Don’t Forget The Wipes

“I see you are from England too” said the girl standing in the queue beside me. How did she know I wondered, then I looked down and saw she was also clutching a box of Tesco flat pack toilet paper.

I was pleased that my backpacking daughter had advised me to bring toilet paper on our trip to Peru but it hadn’t occurred to me it would be a conversation starter.

Papa Joe and I were having our first adventure as ‘grey packers’, travelling independently. We were off to watch the Condors at the Colca Canyon we stopped to see the spectacular Misti Volcano in the far distance. It was a very desolate place but we were pleased to have a toilet stop and buy some souvenirs!!!!.

colca 2Now most things in Peru are very cheap but the owners of the toilets were taking full advantage of the isolation. It was possibly the most expensive toilet in the world but when needs must you have to pay up  The toilet were also possibly the worst we have ever come across. In fact if there had been a tree anywhere near by I would have disappeared behind it.  But at 4000 metres above sea level, on a wind swept Peruvian plateau there was little chance of that.

colca 1We queued to use a roofless cubicle over a hole in the ground with a broken toilet seat raised up on some bricks. By the side was an overflowing bin I put my used Tesco toilet paper in. Had it been emptied this month? The smell indicated not likely.

To complete the experience, an oil drum full of freezing cold, dirty water stood outside the cubicle so that you could wash your hands. I once heard an American tourist at the beautifully kept  toilet at Cancun airport asking if it was safe to wash her hands. I think she would have had a heart attack if she had seen the oil drum!

Thank goodness we brought the toilet paper with us. Now if we are travelling with the grandchildren or by ourselves, we always carry a packet of baby/toilet wipes and nappy bags to put them in. The wipes are incredibly useful for all sorts of situations but we are careful not to flush them away as they can block the drains.

As western tourist we take the provision of toilets for granted and forget that in many people around the world don’t have access to toilets.

We are part of the #Blog4Sanitation movement setup by Splashdirect to raise awareness of the importance of global sanitation. Learn more about World Toilet Day.


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