Toilet Adventures: Bathroom Buddy

Today on Two Girls Traveling Toilet Adventures, I introduce my bathroom buddy, Stan the spider.

Going to the bathroom in Cambodia can be an adventure. I work in Building A at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. It’s one of the older buildings on campus so the bathrooms are simple stalls with squat toilets.

There is one exception but that lone Western toilet requires a key. I loaned my key to a colleague who then passed it on to another colleague. The result is I don’t have my bathroom key right now.

This means I have to walk to another building if I want a western toilet. There’s one in a coffee shop and another in the library. Both are equidistant from my office.

Today, I opted for the one in the coffee shop because it usually has fewer mosquitoes. It also features a Cambodian bidet (spray nozzle on the end of a hose). The bidet was not important to me but the previous occupant had used it to spray the toilet seat with water so it was soaked.

She probably stood on the toilet seat and squatted so politely cleaned off the seat with the sprayer. This is such common behavior that many bathrooms have signs like the one below. Not this one though.

Cambodian toilet sign

I grabbed some toilet paper to wipe the seat off (most bathrooms also lack this feature) and a very large black spider crawled out from under the toilet paper dispenser. How large? Oh the body was a little over an inch long and it’s legs were about an inch and a half long so about the size of my palm.

Nothing like the desperation of needing a toilet badly enough that walking to the other end of campus really wasn’t an option. I named my bathroom buddy Stan because I’m sure he’s responsible for eliminating most of the mosquitoes in that restroom.

He wasn’t happy that I disturbed his hiding place so he went searching for a new one. He crawled along the wall while I sat down to do my business. Then he crawled up on the shelf behind the toilet and tried the shaded area under a saucer.

It’s not easy easy to relieve yourself when you’re being watched. Stan’s presence behind me left me a bit unnerved. It wasn’t until I was about to leave that I noticed Stan’s bathroom buddy next to the door.

I’m calling her Stella since she’s much more slender and a lot less hairy than Stan. Stella had a lovely web which I’m sure has caught its fair share of mosquitoes.


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