Why Americans Don’t Use Bidets

When in Rome? In ancient Rome, they used a rag on the end of a stick instead of toilet paper (one of the possible reasons for the phrase, “getting hold of the wrong end of the stick” — the other origin of the phrase may derive from 19th century printing press when the letters were placed in a stick and backwards — so if you got hold of the wrong end of the stick, you would not comprehend the sentence).

Toilet and bidet in Rome.

Modern Roman toilets look much as they do in other parts of the world, but the flush handle is usually a button on the wall. Another thing is that Roman toilets include a bidet (“bee-DAY” or “beh-day”). The bidet is basically a bathtub for your nether parts. It looks like a toilet bowl and to use it, you back down on it, wash yourself, and then dry yourself using a towel (hence why there is a towel rack nearby). The cultures that do use a bidet consider those that don’t, a bit baffling, as they wonder why one would only use paper to clean up a sticky situation?

In the middle east and Indian subcontinent, people use “the mechanical action of the left hand” instead of toilet paper. Many of these countries also have a “bidet shower” — a spray hose. In my apartment in Bangladesh, there was a spray hose near the toilet instead of toilet paper. The water pressure on the ones in my apartment had the force of a power wash, but I was told that it was to clean off my left hand, not for direct application. The bidet shower, or spray hose, is also used in Finland and Estonia, according to Wikipedia. The Japanese of old times used a stick to clean the backside but now they have electronic toilets with sprayed water and air, both warmed. Japanese toilets also can include a heated seat and “politeness” music.

The average American uses 50 pounds of toilet paper every year. Many countries do not use toilet paper. Many Catholic countries use water rather than paper, or a combination of the two. Also, considering how much paper and water flush toilets waste, perhaps the bidet shower is the way of the future? In terms of wasting resources getting rid of our waste, the city of Los Angeles spends four million dollars each year unclogging toilet paper from their sewers. In many countries, one can’t flush toilet paper down the toilet. In Peru, one puts the toilet paper in a trash can next to the toilet.

Can you tell that I’m writing a book about toilets? Due to the pandemic, toilet paper has been on our minds — a lot. I have actually been interested in toilets from a cultural viewpoint for quite a while, as toilet habits have been a bit different in many of the countries where I have lived. Going to the toilet is one of those things that people don’t talk about too much, but it is that one thing that we all do, and affects culture, from water usage, home construction, art, language, religion, and customs.

One of the many memes I collected during 2020’s toilet paper hunt.

Back to the bidet. The bidet means “little horse” in French and refers to the straddling position one assumes when using it. The bidet was popularized in France in the 18th century, supposedly much used by the French prostitutes. The British considered the French to be hedonistic, and therefore their bidets to be hedonistic. Americans of those times followed British customs and this is, supposedly, why Americans do not use bidets. But, I know more and more who are installing Japanese toilets and bidet toilets in their homes. Like in the ad below, perhaps it will become a thing in the new American toilet. Freedom Toilets?

Will the modern American toilet include a bidet?

The Bare Necessities – When You Gotta Go

a-WWqFFzJQsa8iEzZO52pQrTkNOZFDv5ULekHEXZca_HAU13qcsxYjF24xr8yuGzVGUFVHqEGFZtdrzHS6S_FZa6u765gtIXtSBbf1uahgeo39OEEzOl7APFP_v6ufy4yft-y1WAcJKPrhyosd3CvalgMHwBW-rXzIC2Rc20vLTDJQjyK0KuxlfiH9One of the “joys” about traveling is always looking for the bathroom/restroom/WC/toilet. Sometimes traveling seems like The Great Toilet Hunt. The photo from my day shopping local in Nassau shows a little outhouse with a big name. I think I would have gone with “manse” or “palace” just for the hyperbole.

Gotta go. More anon.

Breakfast at KM Marker 52

F2yl8Y-igUdNURLmAzWQCpeur1o8H6Zv798pGYDQkDxZGQPRy-fwnbw1cQ7A0uj3RuY_H9rQmsYDDRKS9kpWJJg8XpEGUyIJ7_rLmz4WFOrk4_VCxtuTpUhagoK7iOc7wTb5qN-m0-Ygf1tQZpGhaaxFj_K2Ny8b67j2OHTasnzfxXTrXkCEYTr1UCLocated on the Panamerican highway at kilometer marker 52 on the road south of Lima, this bakery is a great pit stop for breakfast. It’s called Tambo Rural (tambo is the indigenous word for kiosk) and there is no sign so you just have to pay attention and turn in at marker 52. They now have a real dirt driveway and expanded parking lot so it’s much easier to stop off the highway.

rP8ffFMWjFoeO9pHiACIZdI2I22UoepATGVvCzjeK1jnjiKTO6D5eud7lZp1Jemf9JhUZiNyBlOKncrgizEKdo_purEp-2EzpdgTud0Z_jZBpvelxPyZNharVRHQtyEq-9Iy0SWcrPclEo6sCZjc3cKNpVxObekZRGA6PHaIVypIZtViVExH2VzzjHThe coffee is amazingly creamy.

