Need to Pee in Finland? Send a Text Message!

How to use a Japanese-style toilet“Where are you supposed to put your feet?” is one typical reaction when coming face to face with a new toilet or bathroom experience – for both men and women. Foreign bathrooms can be culturally shocking experiences!

From holes in the floor, to door-less bathroom stalls, various squatting positions created to workout your quads and interesting textures of toilet paper – there’s always a story to tell about a bathroom in a foreign place.

The next time you’re in Finland and happen to be taking a road trip, be sure to have a cell phone with you and your text message fingers warmed up – or be ready to pop a squat in the bush.

More fun and quirky articles from Discover the Hobbit Hotel in Waitomo, New Zealand; read up on 5 Tips to Help You Pee All Over the World; or read up on our Tips on How to Avoid Food Poisoning and Diarrhea When Travelling.

New Toilets in Finland

Washroom GraffitiThe Finnish Road Administration (FRA) has developed a new plan for fighting graffiti and vandalism in public restrooms along its highways. The FRA is responsible for Finland’s highway network and for the upkeep, safety, and environment of the highway areas. Part of this includes the rest areas available for motorists to stop off, rest, shower, and go to the bathroom.

In the past, there have been numerous issues with the rest stop bathrooms and vandalism, theft, property damage, as well as fire and arson attempts. Some rest stops also offer garbage disposal as well as shower stalls for motorists to stop and refresh for the long haul.

OpenThe Solution? Send an SMS Text Message!

To solve their problem, a new system was introduced in January 2008. The rooms for showers and toilets are locked and can only be opened by following the instructions on the door.

Text message the word: “OPEN” to the phone number given on the door. The call forwards to a modem which opens the door from elsewhere. The cost of opening these doors is just the cost of sending a text message.

There will be a log of the phone numbers which have send in text messages – to keep track of the users of the bathroom. This way, vandalism, damage, or theft can be properly monitored.

To date, this is known to be the only toilet security system of its kind.

For more information, please visit: Helsingin Sanomat International Edition or the Finnish Road Administration .

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