Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What do the Sochi Olympics, toilet paper and my life have in common?**

Apparently the common thread between my life in China and the Sochi Olympics is toilet paper.  Who knew?!  

Like many people, I enjoy wasting time on Facebook.  I happened to follow a link that shared some the Tweets and posts from journalists covering this year’s Olympics in Russia.  I chuckled at many of them and then I saw this one…

Well sir, believe it or not, that is the case in many countries.  In fact, that is probably the case in most countries.  I was surprised that he was so surprised.

I remember being on a trip in high school to central Mexico when I first learned that not all bathrooms are equipped to handle TP.  I remember paying to use a public toilet in Italy and Jamie says that we couldn’t flush TP there either.  You don’t flush your toilet paper in most of China as I imagine is the case in most SE Asian countries.  In fact, you should probably travel with your own paper for restroom visits in China.  A lot of stalls are TP free.

Last fall we visited friends in Central Java in Indonesia.  (What, you don’t remember me posting updates and pictures about that trip?! Have I mentioned I’m a bit behind on the blogging.  Stupid tornado.)  When we arrived at their home some of the first questions we asked were: Can we flush the toilet paper? Can we drink the water? Can we use the water to brush out teeth?  The answers were “no, no, and you probably shouldn’t.” 

When we travel between the US and China and we’ve just gotten off the plane and made our first potty stop with the girls, we have a little chat.  “You’re in the US now, remember to flush your paper, especially if you’re at someone’s house.”  Or, “You’re in China now, remember to put your tissue in the bin or you’ll clog the toilet.”  

I’ve learned something about toilet paper, the reporter did too, and now you have as well.  What an enlightening post! (wink, wink)

**And a quick shout out to my Uncle Jim…this post makes me think of our favorite little joke… “tea pee”!


  1. Nice article. I think it is useful and unique article. I love this kind of article and this kind of blog. I have enjoyed it very much. Thanks for your website.

  2. Yes. Most countries don’t allow one to flush TP down the toilet. This is because the pipes are too narrow and it will risk clogging them up. Some establishments make up for this situation though by providing the users with a 1-ply toilet paper in order for the toilet to be able to take down the toilet paper when flushed.
    Don Bennett

  3. Great post. I have read another interesting post about western tourists' encounter with public toilets in asian countries. You should check it out too.