When Alex and I first researched other travel blogs before leaving for our trip we stumbled upon the blog "ineedtoiletpaper.com". I remember Alex looking at me confused saying: "I don't get where they're going with their name..."
Well, after traveling for a while we certainly learned what our fellow travel bloggers were referring to... Here are some quite personal little tales involving lacking/disappearing/alternative toilet paper:
Sevilla, Spain - Where's the toilet paper...
Knocking on the grimy door of our supposed AirBnb apartment we were greeted by a stoned-out-of-his mind chubby Spaniard looking severely confused. Trying to explain to him that we had booked a room in the apartment he looked at us as if we had fallen from the moon. Closing and reopening the door twice, yelling something in Spanish into a phone and continuously looking completely gone he finally let us in and pointed to a room at the end of the hallway. After an attempted "thank you" with no response we quietly made our way to our room.
At first we were happily surprised. The bed seemed comfortable and we were happy to find that a small door lead to a private bathroom. Alex had only just put down his backpack when he happily crawled through the doorway to the tiny bathroom. Seconds later he came back out looking annoyed. "There's no toilet paper!" he proclaimed. I shrugged and he said he'd go looking for a second bathroom. Not wanting to be confronted with the awkward stoner again he silently made his way out of the room.
A minute later he reentered, looking at me with a puzzled expression. "Well there's a really gross looking bathroom right next to our room but I don't see any toilet paper out there. They don't even have kitchen towel in the kitchen or napkins anywhere..." In that moment we heard heavy footsteps coming down the hallway and someone grunting before entering the bathroom. Looking at each other in complete silence we overheard what was definitely a very fruitful bathroom visit. The toilet flushed and the heavy footsteps made their way back to the smokey living room. Looking confused Alex quickly left to look in the bathroom again but once again reentered our room loudly declaring "NO TOILET PAPER!"
For the rest of our stay in Sevilla Alex and I had to use the bathroom in restaurants and coffee shops. We never asked any questions and never saw a trace of any kind of paper (except for rolling papers) in the apartment.
Jerez, Spain - Disappearing toilet paper
The apartment was owned by a Spanish couple and they shared the space with an eccentric old Danish lady with bright orange hair and red-painted lips. As we stayed in the guest room we shared a bathroom with the old lady. For the first couple of days everything was fine and then all of a sudden there was no toilet paper in the bathroom although we were sure we'd seen a completely fresh roll the same morning. Looking around the apartment there was no trace of extra toilet paper and once again there were no paper tissues or kitchen towel to be found. We left the apartment (Alex with a grumpy expression on his face).
For two days there was no toilet paper and then all of a sudden half a roll appeared out of nowhere in our bathroom. "Do you think that old lady hides it?" Alex asked me. It definitely seemed suspicious. The next day the bathroom was once again lacking toilet paper. Fuming with rage Alex complained that Airbnb hosts should know that it is their duty to make sure their guests at least have toilet paper. Reminding him that our hosts had a private bathroom next to their bedroom I argued that they wouldn't notice if we ran out. He didn't seem convinced, and only grew more and more angry (and possibly constipated) over the next few days when as toilet paper no longer re-appeared.
On our last day I was packing my backpack while Alex went to the bathroom. Although we had tried for days to ask our hosts about toilet paper they were never home when we were. Leaving the room Alex had looked more than bitter. When he came back he had a smirk on his face. It was not until we had left the keys and were walking to the train station that Alex told me he had a confession to make.
"So I looked around the apartment again and there was no paper at all right? I kinda did something drastic..." Out of his pocket he pulled what first looked like a handfull of old paper. Handing it to me I realized that they were crumbled up book-pages. Inspecting the soft pages with neat little letters on them I saw the title "Jane Eyre" in swirly letters at the top of each page.
"You... you ripped out ten pages of 'Jane Eyre' to wipe your butt?!" I asked in shock.
"Yeah... Actually... Here's the fun part. When I went to the bathroom I found the roll of toilet paper behind the closet. Guess the Danish lady was hiding it after all. I knew she was weird..."
We both started laughing and I saved one of the pages of 'Jane Eyre' as a memory.
Phuket, Thailand - Never again toilet paper
In Phuket we accidentally booked a luxury apartment. Not only did we have a pool, a gym and a private apartment for once (usually we only rent rooms) it was also the cheapest place we'd ever stayed.
Arriving there we jumped in the bed and screamed out in happiness because of this unexpected extravagance. Entering the bathroom the first thing I noticed was a pretty little row of travel sized shampoos and body washes. The second thing I noticed was the two roles of toilet paper neatly sitting underneath the mirror.
"Uuuh, does this place come with room service? I mean we're staying for two weeks and there are only two roles of toilet paper out here..." I said over my shoulder. Alex and I started looking through the cabinets to see if there were spare rolls anywhere. Of course there wasn't. Actually there was barely anything in the apartment; it was so new we unpacked the forks and knives upon arrival and removed the sticker from the sink.
Not thinking putting anymore thought to it we just went about our business for the first few days. That was until the supply of toilet paper became dangerously low and we started using the last few sheets sparingly. Even before we ran out completely, Alex one day came out of the bathroom with a victorious look on his face.
"I did it!" he announced raising his arms in triumph. "I used the shower-head thingy!" Everywhere we'd gone there'd been a 'bidet' (wikipedia: a plumbing fixture or type of sink intended for washing the genitalia, inner buttocks, and anus). Both coming from countries very much using toilet paper as the main 'rinsing agent' neither of us had taken advantage of this seemingly unhygienic apparatus yet.
"I'll never have to depend on toilet paper again! HA!" Alex almost screamed in delight. I laughed at his satisfaction and declared that I'd rather stick to toilet paper.
Entering the bathroom some time later I found the whole room sprayed with water as if Alex had taken a shower standing in the toilet. I couldn't help but make a lot of 'butt-water' jokes, but Alex stubbornly continued using the bidet, determined to never be desperate for stupid toilet paper again.