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Website of the Week — Bathroom Diaries


Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations.

This time it's a website that uses the Internet to pool the knowledge of locals and travelers so that when you're on the road in a strange place you'll know where to go.

RACIN: "Thebathroomdiaries.com is the world's largest Internet guide to public bathrooms."

Mary Ann Racin says the idea for Thebathroomdiaries.dot.com came during a family trip to Paris, where she says she was surprised to find a restaurant equipped with a squat toilet, something most Americans wouldn't expect.

RACIN: "And I thought to myself, you know, I would have wanted to know beforehand what the bathroom was like. We know the menu; the menus are posted outside. Why don't they tell you what the bathroom is like beforehand? So then I thought, well, it must be on the Internet because everything's on the Internet. But lo-and-behold, it was not on the Internet and I thought, eureka, this is it. I'll do a website about this."

TheBathroomDiaries.com now features more than 12,000 public restrooms in more than 120 countries, described and rated by individual contributors.

There are listings for hotels in Harare and restaurants in Russia and train stations in Taiwan. Even a couple of places in Antarctica. Although most of the restrooms are in the United States, Mary Ann Racin is actively trying to expand the site's listings in other countries, with an eye on international events that will draw lots of visitors.

RACIN: "Beijing and Shanghai, with the Olympics coming up and the World Games in Shanghai, I'm really trying to do research and hopefully your listeners out there will help me with that. It's the people surfing the Internet who enter the listings and rate the bathrooms."

Also be sure to check out the pictures of the world's best bathrooms — winners of the Golden Plunger award — with artist-designed decor, fresh flowers, gold fixtures and one even has a pool table. Your guide to where to go, thebathroomdiaries.com, or get the link from our site, voanews.com.

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