Monday, November 12, 2012

A Theme Park Dedicated to Toilets and the Crap That Goes In Them

This is one for Ripley's "Believe-It-Or-Not." Before you die, there is one place you've got to visit. It's a theme park that rivals Disneyworld. I'm talking about the "world's first toilet theme park" in South Korea. On display are Roman-style loos, European bedpans, and ancient Korean flush toilets as well as fun facts about poop. 

This theme park is the idea of the former mayor of Suwon, Sim Jae-Duck. He led a crusade to clean up the country's (and the world's) commodes. The story goes that the mayor was actually born in the toilet of his parent's house, and he has created the world's only toilet-shaped house, and founded the World's Toilet Association (are you a member yet?). 
The mayor was on a crusade for proper plumbing and clean toilets which are still a rarity in many parts of the world. I remember visiting Nigeria where we came upon a Mobil gas station. It looked modern and very much like a Mobil station that you would find in the states. But the shocker was that the bathrooms (if one could call them that) were two separate walls, one for men and one for women. You would walk around the wall and come upon an open area with piled up excrement from previous customers (by now, you're probably getting sick and saying TMI, "too much information!"). There were NO toilets--all you were left to do was just squat and go about your business, all the while holding your nose to avoid the stench that made you want to gag.  

This theme park also has a serious message because several exhibits are intended to raise awareness of public toilets and sanitation in the developing world.

Sim probably spoke for many when he said the toilet was also a place for serious contemplation. "The toilet is not merely a place for excretion. It can save humankind from diseases," he reportedly told delegates at a meeting of the World Toilet Association, which he founded in 2007.

And if you've ever seen the open sewers in the third world or squatted over a hole in the ground, or faced a pile of excrement that posed as a gas station restroom, then you can appreciate the importance of Sim's message and maybe the need for a toilet theme park. 

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