As we traveled throughout the cities and towns of South Africa, we ate at many first world restaurants with first world toilets, in Cape Town, Lady Grey, Ladybrand, Clarens, Durban and Sabie. And when we weren’t eating at a restaurant, finding a toilet was similar to finding one in the U.S. while traveling in an unfamiliar area. One has to ask.
After shopping in a small grocery store in the South African town of Ladybrand, I followed the cashier’s directions to the back of the store and entered its entrails. As I walked slowly, not sure where to go, a friendly young Afrikaans woman found me and told me to follow her. She walked quickly with authority, turning corners often, joking and laughing with employees we encountered along the way. Handing me the key, she left me with instructions to lock the door when I was done. The toilet was small but adequate, not unlike what I have encountered in supermarkets in the U.S. As I left, I locked the door and began walking, attempting to retrace my steps through the maze of corridors and boxes. The Afrikaans woman found me and escorted me to the front of the store where I found my family ready to leave.
Later that day we found a KFC with a clean and easily accessible restroom. Though not quite an adventure, stopping there was simple and reminded us of home.