Monday, 12 March 2012

Squat Jobs In Saudi

dawrat miiaa nisaa - Ladies convenience

It's amazing how many expat women I've met in KSA who are totally, absolutely, completely averse to squat jobs.  What's a squat job?

These women desperately search each cubicle in public conveniences looking for the 'proper toilet'.  Screwing up their noses in disgust when directed to the available squat dunny. 

What's the issue with squatting to get the job done?  By all accounts you're doing your body a favour adopting this position for evacuative purposes. 

Squatting makes elimation faster and more complete preventing fecal stagnation, a state that contributes to numerous gut issues.  Lots of other internal bodily bits and pieces (nerves, valves and such like) are protected while squatting, and straining -  a common cause of hernia's and prolapses - is greatly reduced.  Not to mention the thighs get a workout.  Our bodies were actually designed to eliminate most efficiently in squat mode.

Admittedly, when you're not used to squatting it takes a bit of practice.  The idea of having to put your hands on the ground for balance while getting into, and out of, position because your thighs and knees aren't accustomed to such movement makes you hope like heck you've got hand sanitiser in your handbag.  Losing your balance or getting cramp while mid movement could land you in...well, it wouldn't be nice

Personally, sqautting on the job suits me just fine, thanks.

Maybe that's cos I'm a country girl.
No proper dunny out back of the farm when you're cuttin gorse! And there's a river nearby for the post-wash should you have forgotten the dunny paper and can't find a sufficiently large leaf.

Gorse on the farm
My only issue with squat jobs in KSA is the state of the dunny on entry and this is where I can empathise with squat averse expats. 

Wet floors can be quite off putting.  Westerners tend to process water on the floor to mean someone (men mainly cos they're the ones that get drunk and swing things around) missed their mark. 

Lack of hooks on the back of doors to hang abayas and bags and, if you're the sort that completely undresses your lower regions prior to getting down to business, your clothes means that, if you're on your own in wet floor situations, you have to hang on to everything while you squat.  Not an easy ask if you're a new squatter.

Once the job is done, lack of dunny paper is an issue expats aren't comfortable with.  Though this can be overcome by always carrying tissue paper, the notice that says "No paper down the toilet, All paper in the bin please", causes some confusion with expats.  Which paper exactly are they talking about?  Not the one I've just used to...well, you know...not the discoloured one currently held gingerly in my fingertips? 

Unless you're country bred and are familiar with the sensitivity of septic tanks, it is difficult for expat city dwellers to comprehend that squat plumbing does not cope well with toilet paper.

In the event of no dunny paper one must rely on available means - either The Hose or The Water Can and The Left Hand.

Hose Heads left lying on the floor, especially in the midst of a pool of water, are eyed with exteme 'OMG, Do I really want to touch that!-ness'.  

The Water Can for the uninitiated is a complete bloody mystery.  How do I get the water from the The Water Can to Point B?  How effective is that method?  How wet will I get?  How fresh is this water?  Do I have to touch myself? Perhaps I'd be better off going home and taking a shower! 

Which brings us to The Left Hand.  It's bizarre how the west talks about sexual freedoms and exploring your body, but many westerners cringe at the thought of properly cleaning their own rear ends after a visit.  Put off, I'm sure, by the visual of crap on their hands and under the fingernails.

The other disconcerting factor about a squat dunny is  the available hole which, to be fair, isn't large.  What if your deposit misses?  This dilemma isn't such an issue if there's a good flush mechanism or plenty of water in the can.  However, it isn't unknown in KSA to come across dunny's where the flush doesn't work, the can is empty and the hose is a flaming dribble that is not going to move mountains.

For this reason we always travel with extra water!

Yes, there are aspects of squat toilets that we expats take issue with and, until the methods and protocols of a squat dunny are learnt, can make many feel uncomfortable.

The longer you live in KSA the more likely it is you will, at some point, be forced to utilise one.  I Googled proper process when it became quite obvious, soon after my arrival here, that squat dunnies in KSA are the norm.  My first experiences with such commodes can be found here

We travel a fair bit in the Kingdom and all mosques outside the city (we look for mosques because they are always open, always have a ladies so Glenn doesn't have to stand guard and always have toilets which tend to be cleaner than those at gas stations) are squats.

Here's a link from Wiki How with some handy tips to help make use of more traditional KSA bathrooms a little bit easier How to Use a Squat Toilet.    Or, if you're a visual learner, this Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures site, How to Use a Squat Toilet, has some graphics to assist.

On a positive note, if you're touring with a group of expats and have no issue regarding squat jobs in the available squat dunny, you get to jump to the head of what can sometimes be a very long queue.

Ka Kite,

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