Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Toilet Tour

If my brother's pre-calculus class liked the 'fan death' post then they should love this one.

Visitors to Suwon can be wowed by the most beautiful toilets in the world. Imagine hearing strains of Vivaldi's Four Seasons float through the perfumed air, poetry and framed landscapes adorn the pristine walls and the windows offer panoramic views of the city skyline. Welcome to Fine View Toilet - one of about 30 institutions designated as a Beautiful Toilet by the city fathers of Suwon. The Suwon World Cup Tourist Guide declares "The public toilets of Suwon City turn into the most clean and comfortable places of speculation and rest, display, rendezvous, recreation of energy in the world."

The guide devotes a section to "A City with the most beautiful public toilets in the world." It comes with photos of the city's best restrooms. Three restrooms are included on all guided bus tours.

Most of these beautiful restrooms offer a lighted display board outside of the actual toilet stall room that clearly indicates which of the stalls are currently occupied. (Apparently checking for feet under the door or avoiding the locked stalls is far too difficult.)

Every bathroom is clearly indicated by a Happy Suwon sign on the exterior. After I pee, I certainly feel happy. It should be like a toast at dinner. After you exit the stall you heartily declare to the man peeing next to you "Happy Suwon!"

Suwon's Beautiful Toilet campaign was initiated in 1997 when the city knew it would host some of the World Cup games. A tour of Suwon is the highlight of the World Toilet Organization - WTO (I can't make this stuff up) Congress later this year.

The WTO is head quartered right here in Korea. For a country that has so many questionable toilets as it is, why would the WTO be head quartered here? Many public toilets are squatters...drop your drawers and aim at the floor. Most public restrooms don't provide the luxury of toilet paper. Be sure to pack your own tissue to avoid embarrassment.

And for all of this all you have to do is take a trip to Suwon to pee. It is only a two hour subway ride every time you need to go number 1. (It might be worth the effort if you really need a good place to go number 2 in comfort).

It might have just been me, but for all the hype, the bathrooms still smelled like a urinal.

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