I remember when taking a dump used to be something that needed very little thought, but in South America you’ll need a sound and effective toilet strategy. Here’s mine.
1. Flush before you sit. Not only to clean smears left by your dorm mates but to make sure the toilet isn’t clogged. Sometimes you know it’s clogged but you have to go so bad that you decide to deal with the repercussions later (actually you let the cleaning lady deal with the repercussions). I took a memorable dump in Bolivia in a broken toilet bowl that was still there one day later.
2. Flush often. Your log will not make it down. I repeat, your gigantic shit log will not make it down a South American toilet. I’m not saying chop it up with a stick but if you know a log is coming then access the toilet in a more discrete manner so no one knows you fucked everything up. Otherwise just keep flushing until it goes down. I clog toilets about 25% of the time, which makes every shit the possible highlight (or downside) of my day.
3. If you’re a guy, protect your penis head. Don’t let it touch the toilet bowl because god knows what will infect your hole. Either cradle your package with your hand or lay a little toilet paper curtain in front of it. The method I select depends on my mood and how long I estimate the shit will last.
4. Pay attention to the toilet paper. While most hostels give you toilet paper that has the consistency of elementary school construction paper, often times one side will be softer. Use this soft side to avoid the abraded anus (no big deal since it heals in a day or two). If you start seeing blood on the toilet paper then it’s probably time to buy your own toilet paper.
5. Time your dumps to the maid cleaning schedule. They usually clean the bathrooms in the afternoon (1-2PM) while the gringos are doing whatever the Lonely Planet tells them to do. There is nothing like being the first to take a massive shit in a sparkling clean bowl. If you travel to South America as an evening shitter like me then just hold it overnight one day to put yourself on an afternoon shit schedule.
The dirtier the toilet bowls, the dirtier the stomachs, the dirtier the country. Peru and Bolivia are big winners here, with bathrooms that look like it was play time for kids with diarrhea water balloons.