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What Latin America Can Learn From New Zealand

Please, Latin America, take this tip. You’re confusing us.

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It’s a phenomenon that all travelers in Latin America have noticed but not a single one has ever been able to explain:

The lack of toilet seats.

For some reason, toilet seats all throughout this region are mysteriously prone to becoming detached, lost, and never replaced. It’s as though they are a frivolous add-on rather than a core part of the toilet mechanism. Where all of these missing toilet seats end up is a mystery — is there a massive trash heap full of them? Do people steal them and sell them on the black market like hubcaps?

What makes this state of affairs interesting is that it’s not just in the poor communities or the cheap-o roach hotels that toilet seats have a high prevalence of being missing, but in mid-range establishments as well. You can pay out a little for what seems to be a nice hotel and then open the door of the bathroom to find that the toilet seat flew the coop long ago.

Well, Latin America, New Zealand has a solution for you:

The stationary toilet seat.

This breed of toilet seat cannot be moved. You can’t lift it up. You don’t have to worry about putting it back down. It’s firmly attached to the body of the toilet. It cannot be detached, lost, or even stolen — well, it would take some prying. It’s more of a toilet platform than any kind of seat.

Please, Latin America, take a tip from New Zealand and just nail those things down. You’re confusing us.


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Filed under: Latin America, New Zealand, Travel Diary

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3722 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

1 comment… add one

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  • Deepak Subramony December 4, 2017, 1:09 pm

    Toilet seats in public toilets are also surprisingly rare in Italy, in my experience. You fork up 2 euros only to find that there is no seat. They might as well start building Asian-style squat toilets if they are so allergic to seats.

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