Wednesday, February 23, 2005

photostream of consciousness

I hate my friggin' phone. It's a Nokia 7610. It's that chick phone with the weird slanting key pad. Not the easiest phone to use. And not the quickest either. But it's supposedly got a 1 megapixel camera. It's my first cam-phone. And I rarely ever use it to take pics because I have my trusty Canon Ixus 400 with me almost all the time. I decided to put it to some use. Here's a little random walk through my life as told by my phone camera.


I had to give a presentation at work today. It went quite well, if I might say so myself. I've become quite at ease with presentations in the past few years, since I have to make a few every year. And it gets easier when it's to the same people most of the time. It got much easier (more easier?) after the year in Glasgow, where I had to make a ridiculous number of presentations during the Masters course. Anyhow, the point I'm getting to is that even though I don't get nervous and I'm cool with it, my body still isn't. I still get the frequent runs to the bathroom in the hour before the presentation. My ears get all hot and then they turn an embarrassing bright shade of red. Thank God, the lights were out.


Yesterday was a major major day. OD had the big scan where we found out the sex of our baby. She went ultra early to the clinic and sent me a message that they'll see her in an hour. I waited 45 minutes and headed out to the clinic. When I got there I found out that she hadn't put my name with the security guy so they wouldn't let me in. For some stupid reason which I don't comprehend, men aren't allowed into the maternity clinics in Oman unless the doctor gives their name to the security guards. Inzain, so I had to wait by the door for about 20 minutes staring at this poster for Muscat Health Festival 2005. As usual, they have a marathon, but this one's a "walking marathon". I thought I'd participate in this one, but then I noticed that it's at 3pm next Monday. What idiot scheduled a marathon for 3pm on a work day?

I'd tell you more about the baby, but she'd kill me. I'll leave that for her.

valentine's dessert

This lovely heart shaped spongy thing was the special valentine's day dessert at the Bustan Palace Beach Pavillion last week. The food was excellent. We had a really great time. If you're in Oman and haven't been to the Beach Pavillion, you're missing out on something great, especially these days when the weather's good. By the way, I don't eat dessert because when it comes to this stuff my taste isn't quite refined and tends to gravitate towards chocolate bars. I couldn't eat the dessert, but it was good enough to take a picture of. It was the least I could do.


This is the kiosk at the MQ Oman Oil station. DON'T ever eat from this kiosk. I've eaten at dodgy places in my life. I thought I'd had a bullet proof stomach, but this kiosk defeated me. And what more, the sandwiches sucked too. It's a lose-lose deal.

hole in the ground

Last week I had a meeting at a newly remodled building. They had totally redone everything. It was all so high tech. Glass cubicles and ultra modern brushed steel. I went to the toilet and was surprised to find they had two regular stalls and one with of this old fashioned hole in the ground toilet. Can someone please tell me what advantage, if any, these things have? When we were in Malaysia last month I noticed that even the newest and most expensive malls all had bathrooms which had both these old contraptions and commodes.

Hope that didn't gross you out.


Bahrania said...

Wrt ground boghole, its all about what ur used to. My father for example has ensured that not only does he have his own personal boghole at home but at the office also! He even got it specially imported once.

If u go to somewhere like Saudi, you won't have much choice BUT to use one so make sure u get some practise before hand. Personally, as a women, I still have trouble 'aiming'.

It does seem more hygienic though, since you don't come into contact with any surface which can pass on other people's bacteria. In addition, the squatting position is supposed to be the best way to do a number 2.

Masquerader said...

More hygienic? I'd beg to disagree. If one slipped, lost balance or had a bad knee? what would happen? the chances of him catching some disease from some infected individual who used it relieving himself around that area would be pretty pretty high. Excremental hygiene out the window guaranteed.

Muscati, it must be a budget cut.

muscati said...

Can't be a budget cut. It must have be a choice. They built a toilet with three stalls of which one had this one. How much would they have saved this way? It's an insignifcant amount compared to the tens of thousands that the remodeling of the building must have cost.

Masquerader said...

So, is it just fondness for these shit holes? (sorry, I don't even know what they're called) or is it comfort with the common?

Budget cut - maybe not but still, think of other factors, maintenance, the chances of it breaking, problems with the flushing etc - on the long run, it probably does last longer especially when ppl are inconsiderate when using something that they don't own. Look at public toilets, it's unbelievable. I ask myself "would they do that at home?". I doubt it.

Chanad said...

I agree with Bahrania... it's all about what you're used to. There are some people who much prefer the hole in the ground... so much so that when they don't have a choice that they get up on to the commode and squat with their feet on the toilet seat (leaving nasty footprints for the next person).

Many people think it is more hygienic, and that the position help the bowels move... but there is one huge drawback... on a commode, you only need to pull your trousers down to your knees... but on a boghole you can't poo without removing your trousers entirely.. and that might even require you to take your shoes off briefly... and if the floor is wet (which it often is) it becomes this huge balancing act of taking off your trousers without getting them, or your socks, wet.

I could write about this issue for ages. But muscati, I love the pics.. keep them coming.

Desert Island Boy said...

They're known as TURKISH TOILETS. We had one when I was growing up. I can't ever remember falling into it though...

My grandmother (God rest her soul) spent her last three years half paralyzed which was when we made sure she never stayed anywhere that didn't have indoor plumbing and a sit down commode.

I still have a blast describing them to Americans who go aghast envisioning themselves using one of these things.

And Bahrania, men have enough trouble "aiming" when the target is at our knees. How much more difficult will it be when it is below our feet?

It brings new meaning to the term... oh never mind, out of respect to Muscati, I won't mention it here...;)

Angelo Embuldeniya (Strav) said...

