RTW Trip


America poops better than you

It’s true, America poops better than you do.  It’s part of what makes America so great.  Other countries are willing to sit in disgusting, smelly bathrooms that are in their own home!  Waking up in the morning while traveling is like going to a truck stop bathroom.  Just…. ugh.  America puts more effort into pooping comfortably than most other countries put into anything.

America poops better than you
Found in a hotel in Bangkok. This sign is instructing people that are familiar with a squat toilet not to stand on a western toilet, or you’ll break your butt. And bleed out of it.

Here’s why this is a problem
As an American, I eat American things before I get to other countries.  At home, it’s all meat and potatoes, baby.  And huge portions of it as well.  The next morning I will get my caffeine of choice which will shift everything into high gear.  I need to get to the bathroom ASAP because there’s a toilet baby coming OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD.
After giving birth pooping while traveling, surveying the damage can yield horrifying realizations.  My American man poop is larger than most of the people I will encounter that day.  It’s robust, strong, and defiant of these substandard toilets.  American poop despises foreign toilets.  This poop is built from $50 worth of food.  This is top shelf fecal output worthy of praise and other countries think that a simple hole in the ground system is going to be sufficient.  It’s not.
I don’t know why this image exists, but I found it and I’m using it.

FEAR.  Seeing that log in the bowl sends primal terror through me.  How the hell am I going to get rid of that?  This stupid toilet isn’t up for the task.  That magnificent turd will lounge for days, joined by new friends every 24 hours.  The pitiful attempt these toilets make at flushing just keeps it moist so it can fester and turn into a American poo pool party.  We check out of this place when?  There’s no plunger anywhere because these people don’t crap awesome because their food can’t make weapons grade shit like this.
Arriving at a new country is the worst.  Eating the local food, which tends to have more fiber and dysentery-like effects, helps with the issues but doesn’t solve the underlying problems that the infrastructure is terrible.
No you can’t put the toilet paper in the toilet
Here’s a handy guide on what countries are safe to put toilet paper down the toilet.
Most South American towns and cities have structural problems with both their water and sewage.  The water will just go out randomly from time to time.  Water pressure is non-existent.  Flushing a toilet here is just sprinkling drops of water.  Sewers back up from all the garbage in them and the tiny pipes they put it through.  These are all reasons why you can’t put the toilet paper down the toilet: it’ll back up instantly.
So what do you do with it?  Put it in the little basket right by the toilet.  Every home in South America has a litter box for humans.  Stinky shit rots in every home.  Going into the bathroom is a gross experience where you’re greeted with stench and can’t wait to get out of there.
Things they don’t tell you when washing your butt with water
If you haven’t used or are not familiar with a squat toilet, here’s a great guide to the squat toilet.  I highly suggest you read that to get a full flavor of just how awful this is.
3rd world squat

You are supposed to squat on those ridges on the toilet.  What you don’t know until you try to do this is that your Achilles tendons don’t have the flexibility.  People in 3rd world countries can have their butt an inch off the ground right next to their heels, and sit this way all day.  I can’t get my butt within a foot of the ground without raising my heels.  The result is that a westerner will be high-altitude bombing the floor.
Notice how wonderfully wet everything is.  This is a mixture of a whole bunch of other people’s waste that surrounds you.  The bucket of water on the right is for wiping.  You wipe with your bare hand, and then use the cup to splash water on your backside in lieu of toilet paper.  Now that you’re soaking wet, it’s time to air dry.
That article linked above had a lot of things we don’t really think about:

If you’re new to this, we recommend you take off everything below your waist, including your shoes and socks.

This is great advice, because you’re crapping right off the floor.  Splash-back is a very real danger that’s greatly increased by lack of flexibility.  And most Americans haven’t tried splashing water up their backside or used a spraying down there.  Try it next time you’re on the toilet.  Take a cup of water and try washing yourself without soaking your socks.  There’s definitely a trick to doing this…

Scrub your butt with your bare hand.

In Thailand, it’s impolite to hand someone something with your left hand.  This is why.  The author claims that this squat toilet is more hygienic than the paper glove we use in the states, but if that was true then why do cultures that poop this way avoid other peoples’ left hand?  Because this method is gross and everyone knows it, that’s why.

If there’s no paper around, then just stay squatted for an extra minute, and gravity and evaporation will do its thing

News flash: water is wet, and pouring on your butt makes you wet.  Places that have these toilets seldom have paper to dry off with.  That means you get a nice case of swamp ass after using one.  Or almost as bad, the toilet paper will be completely awful and disintegrate the moment it comes in contact with water.
Oh, and places that have these toilets often don’t have soap to wash with afterwards.  So clean and hygienic!
Pooping in America is a comfortable experience
The bathrooms in the US are generally clean, quiet, and odor free.  Sure there are the exceptions, but these cases are rightly seen as outliers that deserve scorn.  Most public places are quite good.
Americans go to the bathroom with a phone and read the news while having a clean and pleasant experience.  When done, we freshen up and head back to our day with a sense of calm.  There are even people who like pooping so much that there is an app that shows how much money they make while sitting on the toilet at work!
Exception: Japan

Homer: *GASP* They’re years ahead of us!

Japanese toilets are the exception to the rule.  They come with heated seats, white noise generators, timers, auto lids, self-cleaning, and more!  20 features of Japanese toilets.
It creates a certain way of life
The United States is often derided for working too much and chasing the fleeting notion of success.  But you know what?  We care about things, and that leads to improving our lives even if it seems trivial at the time.  Because once it becomes acceptable to store smelly poop in the waste basket of your home, pretty soon it’s acceptable that you can’t drink the water.  Then later it becomes acceptable that the public services in the country aren’t worth a damn.  The stench that started in the bathroom has infected everything.  The quality of the bathrooms directly correlates to the quality of other things in society.  It wasn’t surprising to see that Japan had remarkably clean and orderly cities to match their impeccable bathrooms.
Hey, other countries!  Fix your shit.


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