Lake Tekapo and its awesomeness
So, New Zealand, we are learning, has some awesome sights. And I mean awesome in the genuine understanding of the term. Not OMG, this sandwich is awesome. It may be truly tasty, but it’s not awesome. The landscape in New Zealand is awesome – it does indeed inspire awe. But, but when visiting Lake Tekapo – see here…
I declare, never mind this blue wonderment. Tekapo is all about the toilets. And I’ll tell you why – in just a moment.
Travel writing: generation x style
But first, before I am of accused of not fixating on the well-known wonders of a place – let me instruct you that Lonely Planet is excellent at that stuff and has the market covered.
I can verify too that hundreds of millennials have the ‘beautiful photograph of Lake Tekapo market’ cornered on Instagram. Indeed, having been travelling for six months now, I have witnessed their millennial antics all around the world. Sigh. Clambering on to cliff edges in their skimpy outfits, perfectly matching the surrounding colours of the land, accosting passers-by to look like they are best buddies with the locals for their picture-perfect shots. Oh, double sigh. And sticking their automatic selfie stick thingys in your face and shrieking “take a photo” all over the damn place. Ohh flashbacks to our Taj Mahal trip!
Just say what you see.
No no this blog is about the finer details. What everyone really wants to know about. The toilets. Functional blogging, not fantasy. I described in our About Us introduction on the website, we are more your deep-fried than golden-brown variety of traveller. You do not want to look at photographs of me flouncing around in a bikini – so toilets it is.
So back to the Lake Tekapo toilets. Now, when you approach one, be aware. There are in fact toilets on both sides of the block. Don’t be that traveller twit and join the endless queue just because there is one. No. Be an explorer. Be an adventurer, leave the masses and pop round the other side. Behold – 4 vacant toilets await.
So I appreciate what you’re thinking. A blog about lavatories, how boring. Not so. Toilets have in fact been an ongoing feature in our travels around the world.
Take Soweto. I went for a drink with friends in the car wash. Yes, that’s a thing. Went to the restroom and…got locked in. Much drama ensued until my friend, Iain, and a couple of security guards had to rescue me. I blame the aggressive toilet seeker who was rattling and pulling on my door before the lockdown incident. I distinctly heard a clonk. You know. So anyway. Not only was I already standing out like a sore thumb, this is the car wash bar of locals, out emerges the stupid tourist who can’t even negotiate a lavatory door. Oh god, toilet shame, it’s legitimate.
Now you kinda feel something untoward may arise if you open the door marked ‘room service’ and have yourself a peep.
After a while at the bar, yes there’s a bit of a bar theme here, you notice giggling girls fleeing the Ladies. Shifty-looking embarrassed men were leaving the Gents. Well, a couple of beers in, I just had to find out. So this happened –
The door triggers a bell that rings over the bar, signalling that you have opened the door, and you have to buy a round at the bar! You then emerge to a knowing, laughing crowd. Ah damn.
The Hong Kong Story…
The worst toilet incident was, however, in Hong Kong. Now I’ve spoken about this before. And you can read the sorry story with gory pictures here. Traumatic. Traumatic. Bad Hong Kong toilets with fall through floors outside. Jeeze.
Lake Tekapo toilets
But! The Tekapo toilets are a high-tech wonder. So first you have to press the green flashing light. The door whooshes open and in you go. It then closes and locks itself. Do not keep pressing the button to close and lock the door. Nope, nooo. This toilet knows what it’s doing. You won’t then have to stand there with it swishing open and shut several times. Okay, that figured out, follow the instructions. Sit on the toilet.
Now. This seems to activate some plink plonky elevator type music. So there you sit hoping that door is locked – it’s red right so should be okay. There’s music playing, it is all a little weird; then some guy announces you have… minutes! Did he say ten, did he say two?
Countdown is on
Oh, dear God, what if you need over 2 minutes? How long do you ordinarily spend in the toilet?! Okay, speed the proceedings up, he’s counting. Suddenly, the pressure is on.
So next. Follow the signs to the handwashing drying thingmy. Which, it announces, will activate the flushing of the toilet and opening of the door when, and only when, you have washed and dried your hands. My God, don’t mess this up, Kathleen. The music is getting louder. I’m wondering how long I’ve been in there. What happens when your time is up. Hurry. Hurry.
Finally, as promised, hands washed and dried, the toilet flushes, the door slides open – and you emerge, bewildered, back into the sunlight. But then – then- take a moment to watch the faces of the other travellers leaving their cubicle experience. Huh, huh, you won’t see that look on their faces on Instagram.
And here – yes that’s right toilet lovers, is a video of the proud opening of my number one Lake Tekapo tourist travel tip, whoop!