I arrived a few days ago in Sydney after an overnight flight from Bali. A good friend of mine from college lives in the city so I am currently in his very nice apartment drinking white wine that I bought at a large (and expensive) grocery store across the street. I was even carded! Rules! Civilization! This could be America.
Sydney has everything you expect in a large Western city – public transportation, abundant air conditioning, pedestrian walkways, hug stores selling everything you could every need. Its my first time out of Asia in months and despite being thousands of miles from Washington DC in a city I’ve never been close to before – I feel like I’m home.
However, nothing has impressed me more than the presence of free toilet paper that can be found in every toilet in the city. Something which, needless to say, almost never happens in Asian countries.
I never really got used to carrying around toilet paper during my trip. They say after 30 days of doing something (working out, flossing, etc) it becomes a habit, but that certainly has not held true for the past five months ( but then again, 26 years later and flossing still doesn’t seem to have taken, sorry Dr. Wan). The number of times I walked into a toilet and thought “oh gosh not again” started to become frustrating after the 1000th time.
Perhaps its just a lifetime of never wanting for toilet paper – my parents literally spoiled me with more toilet paper than I could ever need, my place of employment has never failed to meet my or my coworkers TP needs, at home I even keep extra rolls in my cabinet just because I can, even the local fast food joints seem to keep things up to snuff.
Pretty much nowhere in South East Asia, China or India provided toilet paper – the place is truly bereft (There is interesting discussion to be had about what the locals do – are they constantly packing? Do they go without? Do they utilize that weird toilet hose that can be found on toilets with in door plumbing? If that’s that case doesn’t is just leave their drawers more soggy?). Obviously, I don’t expect every bus stop and public toilet to be well stocked, but even restaurants and hotel rooms are often without. Some hotels require you to purchase your own while others are happy to run out and purchase a roll if you give them money. This begs this question of why they can’t simply roll (haha no pun intended) the cost into the price of a room (Upgrade now for our special Toilet Paper Package! Just $1 a day more. Seriously, I would sign up every time).
Anyway, needless to say I am thankful to see it appearing in public restrooms in Sydney. I am hoping that between this and my upcoming month in New Zealand my toilet paper woes are over. Hopefully I’ve cleared up enough brain power to focus on that flossing goal.