DIB is right, they're called Turkish Toilets. I remember the first time i came into contact with one of these was like 3 years ago in Canada - i was living off-campus during my spring break with a couple of friends from France.

Prior to then i had never seen or known what Turkish Toilets were and obviously when i came into contact with a turkish toilet it was all new to me & i thought it was some kind of a luxury restroom facility that my friends had got installed in the wash room. I remember asking directions to where the wash roomwas located upon arrival and had been directed likewise. When i got in and shut the door i was looking all over for the toilet seat and all i could see was a wash basin, a tub & this hole in the floor. So i shouted out thru the door asking them where the toilet was and they shouted back "it's all in there" - naturally i thought there was something funny going on so i looked closer at the this hole in the ground, found it awfully cleanwith crystal clear water in it this kind of chain hanging at its side, i pulled it and this flow of water comes rushing out - and i thought it was some kind of facility which allows you to keep your feet clean - like wash out your toes or something - si i went ahead put my feet in there & soaped them up - one by one. And pulled the chain and it was a great feeling to have the water rush against your toes all of a sudden and with much force - however it was a sudden jet of warer for like about 15 seconds or so. And afterwards i dried my feet out with a towel ventured outside to ask them where the toilet was - i thought they used the wash room i had just been in for showering,, etc. and had another one for bogging in (they were French so i had to understand). One of my friends came back looking all puzzled, led me back into the washroom and pointed down at the hole in the ground and said "there u are!". And i was all confused too - i thought he was being funny or something.

Anyways the end point is that when i found out what i really was for i was like literally 'going nuts' - i must've washed my feet with clorox (plus other disinfectants) atleast about more than a dozen times, my friends had a great laugh on me, for about almost the entire 2 weeks of holidays i used to get to malls/campuses & the like to use their wash rooms (i never got used to the idea of turkish toilets.) and eversince i've never used one again! It seems that my friends were so used to Turkish toilets in Lyon (France), that when they came to study in Canada they had got imported turkish toilets so they could continue their calls of nature as they were used to doing it.

Although most of the people i know who have talked about turkish toilets insist on them being ever-so hygienic - i don't quite see the point! Anyways i'm never going to use a Turkish Toilet & never will.

Good Luck to the users of Turkish Toilets!

Anonymous said...


its actually more hygenic to use the "arabic" bathroom ...

Kazablanka said...

I dont know how to use the "arabic" bathroom.

its so difficult wallah.. its like how am i supposed to sit? lol

I still havent figured it out...

Wardat_il'7leej said...

Balancing techniques required

Anonymous said...

That just looks gross... What if you fell? Youd get sick for sure with all the bacteria...

Besides, how can you possibly read while squatting? Maybe this accounts for the literacy rate just kidding... but theres nothing better than sitting on a soft toilet seat reading the day's news while taking a nice dump. Cheers to the porcelain throne!

Anonymous said...

Laffing here, love the pic.

I worked in an Oil Co in Abu Dhabi years ago, there was a Qatari guy married to an american,(he wasn't allowed to take her to Qatar - in those days). Anyway he came to me one day and said Jay I need to make amendments to my bathroom in my apartment, I said "wad da f.., you got a brand new apartment Ali, what you want now??" I nearly died, his mom was coming over from Qatar and she WOULD NOT sit down on a regular toilet, so he was insisting that we have a 'turkish bog' put in. Can you imagine the cost of ripping up a brand new sodding bathroom?

Amazing really as one of the Brown N root guys would not take an apartment as it had the turkish toilet in it.

Thing is Ali's mum had to put up with the new bog, and he wouldn't be persuaded to move to the Brown N Root guys apartment.

I just can't imagine that lil ole lady yanking up her abaya to do a number 2!!! suppose they do though eh.


calkoon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
calkoon said...

The ground bog hole is 100's of time more hygienic than a seat toilet.

You really need to look at a persons definition of hygiene, when comparing the two. I personally do not want even the slightest microscopic bit of excrement(piss) touching either my body or clothes.

The problems I find with seat toilets:

1) The seat and the toilet rim is unhygienic because it just cannot and is rarely cleaned properly and fully, betweent he time the last person used it and you.

2) The seat touches your body after touching 1000's of other people.

3) The splash factor..!! Now this is what annoys me the most, getting filthy bateria infested water splashing up after the drop..! You then need to clean the entire exposed bottom areas.

4) The splash factor again. Some of that filthy water can come out between your legs and onto your pant or seat! I saw that happen twice and I nearly got a fit on each occassion, because it means I need to change my pants!

5) Men standing to relieve them selves.

I can go on and on, but I'll leave it at that.

I will agree that the squating required for ground toilets is somewhat difficult, but it's well worth learning to improve your hygiene.

Yanking up or down your clothes for numbers 2 is simple.... You can rest assured, with minimum precautions, that absolutely no excrement will touch either you or your clothes.

Finally a fall is very rare, and once the Balancing technique is mastered, you'd be fine. Compare that to having your skin touch the toilet seat every day, where the risk/probability of touching excrement is far far greater.

I personally have major problems when only the seat toilet is available, which is nearly always the case, even if it's in my relatives home, because you truly have no clue how hygienic they truly are when their maids clean their toilets. (and it's hard to ask).

Most maids use the same sponge for everything they wipe! Hence the toilet seat with be as dirty as that sponge.

I spend many minutes cleaning the seat with tissue and then and covering the whole seat with 3 layers of toilet paper and filling the little pool of water with further toilet paper to avoid the splash...!!

When I'm done, the next person can always rest assured that they'll get a clean toilet.

Anyhow, I doubt many would agree with me, in fact I find it just as difficult to defend as proving to some Westerners that washing your self with water is more hygienic than using only toilet paper.

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