The conditions of the toilets along the journey at these areas were out of this world, outrageously & shockingly dirty & filthy. They had not been maintained at all...most of the rest areas had no toilets for the ladies.
It is demeaning since Saudi has a king who hailed himself as the guardian of two holy mosques and Islam promotes cleanliness. Saudi is also a rich country.
It was cultural shock for me as I thought our (Malaysia's) public toilets were dirty.
It is very much different in the UAE with the petrol stations along the Saudi border to Abu Dhabi provide good and clean toilets.
I thought Saudi public toilet conditions had been improved until I read an entry by a blogger recently
I have written previously on the typical condition of public toilets in Saudi Arabia. And I have also suggested a woman may prefer the open expanse of the desert for relief rather than try to use a public toilet…particularly if one is driving between Riyadh and Makkah for example. However recently I heard of the alternative taken by one expat woman which I believe has simply gone too far. During this woman’s travels and seeing the pitiful condition of the public toilets adjacent to the masjid (mosque), instead of attempting to use the toilet, she actually went in to the empty masjid and relieved herself on the carpeted floor of the masjid. She did this intending to make a point about the conditions of the public toilets and seemed not to comprehend how most individuals would react to her actions.and one comment:-
After another recent road trip I have become convinced that the elite and wealthy of Saudi Arabia simply do not use public toilets nor do they travel any great distances in a car. Why am I making such a statement you may ask? Because consistently when traveling either East to West or North to South the conditions of the public toilets at wayside places where one would stop are atrocious and among the filthiest I have seen in my life. I was going to post a photo taken with my mobile phone camera but I decided it was actually to distasteful to publicly post.
For a rich country not much time or effort or interest is spent on public facilities. The majority of public toilets are connected with a mosque. Think about it, it is typical to wash and ensure one is clean (make woodoo) before praying in the mosque. Yet even the individuals preparing for their prayers must walk on floors that are not only dirty and covered with filth but usually have 2-3 inches of water amassed on the floor as well. Now imagine that scenario if you are also a woman wearing an abaya and trying to squat over a “two stepper” toilet all the while having to watch just where you do place your feet because of all the filth and garbage and waste all around. I find this appalling.
As a result, it has convinced me that the elite and wealthy have likely never been anywhere near these public toilets. I further understand why people may choose to fly from Riyadh to Damman instead of drive the 3 hour trip. The worse is going from Riyadh to Mecca. While one can have an enjoyable car ride with the changing scenery again the public toilets defy the imagination.
It really saddens me that better care is not taken for the provision of clean public washrooms. I would gladly pay a few token riyals each time I used one to know that would ensure their maintenance and cleanliness. I think back on the public rest stop areas in the States which would not only have clean western style toilets but many would also have rooms with showers as well.
I’ve traveled to many countries and Saudi Arabia is right at the top of the list of countries with the worse and dirtiest public toilets along the highways.
I have lived in Malaysia for quite a while and there’s no thought in that they maintain cleanliness in terms of all facilities, .. toilets on highways,malls,stations … and general areas; including not throwing trash outside the bins .. Part of the reason i see is that they charge for use .. which I think is totally acceptable. I think most of us wouldn’t mind paying for better facilities.
Thats also the reason for the amazing highways of Malaysia .. coz they have tolls .. thus they r able to provide excellent “Rehats” … rest places .. where you would find showers, toilets, prayer areas, fruit vendors, and restorans, gas stations, …
Also, I think that a lot depends on the people who r using it. A countless number of times I came across toilets where people squatted over the western style, leaving their filthy footmarks over the seat .. and obviously making it unhygienic for other people. Now this cant be dealt with, unless people start respecting other people. …
… the latest trip being jarir .. jarir is supposed to be the top notch bookstore .. so we expect their toilets to be at least cleaner …
I remember at Ikea Malaysia , the sign read “leave the toilet as you would have wanted to find it” …. CLEAN !
I would be happy to find clean toilets in the cities first … the highways .. err .. i have given up on it …