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Realizing I was not being attacked, and that, contrary to my initial belief, I did not press Zurich's version of the "Big Red Button," I relaxed against the stall door and experienced a sense of awe as the now-disinfected toilet seat returned to its original position and the mechanical arm retracted into the wall. I was convinced I had just witnessed the underappreciated cousins of Hasbro's Cybertron Tranformers win a battle against the Evil Germs.

"You feeling okay? You were gone for a long time," David said when I joined him outside the restaurant. He raised his brows in response to my devilish grin. "What it is it? Another weird toilet?" Earlier I had regaled him with the tale of a brushed stainless-steel unisex Porto-a-Potty that looked like an alien battle cruiser and shot water and soap from holes on the inside wall when the right combination of buttons was pressed.

"You'll have to see this one for yourself," I said.

"Is it like the other ones?"

"Yeah, sort of," I answered. Then, quoting the T-shirt we had seen that morning emblazoned with the four words that have come to sum up my first European experience, I said, "Same same. But different."

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