This post might be a little crude, or crass for the more delicate readers. If you are offended by potty humor- I suggest you move right along to the next post. If you’re a new traveler wanting the real low down on the travel experience, or a veteran traveler ready to laugh over the facts of life, than this post is for you. Make your choice, we begin below.
This post is about some challenges of traveling. Mainly laundry days and foreign bathrooms.
The Laundry Battle
Without fail, the first thing you’ll run out of is socks, promptly followed by underwear. At this moment you’ll be faced with a decision: whether or not to waste time, money, and energy on a full wash load. Sure, you could probably track down a laundromat, fork over enough cash for a good meal, and try to collect enough dirty and semi-dirty clothes to fill out a full load. Or, you can cozy up to the nearest sink, pull out some liquid soap (body soap and dish detergent both work great for a quick fix), and get scrubbing. Ask any veteran backpacker and they’ll have some silly story of hanging socks and panties up to dry anywhere they can: out windows, over radiators, across bathtubs, or even (ocassionally) on an actual clothes line…invariably strung up in the town square or somewhere equally public.
I always try to sneak a mini-laundry day in between major washes. But when that necessary laundry pit-stop arrives, be aware of timing and options. A little preemptive research can be helpful. Firs, determine if your lodging has a laundry service, or where the nearest laundromat is, and what the cost per load is.
Also find out if there is a dryer available or if it’s the clothes line for you. Its always nice to save energy and line dry your clothes, but sometimes that’s just not practical. When, you might ask, is it impractical? 1. If you’re in a hurry and waiting an extra day for damp jeans to dry isn’t an option, and 2. If the air quality in your present city would negate the fresh washing if your clothes were to be left out to dry in it (yes, I’m talking some serious pollution here).
Laundry day can definitely kill your momentum, but it can also provide a nice chance to reset and take a break. But that’s enough on dirty linens, lets move on to potties!
Potties: more varieties than there are colors in the rainbow
There are porcelain ones, metal ones, plastic ones, wooden ones. Sitting ones, standing ones, squatting over holes ones, and holes in the ground. Flush handles, flush chains, and flush buttons. Sometimes there is toilet paper, toilet tissues, wet wipes, wet sponges, water buckets, or nothing at all. There are the countries that want you to flush the paper, and those that want you to throw it in a bin beside you. There are batthrooms that are free, ones that charge you ten cents, and ones that charge you a dollar. Some have a maid, some don’t. Some maids require tips, some don’t. Sometimes there are sinks to wash your hands, sometimes there aren’t. There are air dryers, paper towels, cloth rolls, or nothing at all. There is liquid soap, foam soap, bar soap, powder soap, no soap, and empty soap containers. There can be several potties in one room, potties divided by stalls, potties divided by walls, and potties in their own rooms. There are more options and combinations than countries to visit.
How do you know what kind of potty experience you’re in for? Check one out and hope for the best. But it is always a good idea to get in the habit of traveling with a pack of tissues. Its better to have and not need, than to find yourself wanting.
Hostel potties can be a little closer to your sleeping arrangements than you could comfortably wish. Have you ever farted in a cave? The acoustics are…as good as you’d expect them to be. Potties can be embarrassing. Sometimes, when considering your potty, you just have to laugh, relax, and remember- everyone poops. It’s just a matter of where.
This update brought to you by Aeri the Faerie, keeping (sh)it real.