Friday, October 17, 2008

Where Civilization Begins?

An aside on recent Romanian history:

As I have mentioned previously, the Faculty of Economics at UBB has world-class johns. In fact, whether in roadside gas stations, three-star hotels, people's homes, or cheap pensiune, I have found the plumbing in Romania to be modern, generally clean, and well-functioning. There is not always a lot of water pressure, and paper towels are scarce, but the toilets always flush, and I have yet to encounter two footstands next to a hole, as I once found in a restaurant restroom in Italy.

As we waited for dinner and sipped merlot Wednesday night, Mircea explained that my happy observation on the sanitary facilities was no accident. He reported that after the 1989 Revolution, Romania discovered the toilets of the Free World, and became embarrassed as a nation by the primitive state of its plumbing. A slogan was created, leading to a national campaign to modernize: "Civilization Begins With Toilets!"

"Bravo, Romania!" for your perception, and for your response!


Anonymous said...

Hi Duncan,
Obviously you didn't have to go while we were at the monastery in Maramures...the nuns provided exactly what you describe: 2 ridged foot places with bottomless pit in the middle! Nancy

Anonymous said...

Wel, I don't know who told you we've "discovered" the modern toilets after '89 ...that is not true, they exist in Romania since the time they existed in West. I was born in '76 and we still had modern toilet in our house :)) The "hole with two foot places" we call it "Turkish toilet" and, you may still find some ONLY as a public toilets (it is said they can be kept clean more easily than the normal ones). There are also wooden toilets, rather primitive (no flushing water) in some very rural places, but believe me I have met this "system" even in Scandinavia.
Well. Enough on the "toilets".
Have a good time in Romania!