Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Washing Hands in Italy

Pictured here is part of the restroom at The Art Bar in Florence, Italy. My friend Lisa encouraged me to go back and snap this shot after I told her the following story. Maybe it will save you some embarrassment when you travel abroad.

In the fall of 2006, my friend Jay and I were enjoying “Green Days” – a sour bright green vodka drink (no longer on the menu) at the Happy Hour at Rex’s on Via Fiesolana in Firenze. Inevitably, I had to make the journey to the necessary room. I wanted to wash my hands afterwards, but returned to our table a bit frustrated. I told Jay that a couple of Italians were laughing at me as I tried in vain to get the water to run from the faucets of two sinks.

There were no knobs to twist or turn, so naturally (for an American?) I assumed there was a sensor to turn on the water automatically. So, I waved my hands in increasingly exaggerated motions over and into the sink. Thinking it must be broken, I then moved to the second sink and repeated my endeavors. Niente!

Jay explained that there was a button to push on the floor, although in this case, it was very subtle. In the photo here, you can see two foot pedals: red for warm water, blue for cold. How clever! I mean, your hands are already either dirty or lathered up, so does it not make more sense to turn the water on with something other than your hands?

May you enhance your own powers of observation in 2008!


Jo Castillo said...

Oh my. Sounds like a brain test for me. At least they have a place to wash your hands.

Rodneu said...

Aw my dear the ways of the world.
You were exstreamly lucky to have water. When I was in Italy in the
early 60s it was much more primitive than they are today. I
found going to the necessary in any
part of europe in the 60s an

Kelly Borsheim said...

Doh! I never meant to imply that Italy is backwards. ha ha. but it is different from the American way of life. That is actually part of its charm, after all. Thanks for the comments -- they made me smile.