Part VI the toilet
“Let’s go do some Russian shopping.”
Boris had worked enough for today and he really wanted to show me around his Minsk.
Even though it was a sad example of how badly the Soviet system worked, it was his home and he was proud of it. Andre was able take the rest of the day off so we decided to continue tomorrow.
But, before leaving the building I wanted to use the bathroom and Andre told me where it was located. I walked down the hall and, as I approached the door, I realized I didn’t need directions; I could have found it by following the smell. Inside there were two urinals
on the left and a sink on the right. Straight ahead was another door. There was nothing here to create the foul odor that wafted through the halls. There wasn’t even a wastebasket that might have held someone’s lunch from a week ago.
I took care of my needs but then curiosity got the best of me and I opened the door at the end of the room and looked inside. Instantly my eyes burned and a gasp brought a
small amount of the incredibly noxious air into my lungs.
That was nearly fatal. Nothing on earth could smell so bad, not rotting flesh, not sewage tanks, nothing. It smelled so bad, I WANTED to die. I slammed the door shut and ran for the hallway, unable to breathe. When I was twenty feet down the hall I was able to start breathing again. It took nearly an hour before my eyes stopped watering.
The little room at the end held just a single toilet, but it was a very unusual toilet. There was no tank on the back and there was no seat, just the porcelain commode attached to the floor. A standard concrete building block was positioned on the floor on each side, providing the user of this diabolical odiferous monster a place to position his feet. Then, I assume they would squat down a bit and do their business.
However, it was apparent that they didn’t squat very much and the room had not been cleaned since the building was built. A uniform brown material covered the floor and up the walls around the stool to a height of at least two feet. I’m sure it was my imagination but I remember a hazy film hanging in the air that shot toward the opened door and completely enveloped my head.
For the rest of my stay in Minsk, I made it a point to take care of things before I left the hotel and just hold on all day until I got back to the hotel.