Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Travel Tips and Toilet Paper

I don't know that anyone who has never left their hometown would find much of interest to read on this blog. It's all about kindred spirits and connections, right?

Which means I am starting at a baseline that you all have passports and know how to use them. If this assumption is correct, it is understood travel colors who you are and how you view the world. How you deal with everyday life.

Case in point: Hubbie grabbed a package of toilet paper while out at the grocery store. We were running low, and he thoughtfully picked up what he thought was our regular brand.

During our nightly routine of brushing and flushing, I grabbed for the toilet paper. And stopped cold. I looked at my hand, looked at him and asked What's up with the Communist toilet paper?

Anyone who has traveled in former Iron Curtain countries knows exactly what I am talking about. A friend of mine had described it to me, and while I thought that Swedish toilet paper was frugal on the ply, my trip to Estonia hammered the lesson home. There is nothing like it in the world. You wouldn't dare wipe tears with it for fear of splinters in your eyeball.

So what life lessons have you learned in your travels? I have learned to always carry a supply of toilet paper on my person. When that fails, rummage around in the backs of the cabinets because if your host has put out Communist toilet paper for you, they've hidden their personal stash of three-ply Western toilet paper up above the tank behind the cleaning products.


Joe said...

THREE-PLY!?!? Wow.

I go bonkers whenever wife puts a new roll on backwards.... pull from the front of the roll, not the back. I think she does it just to ruffle my feathers sometimes.

tysdaddy said...

At work, and at school now that I think about it, we have this TP that is so thin it's practically see-through. It takes like half a damn roll to accomplish anything resembling cleanliness.

I shit at home . . .

headbang8 said...

Hint: Single-ply toilet paper becomes double-ply when you take two sheets and fold them over. That is precisely how the ex-communists survived under the yoke of the evil empire.

That's my tip. More makes things better.

If the pillow is too thin, use two. If the rental car is underpowered, floor it, mercilessly.

Greek wine or Russian vodka is only awful for the first five glasses. After that, it's just swell.

On completely unrelated subjects, take everything off below the waist before attempting to use a traditional Japanese toilet. If you are a normal-sized westerner, do not attempt to buy clothes, shoes or condoms in Japan.

If you are an American, do not attempt to defend the swill which your country passes off as beer.

If you are an Australian, remember that what you call a friendly bar brawl, in most other places, amounts to assault and battery.

When you visit Sweden, you will be surprised at how unsexy everyone is.

The French are more like the British than they are like the Italians. I have figures to prove it.

The Germans are not humourless. They simply don't laugh at stuff they find funny. But they find it funny. Honest.

A German shop assistant will say no three times before finally agreeing t sell you that item which is clearly marked for sale in the window.

And Italy is cool, even in the dumpy bits.

Sherrie said...


Love it! I still remember my first trip to a public washroom in Moscow (it was also my first time outside of Canada), and I was mortified there was no tissue. Then a woman throws open the door and offers to sell me some. A lot of screaming in russian and then a lot of screaming as I used it. :P

A Free Man said...

You gals and your TP. I bought some recycled paper the other day - you know, save the planet for our children - and got completely shouted down. Come on, everyone has to make sacrifices.

buddha_girl said...

There is nothing like bad TP.

For real.

I will admit to having run out of tissues and had a boogie nose kid with me...and torn apart my bag in search for a lone pad that might be lurking about. I've used the little covering (much like cloth unlike the plastic coverings for tampons) to wipe my kid's nose.

In public.
Under what appeared to be harsh scrutiny.

If they can't stand my originality and ability to avoid public restrooms when out of tissues, they better stand back!

Gypsy said...

I learned to squat in the toilets in the Mediterranean. You know, the ones without a toilet, where it's just a hole in the floor and two places for your feet?

Bluestreak said...

here in spain you're lucky to find toilet paper in any public restroom. usually the only thing available are bar napkins which are a lot like wax paper that doesn't absorb anything, making it useless for wiping crumbs from your mouth, much less anything you would need it for in the bathroom. i always carry kleenex with me.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Um, yes. Let's see. Don't go to Germany when you're in your first trimester. Brats on a woozy stomach? Not so good.

Carry a roll of toilet paper in your backpack while in Egypt. The bathroom attendant only hands out one handful of paper at a time and if you have to do more than pee? You're screwed and will be using your left hand.

When going to Bonaire, you are going there to dive. Your scuba gear is much more important than clothing. One pair of shorts, two t-shirts will do you just fine for the whole week. You'll be wearing a wetsuit most of the time anyway.

And that's all I've got! :)

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@Joe: I have to have the roll a particular way as well. Thank god Hubbie agrees.

@tysdaddy: I can't wait 'til I get home. That's why women carry purses. :)

@headbang8: It may become double-ply but you get twice the splinters. And hell yeah about the traditional toilets. What a nightmare those can be.

@Sherrie: The selling of tp is genius, you can't do without it, ya know?

@A Free Man: Sorry man, I've got to go with Dr. O'C on this one. This changing Z after a big dump with no wipes.

@Buddha_Girl: A girls gotta do what she's gotta do. Ain't no shame in that.

@Gypsy: I dealt with one of those in Croatia. In the dark. I took a picture.

@Bluestreak: We learned that lesson in Madrid. Bring your own paper products.

@CMGD: Good to know! And everyone pees in their wetsuit, don't they?