Tour de Toilet

It's been rough cycling in Laos so far. I was fine the first two days but then I was really lacking in energy the next five and had all kinds of digestion problems and trouble staying warm, I just chalked it up to rough terrain and tough conditions. Turns out I had the flu! I wouldn't recommend riding five days with the flu! If you are going to cycle with the flu then don't do it in Laos where the toilets are of the squatting variety, not exactly easy when you are sick. So I was starting to feel better and have more energy when I started having trouble with the local food, travelers diarrhea . More digestion problems, different reason, same result – racing from toilet to toilet. Anyway, there was a large number of days when I seemed to be racing from toilet to toilet. Hence the tour name – Tour de Toilet.

I am happy to report that today, for the first time on this bike trip, I feel perfectly normal. If I have normal, gurgle free digestion back for the short remainder of the trip I would be most grateful. I was able to do my first hotel workout in ages which felt SO good. Because of my problems with tge local food, tge last week I've been existing on boiled rice and protein bars, today I will get a bit more adventurous.

I have three full cycling days and about 400km left before I arrive in Vientiane and I'm hoping they will make up for all my sick-cycling but I'm not going to hold my breath. In the scheme of things I'm extremely lucky, I could have come to Laos "Free" as a teen had I been born a few years earlier and got drafted into the Vietnam war.

For those of you who have never seen a squat toilet, here is a photo. The pan floating in the bucket of water is used for flushing.

12 thoughts on “Tour de Toilet”

  1. I have to agree with Kochi (above).

    It seems to me that our ancient forefathers had no option but to defecate in a squatting position. Indeed, if we're "caught short" in the woods today, it's exactly what we still do. So, I'd agree with the healthful effects of this position.

    Moreover, the eastern routine of washing afterwards would seem to be actually more hygienic then a purely paper-based cleaning process. The European paper and then bidet process probably being the best of all.

  2. In Spain they are called "placa turca" (like turkish toilet) I have seen a few of them in only in ancient public toilets like swimming pools and bars.

  3. There's a lot of research done on 'are squatting toilets better?' and there are many theories including the one that squatting is the normal position while on the toilet, for your body. The so-called western toilets are later 'innovations' for the 'privileged' ones. This might sound strange and silly – but try this – when you are on your western toilet, bend forward and sit so for a minute or so. For those who have bowel movement problems, the results will be amazing. This is because you are emulating the squatting toilet (to an extent). It's been proven that bad bowel movements are not just irritating, but also extremely unhealthy. Colon cancer is also attributed to it. Btw, I am from India and have experienced both kinds of toilets. Not only does the squatting toilet give you a better feeling in your mid section, but (as someone mentions above), it also gives a great leg workout.

  4. Squatting toilets are common in South East Asia. Even in the modernized cities of Singapore and Malaysia, they still exists and you can see them in international hotels too (but better furnished with better flushing systems).

  5. In some parts of Asia, they cleanse their body and hair in this place.

    Not in Japan :-(

    I didn't know this called a squat toilet. We still find something like this but very few people would use it unless it's so emergent.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilets_in_Japan

    With our advanced technology, our toilets are already computerized :-)

  6. You really are a trooper! I went for a predawn run this morning with a temp of 15 degrees. My wife said I was crazy. After showing here this post,her opinion of my sanity has changed :)
    You are a great source of insperation pedal hard,have a great finish.all the best!

  7. Hey Scooby! I think it's really worth it to bring some anti-diarrheal meds in your bag pack.
    To tell you honestly this is my first time to see a squatting toilet and glad to have it first from you lol.
    Well, im jez curios you've said above that you had some troubles with local foods can u tell us what food did you take considering you really are a person who watches his diet?
    And last time I've heard from u was when u'r about to leave for a cycling trip and u've said that there will be no internet there. So how did you post this blog? Thanks and happy cycling!! tc

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