Before I came to South America, I read somewhere that you have to throw used toilet paper in the bin and not flush it down the toilet as the drainage system here can’t cope with toilet paper. I didn’t believe this, but it is, in fact, true.
Whether you do a number 1 or a number 2, your toilet paper has to go in the bin. This doesn’t sound so hygenic, and in some public toilets it’s not. There are toilets you go to where there is toilet paper all over the floor, which makes you wander just what you’re walking through. Bins are, however, provided in every toilet. In the UK, you would think bins would be placed in every toilet for women’s sanitary items, but I have used toilets there where there is no bin, and I don’t like that. Although not flushing toilet paper down the toilet is unusual for me, at least there’s always a bin to put it in!
Every bin in every toilet is different. If I’m honest, I prefer the swing-lid bins. I don’t like the pedal bins, as I’ve had a couple of unfortunate incidences where I’ve went to put the toilet paper in the bin, and it has somehow bounced back out, and onto my foot. Yes, disgusting. Just bear in mind what type of bin you buy for your bathroom!
Like in Europe, there are bidets in the bathrooms in South America, in hostels and in hotels. These are obviously used to wash your bum, then you dry it off with the toilet paper that you then throw in the bin. Coming from England, where there are no bidets, I have no idea how to use them. I tried once, and I ended up getting my clothes wet. No one ever tells you how to use a bidet, and there are no instructions next to them.
Since I’ve been in South America for six and a half weeks, I’m now quite used to not throwing toilet paper in the toilet. I’m sure I’ll adjust quickly when I do come home though, I am pretty good at adapting to different lifestyles.