Sunday, April 27, 2008

Expat Focus: What's that funny little pipe hanging in the toilet?


At first Egyptian toilets might take some getting used to. If they're clean, consider yourself blessed. Most toilets in private homes and hotels are, but more public toilets tend to be, well, rather disgusting. It's a good idea to carry disinfectant wipes wherever you go--not to wipe yourself but rather the toilet seat. Also the fact that Egyptian toilets are not as full of water as American toilets are is a strange thing. Where our toilet bowls are at least half full, Egyptian bowls are less than a 1/5 full of water. They usually provide a powerful flush though so it's all good.

However, as an expat you will encounter something strange for sure. And that is a thin copper pipe which winds itself from the water connection, under the toilet seat, dipping down into the bowl and rising up again. Caution...DO NOT TURN WATER ON BEFORE YOU SIT DOWN!!! You don't want a "toilet shower". Most of us have gotten them at least once (some are slower learners), so forewarned is forearmed. This pipe is for cleaning yourself after you use the toilet. Cleanliness is a strict Islamic custom and so washing with water is a must afterwards. Just reach around to where the handle is and turn the water on gently. And I DO mean gently, otherwise you will give yourself the unpleasant experience of an accidental enema. That skinny little baby packs a mean punch, believe me. You might have to maneuver yourself around the seat a bit, depending on whether you want to clean front or back, but in any case, it's a refreshing experience.

And one last word of caution, be sure to turn water off before you stand up. Happy toileting!

17 comments:

Xero said...

Actually the fact that western toilets doesn't contain bidets seems too damn weird to me .
i can't imagine a whole civilization walking around with dirty bums :S

Queen O'Danile said...

Oh I totally agree! After my first trip to Egypt, I had them installed wherever I lived. Not washing afterwards is just plain disgusting!

Cairogal said...

Those pipes are often rusty (please tell me it's rust), and should one be placed too high in the camode....OUCH! Personally I prefer the little shower heads-easier to operate w/ better control of the water. I hate walking into public toilets and seeing that hose pipe on the floor. Ughhhhhh

Anonymous said...

Asalamu alaikum,Ah memories!!! Well now i am off to the land of the bucket bidet[algeria].I have seen one egyptian here in the states replicate that lovley copper pipe.Have you ever considered shipping your household items via-cargo ship?We are doing this for our move to Algeria.It is great that i get to bring my stuff with me.My king bed fit for a queen must not be left behind!Love your blog!On my favorites now.We are both making hijrah at about the same time.I can't wait to see how you make out.You will be happy i am sure.InshaAllah.I miss Egypt!Say Salam for me.InshaAllah. Sarah

Queen O'Danile said...

Yes CG--always check the level of the pipe first--hehe. That a mistake that could require surgery. OMGGGG---lol. I carry babywipes everywhere. I wont even use a hose in the public places. I just use a baby wipe. Isnt this fun--toilet talk--hahaha!

Queen O'Danile said...

Salam Sarah! Welcome! Thanks for adding me and I sure will say salam to Egypt for you. Hope you have fun in Algeria. I heard such horror stories about shipping to Egypt that I refused the idea. High taxes, goods stolen, tramped on, broken to bits--all this an they're not even supposed to open it unless you are there. But then again, we ARE talking about Egypt. Still I love it. Anyway, I am taking 10 boxes on the plane--what doesnt fit in there doesnt go. I finally decided after much frustration, if I cant find it in Egypt, I dont need it. Well, happy journey. Would love to see your blog!

Molly said...

I missed egy toilets with the butt-wash, definitely something to look forward to when I go back this summer.

My intent is to install them in my house in the future because sometimes -ok most times- the watering can just isn't anywhere near as good.

Everyone should also be warned about the squat toilets commonly found in public bathroom in Egypt.

I would second your advice on turning the knob gently, more than once I found myself with one of those "accidental enimas".

Queen O'Danile said...

hahaha @ Molly...I am sooo glad I'm not the only one. And dont even get me started on the squat toilets! Can you believe they even have them in Cairo Airport??? Imagine what a foreign first-timer thinks...lolol???

Charles Gramlich said...

an Egyptian bidet? Wow.

Queen O'Danile said...

Hi Charles and welcome! Pretty neat huh? Many homes actually have that traditional French bidet--a whole other piece of furniture. But I dont think I'd want to have to move from one to another...geez. The Egyptians are nothing if not resourceful! Hope you visit again. I was over at your blog...I intend to read more.

Mimi Lenox said...

I'm with Charles. That was a shocker. Interesting stuff here....

Queen O'Danile said...

hahaah @ mimi...not as shocking I would say as your first few encounters with one of those little buggers. Takes some time to fine tune your skills--lol! And btw, I love your blogs!

The Sphinx said...

Wow, has been a while since I've been here. I've gone painful lengths to install a similar working device in the toilets of both apartments I've lived in so far (Small shower head with a lever you press). WORTH ALL THE TROUBLE.

Hope everything's fine in Egypt!

Leah said...

oh my goodness -- I just discovered your blog. It's awesome. When my roomates and I lived in Cairo, we used to call that the "booty hook!" LOL

Jungle Mom said...

Hilarious. As an American living mostly in South America for the last 20 years, I have had many a bidet myself.

Anonymous said...

Ahlan ya Akhi,

Since, you are an expat/foreigner. I wanted you to check out http://www.linkexpats.com (social networking for expatriates). I thought it might be interesting for you and your readers, maybe you can add it to your links list as well.

Anonymous said...

hahahaha , omg i couldn't stop laughing while reading

" Caution...DO NOT TURN WATER ON BEFORE YOU SIT DOWN!!! "

" And I DO mean gently, otherwise you will give yourself the unpleasant experience "

how did you find egypt when you came here for the first time
did it seem like another planet ? ^^"