13 February 2010

Ode To A Restroom

The shrine of baby.

I think I sort of know local bathrooms. From the gag-inducing, Trainspotting sort (belonging to stores with the most unfriendly and jaded employees), to literally a plot of soil behind a curtain, Ive been to some pretty memorable ones. At one point, it was a raised wooden structure from which you watch through the slats as your pee flows onto and around the people doing Islamic ablutions in the river. Well, hey, what can you do? I do prefer al fresco, but there are norms you have to follow.

Ilocos Norte is, on the whole, almost faint-inducingly clean compared to the rest of the Philippines (I've been trying to figure out why for quite sometime), thus, needless to say, my restroom experiences here have been better than the average. The Laoag Public Market is a multi-storey deal that is probably one of, if not the cleanest large market in the country. It also houses a (yes, clean) and impressively ornamented public restroom.

Public slippers? No thank you, for me.

As you enter, you spy public slippers so that you don't bring your dirty shoes in, and a plastic flower vine scratches against your head. You wait in line and check yourself out in the mirror, which is accented by several arrangement of orange flowers, likewise faux. There is a small shelf that bears even more petroleum-based plant replicas. Your reflection tells you that behind you is a humorous stock photo of a baby, hanging on the cubicle wall, alongside some small red curtains.

A kilt and cleaning materials beside The Baby.

So you do your thing, thinking about the effort put into maintaining this holy room.

Curtains and an announcement about the Male C.R. (comfort room).

The walls are bright blue, and as you make your way out, your head finally explodes as you see the tip jar (an old powdered milk can wrapped in "Happy New Year" gift paper) resting on a handmade yellow-and-pink doily.

Tip can.

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