In honor of our new book, "A Stingray Bit My Nipple! True Stories From Real Travelers," we couldn't resist compiling a slide show of some of our favorite bathroom anecdotes. Enjoy!
Purple means frappé
"In Japan, on my first Asian business trip, I excused myself from a meeting to use the restroom. I looked for the handle to flush, but instead saw a keypad labeled in Japanese. I pondered the situation for at least a minute, and then chose a button. A jet of water from inside the bowl sprayed all over my shirt and tie. With nowhere to move in the tiny stall, I pressed buttons frantically until the water stopped. I soaked up as much of the water as I could with paper towels, and then I made my way back to the meeting, my shirt very wet and my face very red. My polite Japanese hosts continued the meeting without a word about my issues. That evening, over a few drinks, I learned that I wasn't the first Westerner to press the wrong button." Dave Blake, Chandler, Ariz.
Sometimes the solution is right under your...
"We bought a bottle of white wine to take back to our room at a small hotel in Sorrento, Italy. Since the wine wasn't chilled, I wandered down to the lobby bar and in the most minimal Italian tried to ask for ice and a receptacle to put it in. I was given a glass with 10 very small cubes. I scoured the room for a makeshift ice bucket. The bathroom sink was too small to accommodate the bottle, but the immaculate bidet—filled with cold water and the ice cubes—worked just fine!" Sue Nelson, Portland, Ore.
Next time make 'em scrub
"Upon arrival at our hotel in Nice, France, after a long day of travel, I told our daughters to wash their hands before dinner. They had been in the bathroom for five minutes when I asked what was taking so long. 'Mom, we washed up so well in the baby sink!' they said with pride. I explained that the 'baby sink' was actually a bidet, upon which they asked the inevitable question: 'What's a bidet?'" Christina McGraw, Sammamish, Wash.
If you were a bidet, you'd be angry, too
"As we settled into our Florence hotel, we discovered an out-of-control bidet frothing all over. I found a maid, whose eyes got big when she saw the mess. She yelled down the hall, and another maid came in. They exchanged a few words, glanced at me, and burst into laughter. We'll never know what they said, but I suspect it was something like, 'Was she trying to shampoo her hair in the bidet?'" Maryka Biaggio, Portland, Ore.
Safe phone sex: The new frontier in public health
"While in a Peruvian village, my friend Gladys needed to use the bathroom—basically a hole in the ground surrounded by a fence. Only later did she realize that she was missing her cell phone. We ran back to the latrine and fished around with two sticks. The phone looked and smelled as bad as we thought it would, so we submerged it in two pails of water and gave it a Clorox bath, then wrapped it in a plastic bag to dry. Suddenly, the phone rang! Gladys answered it, using the bag as a mitt. It was her husband calling, and through gales of laughter we told him our story—although all he could really hear was a crinkling bag." Bonnie Laycock, Wichita, Kans.
Too much bathtub gin?
"My mother and my aunt weren't about to let their age stop them from relishing every mile of their Cosmos tour to Europe. The pair of octogenarians took part in every single activity and enjoyed the friendship of their much younger tour companions. And after a day spent touring the Vatican proved too much for her tired, aching feet, my mom even improvised a refreshing spa treatment." Merry Noel Reed, Portland, Ore.