Squatters vs. Westerners

After two years of using a hamaam Arabi (a squatter toilet), I think I may actually prefer it to a western toilet. Of course, my mind probably will change once I return to the States and see glistening porcelain bowls everywhere. But the hamaam Arabi is designed so that anatomically, you are in the optimum position to go to the bathroom. Feet are balanced on opposite sides of a porcelain plate, and it's as simple as squat, shoot, and stand. Everything is swallowed by a hole the thickness of a clenched fist. You then use water from a pail or hose to wash down any stubborn excesses. Compare this to wasting four gallons of water every time you flush! When I was traveling through Vietnam four years ago, I heard that some Asians, after a lifetime of squatting over holes in the ground, don't know how to use a western toilet when confronted with the dilemma. No wonder I saw so many shoe prints on the rim of the toilet seats…they don't know it's meant for sitting!

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