It’s sometimes the little things that surprise you about a country. One of those small things that I have found strange here in Bulgaria is the toilet etiquette. In the UK, if you need to go to the toilet, you:
- Try to open the door of the cubicle.
- If it’s open, use it.
- If it’s occupied, stand just outside the door and wait until the person comes out.
The first time I did step 3 here, a man from my office nearly jumped out of his skin when he came out of the cubicle (and before any smart alec comments: yes, the toilets are unisex). I’ve since learnt from observation that in Bulgaria, normal practice is to:
- Knock on the door.
- If there’s no response, open the door and use the toilet.
- If somebody responds, run away and hide somewhere.
Of course, the other explanation is that most Bulgarian bathrooms are actually haunted. Either way, you hear the knocks on the door, but when you come out, there is no evidence that anybody was ever there. Wwwwooooooooooooooooooo…
PS While I’m on the subject, the other thing that confuses me about bathrooms in Bulgaria is: why do they use ‘WC’ signs here? W isn’t even a letter in the Cyrillic alphabet…