• Wolfgang Fobo

How to pee correctly in a Muslim country


It happens to everybody. When you are on the road for hours, eventually the call of nature will make you stop your car, and if there are no toilet facilities around, you check in the wild a decent place where you can relieve yourself.

So it happened in Balochistan. „Women to the left, men to the right“, and we dispersed into the nature…

Coming back to the bus, our guide told me a lesson: „When you pee, never pee into direction of Mecca, we Muslims consider this as a grave insult. Should somebody drive by seeing you peeing into direction of Mecca, he may reprimand you”. “And how do you know where is Mecca?”, I asked. “We Muslims know”, was the reply.

So, thereafter, when the occasion came, I always asked the guide where was Mecca.

I was fascinated and decided to make a field study. Next country to visit was Yemen, I asked the guide whether he knew in which direction was Mecca. He didn‘t know, and when I told him the reason, he laughed and said that was complete BS. A month later, in Iraq, same reaction. The guides in both Federal Iraq and Kurdistan joked and replied that the Pakistanis apparently exaggerate.

An alternative to avoid seeking the direction of Mecca could be to pee the Pakistani way: squat down, this seems to be accepted technique without raising eyebrows.


I will continue with my investigation.

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