Bathrooms are an interesting phenomenon in Chile. In all honesty, they have vastly improved since I was a little girl growing up here. However, there are still some quirks worth commenting about and I thought it might make for a humorous writing assignment …
The first thing is, you never know whether there will be toilet paper in any given bathroom. For that reason, it is wise to always travel with at least a small pack of Kleenex. (I prefer keeping an entire roll of toilet paper in the car.) It used to be that in some places you could purchase a few squares of TP (never enough, though!) from a nice lady sitting outside the bathroom … but, I’m not sure if that is still a common practice or not??
The second thing is, the aforementioned toilet paper once it is used, is thrown into the garbage can rather than into the toilet. This is a Chilean idiosyncrasy (related to plumbing, I suppose) that one must get used to, and which my husband greatly dislikes. The funniest sign I have seen in a bathroom to date is the one at our seminary, which encourages the bathroom user to fold the TP in such a way as to disguise the purpose for which it was used!
Thirdly, you never know whether there will be an actual toilet seat on the toilet. Apparently Isabel found this out the hard way when her Aunt Jenn took the girls for a potty break at a park recently. Jenn said Isabel yelled out, “Aunt Jenn, I’m falling into the toilet!” and sure enough, she was halfway in because there was no toilet seat!
So the rule of thumb regarding bathrooms in Chile could be summarized this way: If you can hold it, do so. If you can’t, carry toilet paper. And as Isabel would tell you, always look before you sit!