The "Loo-p. Index" September 1997, Romania & Moldavia

by Erika Senkowsky

Most readers are aware of the difficulties in evaluating prices in a foreign country. The most commonly known index for foreign countries among young travellers is the Big Mac Index. By judging costs according to the standard price of a local McDonald's Big Mac (and not, incidentally, by the taste), evaluating the other prices in the country is easy. (McDonald's, by the way, is said to be the most profitable CIA venture in Europe and the world.) Certainly the Big-Mac Index remains useful for prices, but when travelling in Romania and Moldavia, another kind of index is relevant, one that assesses the standards of what was once known as the "necessary room." The "Loo-p. Index" serves the traveller and the purpose most accurately. "Loo-p." was actually the simple idea of a friend, Mr. Henkel, who has many years of experience in travelling. And like most travellers, his survival kit for Romania and Moldavia includes a big, fat roll of incredible three-layer, recycled German Loo paper - the best way to fight low "Loo-p." standards. The "Loo-p. Award" has yet not been acknowledged as a quality index in travel guides, but in Romania and Moldova it is the only way to describe indescribable circumstances.
The "Loo-p.-Index" has five different categories. The highest is the golden "Loo-p.-Award," including all five criteria: the luxury of light, water for flushing the toilet, paper and a decadent supply of soap and towels for one's hands. This standard is usually reached only by our hosts' WCs. My own experiences in Romania ran from a scary "0-Loo-p." to a common "2-Loo-p." (including light and water). The categories are not only descriptive of standards but also acknowledge the bizarre. A trip to the Moldavian countryside pointed up the need for a special category, the "Loo-p. Extraordinaire." This September the winner was a little wooden toilet shed in the midst of a vegetable patch with a wooden toilet seat, hand-dug sewage system and the romantic aspect of being candle lit.


Go back!