John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Here’s the guidebook intrepid travelers never knew they needed.
Now, the primary reference source for unshowered globe-trotters has delivered a handbook for that most common of needs—finding a place to relieve oneself. It’s quite a collection, too, with photos of 100-plus restrooms from a delightfully minimalist wooden pissoir in the Icelandic barrens, to vegetal clump-huts on the beaches of Brazil, to an island in Belize whose only apparent purpose is to support a toilet.
Here’s Lonely Planet’s pitch for Toilets: A Spotter’s Guide:
As any experienced traveller knows, you can tell a whole lot about a place by its bathrooms. Whatever you prefer to call them—lavatory, loo, bog, khasi, thunderbox, dunny, bathroom, restroom, washroom or water closet—toilets are a (sometimes opaque, often wide-open) window into the secret soul of a destination.
In these pages you’ll find porcelain pews with fantastic views, audacious attention-seeking urban outhouses, and ecothrones made from sticks and stones in all sorts of wild settings, from precipitous mountain peaks to dusty deserts. So, wherever you’re reading this, we hope you’re sitting comfortably.
Below, find a few selections from the book, which would fit nicely on the coffee table or on a ledge in your, uh, “thunderbox.”
Toilets: A Spotter’s Guide, $11.99 at Lonely Planet.