Toilets in Greece: Don't flush the toilet paper!
I'd like to start by letting you know that in Greece, public toilets are mainly just labelled by "WC" on the door. This stands for "water closet". So if you're running around in desperate need of a bathroom, look for a sign that says "WC" instead of "toilets".
Be very careful when using toilets in Greece! In many parts of Greece, especially the islands, it is expected that instead of putting the toilet paper in the toilet with your droppings, you put it in a bin next to the toilet. Failure to do this can result in a toilet flood of epic proportions. (I might be being a little melodramatic there, but it's really never fun to have a toilet back up)
The pipe system in Greece is quite old, and as a result some of the pipes are only 2 inches wide, so using toilet paper can result in a blockage. If you're staying at a hotel which requires you not to flush (look for a sticker or sign), there will be a bin provided that is cleaned and emptied out daily. Everyone does it, so don't let the idea of doing it stress you out. If the idea of doing this squicks you out too much, you could try going to the toilet right before the maid cleans the room. But this could be inconvenient for you.
Some of the newer hotels may have more accommodating sewer systems, so if it is something you are really worried about it might be something to take into consideration when choosing a place to stay.
This method of disposing toilet paper is not unsanitary... it's not like you're sticking your head in the toilet or anything. Some people (like my best friend) still feel more comfortable with using a sanitary hand wipe or some disinfectant afterwards. It's kind of like a security blanket. If you think that this will make you feel better about it, why not buy some? The stuff's pretty cheap.
This is also custom in other parts of the world, including Mexico and some parts of Asia and Europe.
I'm pretty sure using a little bit of toilet paper and flushing it would be okay. I did a couple of times, and nothing happened. But do it at your own risk!
I know that for people unfamiliar to this method of using the toilet, it can be a little gross to think about (and if something of yours, like an earring or toothbrush falls in the toilet bin, maybe just leave it there), but at the end of the day, it's best to just embrace the culture of the place you are staying and chalk it up to life experience. Definitely don't let it ruin your holiday!
There are all types of toilets in the world, and it may not be pleasant to use a different type of toilet than you are used to. (For example squat toilets, pit toilets, composting toilets and female urinals.) However, you will survive, and it makes a great dinner time story! (I'm joking. Most people will not appreciate you sharing your knowledge of toilets over dinner time. But it's sure to come in handy one day! Maybe on a TV quiz show for a million dollars or something.)
More by Kristy
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