Wednesday, September 14, 2005

When you've gotta go

Those of you who have travelled in Asia and visited toilets in any place other than good hotels will relate to this. This is the 8th week I've been working here, and during that entire time I've managed to avoid taking a dump at the office. I unload before I leave home and hope I don't eat something dodgy during the day. Indonesians have really good personal hygeine and grooming, but their plumbing systems and quality of their bathrooms stink. Literally.

The other drawback about using an unfamiliar bathroom here is that toilet paper is not always available. Many toilets are "squat" style - hang your trousers up on the hook on the wall, and put your feet in the "footprints" on either side of the hole in the ground, then let rip. If you're lucky there will be a tap with a hose attached to it that you can use as a bidet, wiping with your left hand (which is why you don't eat or hand anything to a Muslim with your left hand), or maybe there will be a tub of water that you can use to "clean up". So, always carry a few squares of toilet paper just in case.

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