Something to be excited about

A female never knows what she will encounter when she decides to use a toilet in a developing country.  She’s lucky if there is a toilet instead of a squat pot (and I don’t mean a “little” pot – I mean it’s in the floor and there’s nothing to sit on).  She’s extra lucky if the toilet has a seat.  She hits the jackpot when the toilet actually flushes.  She has reached the pinnacle of her trip when there’s toilet paper.

Toilet seats seem like such a basic thing, don't you think? Not in Guatemala.

When Dale and I backpacked through Ecuador for eighteen days in December 2010, I found that flushing toilets and toilet paper were a rarity.  At one bus station I was perplexed as to what I was supposed to do about the situation.  Not only was there no water in the toilet tank, there was a cage over the tank so I couldn’t take off the lid and pour in water.  I guess water is a hot commodity in some parts of Ecuador.

Last December when we backpacked through Belize and Guatemala, I found that toilet seats must be a big item on the black market.  I can’t even remember how many times I walked into a bathroom and said, “Again?”  The most memorable, or should I say, worst time was the morning after Dale and I both had food poisoning.  We had to board a shuttle for a four-hour drive up windy mountain roads with an insufferable amount of hairpin turns.  When we finally reached the top, I was ready for a break.  I headed to a bathroom at a rest area only to find that, although there was toilet paper and water in the tank, it was lacking a seat.  Super.

On a happy note, I came across an unexpected pleasantry when we were in Livingston,

One of the highlights (for me) of our Central America adventure

Guatemala preparing to take a few ferry rides to Belize.  The backpacker inn we were staying at not only had toilet paper, each piece of the paper had an imprint of a dog sitting next to a stop sign.  I figured this was a creative way to remind me that I needed to place the paper in the trash can rather than flush it.  How cute.

What memorable toilet travel stories do you have?

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2 comments on “Something to be excited about

  1. Dale Harshman says:

    Yes, the developing country toilet situation is always worse for the ladies. I had forgotten about the cute imprinted toilet paper in Guatemala. Why don’t we have imprinted TP here in the US when a poor Central American country does? I would think that the American corporate marketing geniuses would see some kind of opportunity there…

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