When traveling, there are a few key words you should know in the language of the country you are visiting. My husband will tell you that “beer” is one of those words, but “bathroom” tops my list.
In Romania, it’s “toaleta.” Easy enough
…or so I thought until trying to find the toilet at a spa we visited this morning.
I had slipped into my bathing suit, but wanted to visit the bathroom before enjoying the sauna-steam-swimming trilogy. I approached an open door in the dressing room which looked like a small bathroom. The doorway was blocked by a woman who worked at the spa.
“Toaleta?” I asked, pointing at the doors behind the woman.
She looked at me like I had a booger dangling from my nose and shook her head.
“No toaleta?” I asked incredulously. I don’t care what country you’re in, no one wants you to pee in the pool.
The woman shook her head again and pointed to the door leading out of the dressing room. Okay. I surmised, perhaps there was a bathroom on the way to the pool. Regardless, this lady wasn’t going to let me into what looked like a bathroom to me. Perhaps she was cleaning it.
I sighed and left the dressing room to track down a toilet. No luck. Exasperated (having the world’s smallest bladder is often exasperating), I returned to the ladies dressing room where Attila the Hun-ess was guarding what I now knew had to be the only ladies restroom in the joint.
“Toilet?” I asked, pointing behind her, foregoing Romanian since it had gotten me no where.
She looked at me blankly.
I could shove her out of the doorway or try saying “toilet” in every language I knew. In the interest of keeping the peace between our two countries, I chose the later.
“Toilette. Toalety. W.C. Toaleta. Loo. El bano. Il bagno. Toiletten. Toilet.”
At this time, an elderly woman who I had seen stark naked in the communal shower room entered the fray. Thank God she now had a towel wrapped around herself.
“Toilet.” the old woman said in English that despite being laced with a Romanian accent was so clear she would have been understood from the Bronx to Waleska.
Luckily for me, Attila the Hun-ess, aka Toilet Guardian, understood her English as well.
“Ah, toilet!” The Protectoress of the White Throne exclaimed as the light bulb of realization lit.
“Toilet.” I said again… exactly as I had said it before…nodding as she ushered me into the bathroom.
So, was the Toilet Monitor messing with me or is my American accent worse than I thought? Or perhaps she’s Russian and I should have tried “Toalet.” Yea…Russian. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.