Monday, December 12, 2005

Where there is No Toilet Paper

One thing you may or may not know about many “developing” countries is that they do not generally use toilet paper. Usually you will find a pitcher (or plastic teapot for those of you who have been in West Africa) and a bucket of water. The idea is to pour the water over your behind and use your left hand to swipe any remnants. There is a reason why you eat with your right hands.
While I was traveling around Mali and Senegal though a minor annoyance, it wasn’t that big of a deal. They are hot dry countries and I was usually wearing a skirt, which facilitated drying. But most Indian clothing is in multiple layers. Saris are wrapped around you, and Salwar suits are generally knee or shin length tops with drawstring trousers underneath and a duputa (shawl) around your neck. Such clothing will absorb and keep the wetness on your body, and it is cold in Kolkata during December. There are few things as uncomfortable as a cold wet bum

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