What’s an easy, universal measurement for how nice a city is?  The availability and style of its public bathrooms.

I find running paths in every city I travel to because it’s the best way for me to wake up in the morning.  It’s also, arguably, the best way to explore a new city.  I was astounded to see public bathrooms along the river path on my first morning run in SK; not only were they available, but they had toilet paper, and they were very nice and clean!  Man, I tell ya, I knew Korea was a pretty fantastic place right then at that discovery.  The population must be a pretty responsible crowd to be able to handle these public facilities:

Speaking of toilets, Korea also has bidets.  If you’re unfamiliar with bidets, they are toilets that can wash your butt and do a lot of other things, but I’ve never seen English buttons on one, so I don’t know exactly what the buttons do… and I’m not adventurous enough to try it all out.  Below are pictures of two different bidets.  It seems like Samsung makes everything in Korea, but who knew they make speciality tech toilets, too?  I really hope this product line of theirs doesn’t explode, as well… HA.

If you’re ever sitting on a bidet in Korea “trying things out” or just taking too long, the lights will probably go out on you because they’re motion-detection lights; do the gangnam dance, and they’ll turn back on.  Someone also might knock on the door to see if someone is in the stall because the doors go down to the floor, so people can’t look underneath to spot a pair of shoes.  Don’t yell back like an ogre American, or you’ll startle the knocker… you should just politely knock back.

Lastly, just to be safe, you have to always throw your toilet paper in the trash next to the toilet.  This might seem weird and unsanitary, but you have to just suck it up and do it.  A lot of the sewage systems in Korea aren’t strong enough to handle toilet paper, and there is nothing worse than the aftermath from when those sewage systems lose the battle.  RIP.

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