Small Differences in Culture
Listen, I respect and understand that every culture has its differences.
Some of the differences are perceived as good and others are perceived as bad by outsiders. I’m not being judgmental while I elaborate on the topic of this paragraph.
I live in this region of the world and have traveled to many countries outside of the West.
If I had to list one of the biggest differences between Western culture and most other parts of the world, it has to be the conditions of the restrooms.
In the West, we are used to a restroom being clean. We expect ample toilet paper, soap, paper towels, and a poop fan. There should be a separate shower, sink, and proper toilet. There is no water on the floor. Maybe it smells like some type of potpourri or air freshener.
Restrooms Are Not Created Equal
When you leave the West, the concept of a restroom takes on a whole different atmosphere.
In many cultures, it seems as if the restroom didn’t have any effort put into its design or construction. Maybe there is a squat toilet with a bucket of water next to it. Sometimes there is a Western-style toilet, but it has no toilet seat and you have to manually flush it with a pail of water.
There is not a roll of shit paper in sight, no paper towels, and no soap.
The floor is always wet because the entire room doubles as the shower. Sometimes there is an inch of water on the floor.
So, how do you, as the foreign guy, navigate the rudimentary restroom issue when you visit your girlfriend’s home out in the village?
Avoid the Issue and Stay at a Hotel in Town
If you’re a five-star guy who is used to staying at a Marriott or the Hilton, try to find a small hotel near your girl’s home.
That way, you don’t have to spend the night in the village. You can take a dump before you venture to her house, visit for a few hours, and then make it back to the hotel before dark.
If you only have to take a piss, it shouldn’t be that big of an issue.
Out in the province, it’s easier to piss behind a coconut tree than to have to navigate the family CR.
So, I guess this method would be referred to as avoiding the issue altogether.
*I forgot to mention that here in the Philippines, a restroom is called the comfort room or CR for short.
Be Prepared and Bring a Backpack
What if there are no hotels nearby and you have to stay at the family home?
What if you get a sudden onset of the runs and have to go?
This is where being prepared really pays off. The obvious safeguard is to make sure you always have a roll of shit paper in your backpack.
In addition, make sure to pack a bar of soap, a bottle of water, and a small towel.
With the combination of these items, you can successfully take a dump in the harshest of conditions.
If you’ve got toilet paper, you already know how to use that piece of gear. I’ll move into the unknown…
Most toilets here don’t have the automatic flush feature. You have to use the little pail that’s floating in the trash can full of water. Just pour two or three pails of water in the toilet and it should do the trick.
If you’re out of toilet paper, you will use this little pail of water to wash your ass.
It may sound complicated but just imagine that the pail of water is a shower. Pour some water down your crack and hand wash your ass. Use the bar of soap you packed.
Yep, just like taking a shower without a wash cloth. Your hand becomes the washcloth. Then, wash your hands with the soap.
Let your ass air dry or use the small towel you’ve packed.
The trick for me is that I take off all my clothes and hang them on a nail or something. That way, I don’t come out of there looking like I fell in a swimming pool.
Trust me, if you try to wash your ass with your pants down at your ankles, you’re going to fuck it up. You’ll have a combination of water and shit all over yourself.
As Westerners, we are not coordinated enough to wash our asses with our trousers, shoes, and socks on.
Speaking of shoes and socks, you will typically take off your shoes when you enter a home here in the Philippines. Do yourself a favor and take off your socks as well.
When you go to the restroom, there will usually be an old pair of flip flops that are community property, sitting outside the door. They will probably be pretty nasty, but slip your feet in there and use them. The floor may be much worse than the sandals.
So, here it is again, step by step:
- Get naked.
- Take a dump.
- Pour three pails of water in the toilet to make it flush.
- Hand wash your ass with soap and water.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Air dry.
- Put your clothes back on.
Success! You can do it.
Don’t Forget the Bottle of Water!
Why bring the bottle of water?
Well, if there’s no water in the big trashcan, you’re prepared.
If your girl lives in an area where there are a lot of brownouts, once the electricity goes out, so does the water pump.
In some areas way out in the province, people still pull water from wells by hand, using a bucket on a rope. So, there’s always a chance that the trashcan will be bone dry.
If you’re rolling with a couple of bottles of water from 7-11 then you’re good to go.
My girlfriend is from a small village out in the province. There is no running water at her home. Someone has to physically carry buckets of water to the CR and keep it stocked.
If the water bucket is empty, I don’t really want to cause someone to have to fetch water just so the foreign guy can drop a deuce.