J5SvTUiS_l1c5D4XQyf8TZXgHLIYurlCGeczeKsrdUhZjX8bG6_jV1yxm3krCoGvezeKMcqLEm4Kfng8eiYMjXefhB0-eE0qHlqHwP0o6ruoaYZleuFLtxTq7Icv80sZaCt2yUUk4P6m57DQ-g39UfS1ulKOplJsL82ZHnhUu-oLEKaDEvqeQ5RhRfSpeaking of breakfast, they sell chicharron which they cook in the wood fired oven (how is that for mind blowing!?), a breakfast item in Peru.

GCByCJimKgLY6SwdvdBIKa2R9DfRMHnouDpGhwUjR90RGLffrwnLVDCTC2HnEaq4TFuyztNFg60wy-UdELbUe34bEVhXGotHOFFfhQ0MicmgNRMyasofP-WFm1ornHJD1CnaxUAEG7jZjv6F1zu01WAsDcs7f8UOkyRdmJX4bVJmzhoL85YjRFJTYIThey sell bread that you can buy to take with you including photogenic focaccia.

mEG8spfsoDGXjO0_vteyCFhAUIJR6ja7_9WqnrhBhV7r_33lJ3jvQyPnBadHt-LPWl36Sxy_yYFgDDI0vPu_x_uzEN1XNvg8z7P467UNAcD1FyTfXr2ApnLmw1MEg_tMSNnwgEP9tULJxKohbAO3tDUBTcHsDS8TKgPKAr2v04YMK9VPAPjKwVR3AmThey have toilets which work on a “bucket of water” flush system.

This place is not super fancy but it is good and covers all the bases. It’s not a secret either but TripAdvisor reviews are only in Spanish.

I enjoyed the fresh warm rolls, some filled with ham (turkey ham) and cheese, and some with olives and oregano. Plus that locally sources coffee. Yum. Great way to start a day and a trip. Go! Enjoy!

One Year of Madventures.me – Still Mad for Food and Adventure

Madventures.me is one year old. One year ago, I started this blog in preparation for new adventures in food and travel. One year of great food and travel in Amman, Copenhagen, Dhaka, Doha, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Krabi, Luang Prabang, Mumbai, New Delhi, New England, Singapore, and many more.

I started this blog to share some of my adventures with family and friends. As I’ve blogged, my blog has evolved into a source for providing information on restaurants in Dhaka, shopping, and how much one can do in Bangladesh. As a blogger, I’ve been enormously happy when readers from all over the world visit my blog. Thank you for stopping by… from almost the entire world:

Map of visitors to madventures.me in the first 11 months.

As my readership expands beyond people I know, I’m curious about what leads readers to my blog. So here are the top search terms people have searched for in the past year:

Top search terms on madventures.me.

Under Water Sushi

Dinner in Dhaka usually does not cost 5,000 Taka ($60) but there are a few places that will set you back thousands…

Sushi rolls and pinwheel rolls

Wasabi at Bellagio, House 4C, Rd 71, Gulshan Avenue, is one of them. The Bellagio building houses Wasabi, a sushi restaurant with a liquor license, on the ground floor. If you sit in the bar, you can sit under a fountain of water as it gushes over the curved glass ceiling. Upstairs is a French restaurant called Le Souffle. That’s where the food gets pricy. The chef is imported from France via Bangkok (much like the style of cooking and the ingredients) and the food is good if you want fancy French portions. Bread and desserts are well done there. It is also the place with the red fancy toilet that I mentioned in another posting. The third floor of Bellagio is destined to be another fancy restaurant. All in all, the Bellagio restaurants are the kind that expats like… so much so that I had three (count ’em) events there in one week.

A fountain runs over it

Outdoor Toilette and Toilet of Televisions

Bangladesh is full of contrasts.

The toilet of music videos.

The “wash rooms” range from a bucket or oil drum of water — to those with plumbing and seated toilets. And then there is more — In one of the fancy new restaurants, there is a fully-mirrored toilet with two flat screen televisions embedded into the walls over the sink…

Typical scene behind the scenes of Dhaka.