Map of North and Central America (123RF Stock Photo/Michael Schmeling)
For many teens or young adults living in America, Summer brings the opportunity for service-related travel. Google provides a ton of information on even the most remote spots on the globe but have you checked on the restroom facilities you may be using? My own globe-trotting assignments have yielded these five international destinations–heads-up for rookies:
1. The Caribbean
The gorgeous island of Puerto Rico introduced me to the first of many unusual bathroom facilities. While the city showers proved the same as those in America, the sewer system couldn’t accept toilet paper. You need to drop the used paper into the wastebasket next to the toilet.
As we traveled the steep, winding roads up to the mountain village, my mind raced to envision the wealthy man’s villa. He rarely occupied the home, but his elderly mother resided there year-round.
Tony had the only home on the mountain equipped with running water. Once darkness engulfed the island, however, it offered the usual tropical features.
By the end of the three months of mountain weekends, I only cringed a little to shower with green frogs and enormous black cockroaches. I laughed as I sang “La Cucaracha,” never imagining I’d ever watch cockroaches running up and down the walls while I showered.
In Mexico, our rural hosts had a sit-down potty that resembled the outhouses of pioneer America, but it had no lock. The entire time one used the facility, one needed to sing, or speak if not given to singing when on the toilet.
For a nominal fee, showers could be taken at a public bathhouse. Those few minutes of cold water in the cement cubicle also provided a delightful respite from the heat.
Because it took so long to bus our large group over to the public shower, we improvised an option. The tarp strung between trees made a small, but efficient, cubicle. A large plastic bucket, with holes punched out of the bottom, dangled overhead. The family’s garden hose provided the flow of water through the holes.
Our next stop made this one seem a picture of modern plumbing.