When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Pay
Day 492 – November 25, 2012
Today was a shopping day as the family hiked (okay, we drove) it down to the Miraflores area of Lima and wandered around one of markets. Our mercado of choice for today was Inka Plaza. This shrine to buying housing all manner of objects for the tourist to remember his or her visit to Peru. Stall are crammed full of alpaca shawls, T-shirts, chess sets, silver, jewelry, and other assorted items.
Here, look for yourself…
However, this post is not meant to be a quaint retrospective about our mercantile visit. Instead, I wanted to draw your attention to a tiny facet of living in Peru.
During our shopping sojourn, the call of nature came upon me and I detached myself from the vendors and sellers to find the facilities. For those of you journeying to Peru for the first time, you should be aware that the letters SS.HH. are what you are looking for if you need a lavatory (or “loo” for those of your reading on the other side of the Pond). Those letters stand for Servicio Higiencios which could be translated literally as “Hygiene Services”…which is a good enough name for restroom if you ask me.
To borrow a turn of phrase from one of the members of the Fellowship of the Ring, One does not simply walk into a SS.HH. No, one must engage in a transaction and pay for the privilege.
Outside the SS.HH. in the Inka Plaza (and the same thing has occurred me to at Lima’s main zoo), there is a desk with an attendant. Before entering, I had to tell this individual standing guard outside the SS.HH. why I needed to use the facilities. I had to be direct and tell him exactly the mode of relief I needed because the price is different depending on whether I needed to stand or sit. After making my wishes known, I was presented with an admission ticket…
Thirty centavos (about eleven cents) is a small price to pay for relief.