What do you look for in a place that offers room and board? Distance from your workplace? Of course. Price? That goes without saying.  The bathroom facilities? Ah, now this is one particular aspect you might want to pay extra attention to…

There’s the usual stuff such as the ratio of rooms vs. the bathrooms (if it’s too low you might be forced to wake up extra early each morning so that you don’t have to join the chaos that ensues when everybody tries to take a bath at the same time), the cleanliness of the bathrooms (especially the toilet seats, right?), toilet seats or squatting toilets (this would be a matter of personal choice, obviously), and of course whether each room has its own bathroom or if there’re several communal bathrooms shared by all tenants.

Now, a special note on the issue of private vs. public bathrooms. Years ago, a friend of mine found a new job in Jakarta and naturally she looked for a room to rent. Unfortunately, she had no time to do a proper survey. So, she simply picked one that looked like the best option: A bit on the expensive side but it’s a women-only boardinghouse, fully air-conditioned, plenty of parking space, 24-hour security, and—most importantly—private bathrooms in each room.

But when she finally moved in, she discovered that her so-called “private bathroom” consisted of a one square meter area in the corner with a shower that was separated from the rest of the room by a 10-cm high step and a shower curtain.

In the end, she mostly used the communal bathrooms.

Moral of the story? Always check beforehand what your boardinghouse actually offers… especially when it comes to the bathrooms.

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