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.
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,
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?