QUOTE(Mister Die @ Mon 6th February 2012, 10:27am)
"Public toilets were separated by sex, entrances being guarded by notoriously ill-tempered restroom ladies (Slovak: hajzelbaba)."
I call bias against Slovakian restroom ladies.
I don't know if Slovak restrooms were anything like their Polish counterparts, but yes, it's true that there used to be (and still are) "notoriously ill-tempered restroom ladies" guarding those. BUT, in my experience and travels across Europe and North America, this is basically how it works:
Eastern Europe: you pay to pee but the public toilets are at least half way clean.
France: you don't have to pay to pee but the public toilets are disgusting
Germany: you don't have to pay to pee and the public toilets are immaculately clean
Italy: you pay to pee and the public toilets are disgusting
UK: you don't have to pay to pee but the public toilets are usually locked up, making the point moot.
US: What are "public toilets" anyway? Gas stations?
Mexico: Like Eastern Europe except the pipes break if you flush toilet paper down the toilet.
I remember back in the day, the bad ol' communist day, as a kid, trawling the neighborhood with friends and collecting trash-paper from trash cans, which could then be turned into specially designated "recycling centers" for toilet paper. Because you couldn't buy toilet paper in stores - there was a shortage and/or it was rationed. Honestly.
Edit: Austria and Switzerland: whether you pay to pee or whether they're clean or not, the public toilets is where the junkies hang out.This post has been edited by radek: Tue 7th February 2012, 2:52am