Thursday, December 29, 2005

high tech toilets

on route, the asiana folks dropped us off at a hotel outside seoul for half a day to rest up. while i can't say i can see much of korea, i can say america is way behind in its bathroom technology. this hotel room is a serious gizmo force. it took me about 5 minutes to learn how to operate the toilet. i was a bit worried about pushing all kinds of buttons with phrases like 'rear cleanse' without making sure a rear was available for cleansing. the last thing i need is to be staring inside this toilet while i learn whether the massage feature is jet spray driven (it is).

the first thing that comes to my mind upon leaving india and entering a new western land is innevitably how clean it is. i've been to india so many times i can't count; i would expect this epiphany to fade, especially given that i'm so conscious of it. nonetheless, wow, its so clean out. i am staring out the hotel window looking down into an empty lot strewn with trash, and all i can think is wow, its so clean. this room is so clean. i get to drop my stinky shoes and change into cute little slippers on entering our room. ananya can roam freely and i don't have the usual paranoia driven urge to rub cleansing solution on everything.

i often spend time thinking about what actually causes the dirt in india. i've come to the conclusion that the causes are so multi-factorial. you have the obvious stuff: the fact that everyone throws their garbage out the window, the fact that pigs, cows, dogs, peacocks and people, being without access to massaging hi-tech toilets, take advantage of the roads and side walks. and of course there is the climate itself, brutal sun, sandy dirt, etc. the more time i spend in india, the less i want to think about this particular issue, mostly because i've thought it to death, and the topic gets so tiresome. but when i'm stuck in a taxi mulling over the choice between: staying inside with a driver that has not discovered the freshness of old spice, the waft of urine stenched air driven by the public avoidance of the even fouler public restrooms, and leaving all of our luggage unsupervised ( a definite no-no), its tough not to.

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