Water, a horrible thing of extremes. It should’t be such a thing of pride to piss white, but it is sometimes, I guess. Paying for water is a sour note, but when it’s so damned hot as it is in Cuba, the relief of a cold bottle is worth the price. Then, there is the sweeping pleasure of something flooding through you from top to bottom, rather than just slowly oozing out of you in all directions. to save on costs, and because we knew we’d need it regularly, we bought 5L bottles of the stuff for a couple of dollars and stored them in the fridges, buying a smaller bottle alongside for easy toting. It’s still a pain in the ass to have to shell out money for something you’re used to getting for free, like suddenly being deformed and repellant, needing to pay a gigolo just for a half naked cuddle.
What might be worse, is taking for granted the simple pleasure of dropping the paper after a hearty wipe of your unspeakables. A lack of water pressure or solid plumbing is nothing new to me. I don’t find it challenging because I’ve spent many weeks of my life camping or for a stretch there, living in a teepee in Polish backwoods. Water in the act of pissing and shitting is helpful, but not as simple as a good hole in the earth. The tricky part I found, was being in between. There was running water, not exactly drinkable for a weak westerner’s stomach, but running – and flushing. The piping just can’t handle paper, plain and simple. I thought back to my teenage days in a fast-food job, having to unclog the ladies toilets almost every nigh at closing time. It clogged because some fat fuckers can’t ration their paper use, or just can’t get their filthy holes clean with any fewer than ten wipes. I took the ability to unclog a toilet and get the pipes to take those heavy loads for granted. Then I found myself in Cuba, having to carry all bits of paper away from the bowl and into an adorable little plastic bin beside my foot. Many times it was a shade of pink or yellow. Cuba’s not alone, and not so pitiable for its water deficiency. The majority of the Americas and Caribbean that aren’t the USA and Canada, have plumbing that can’t handle much. After two full days in transit getting back to Australia, I really enjoyed a long beer-shit and the freedom of dropping as much paper as I liked, straight down and away. I’d found a new meaning to the term ‘White Privilege’.