTING", as Sydney pointed out. I had to brace Sydney on my arms, over the drain while she peed. She looked horrified and said, "Mommy! This is awful! I wish I was a boy right now". I could not have said it better myself, bless her little heart. When I walked out of the bathroom a woman said to me in English, "You are a brave soul. I used bathrooms like that in Europe 20 years ago and swore I would never do that again!"
EXCELLENT: The JW Marriott of Cusco wins! We happened to find the hotel walking around the city and Sydney had to go. (They also had internet access so Scott and Luke had a few minutes to surf and check email) WOW! This lobby bathroom wasn't reality. There was marble and granite, working locks and hooks on the doors, hot AND cold water options, fragrant soap and the floor was D-R-Y! Both of our mouths dropped when we walked into the bathroom. We started to jump up and down and dance out of sheer joy because when we found the JW Marriott it had been about four weeks of mostly HORRIBLE and POOR experiences. I told Sydney I wanted to hang out and live in this bathroom, but of course, we couldn't. But we both washed our hands in the temperature of our choosing and our hands were nice and dry when we left because they had real towels to dry your hands with! HEAVEN!
While this is not the most riveting blog we have posted, I want to remember to be forever be grateful for bathrooms with water temperature options, clean floors and towels or air for drying hands.