24 November 2007

A Country Flush

"The subject of my laughter was because the bookmark was advertising, wait for it, the 'National Public Toilet Map'!!...After all, I was in Canberra, a city that has 'circuits' instead of roundabouts and a Parliament that has a lawn on its roof"

A couple of days ago, my wife and I thought we would drive down to Canberra and attend an event held by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Our main reason for going was that a good friend of ours, Jia, was one of the keynote speakers at this event.

We had a great time and got to talk to a number of ICRC members about their work across the globe. As we bade our farewell (we were driving back to Sydney the same day - 600 kms round trip), I noticed a stand that contained some informational leaflets. I decided to check them out while waiting for my wife.

There was one in particular that drew my attention. It was shaped like a bookmark and had the Australian Government emblem on it. I decided to pick it up and let out a small stifled laugh when I read what it was promoting.

The subject of my laughter was because the bookmark was advertising, wait for it, the 'National Public Toilet Map'!!

My first thought was "what the ?". After all, I was in Canberra, a city that has 'circuits' instead of roundabouts and a Parliament that has a lawn on its roof. To me it was something that I would expect to find in the nations capital. In my opinion, Canberra is a crazy governmental sterile type of place. If you ever visit Canberra do so with an open mind, and don't stay too long, otherwise you may get to like it.

Anyway, the Australian Government has apparently set up a website called http://www.toiletmap.gov.au/ to help Australians, and tourists alike better plan their journeys. I suppose, putting on my serious hat for a few seconds, that if you have young children, or suffer from incontinence then it may be a good idea to have this information at hand.

However, the fact that the Government has spent loads of money setting up the website and advertising it seems quite ludicrous given all the other problems that the country is experiencing at present. But for now, I'll put aside my view of Australia's woes until another day.

Being an inquisitive type of person, I decided to take a look at the website to see what I could learn about all things lavatorial.

When you enter the website, the first thing that you notice is that the search functionality is divided into 'Browse', 'Find' and 'Plan'. I quickly clicked on 'Find' and entered in my postcode. Sure enough, the search results revealed that I am surrounded by five public toilets, including one at the railway station (which is normally locked up). Wow, amazing stuff! I then searched on other parts of Australia and found details of more public toilets!

By now, I was getting excited (which doesn't say much). Who'd have thought that searching for toilets would be such fun!

Next I tried out the 'Plan' functionality that allows you to identify all the public toilets between two destinations. I entered details of two suburbs in Sydney to see how many of them there would be. Well, the search results advised me that there were six public toilets on my chosen route, and it even gave me directions on how to get there! The only thing missing was information about the toilet rolls contained in each toilet!

You can also register for your own 'Toilet Map' and save your favourite trips and destinations, as well. All important stuff indeed. The thing that really amazed me was that you can subscribe to a newsletter.

Now I don't know about you, but my mind was thinking about what the newsletter would contain. Would it give an update on the state of toilets for Bunbury?, have testimonials from a Mrs Jones who used the toilet planner to travel from Wagga Wagga to Forbes?, and would there be a picture of the 'Toilet of the Month"?

Who knows, but I am tempted to subscribe and find out!

No comments: