Well I went off the beaten path here because being cooped up in a hotel room will make you loopy. It is just my nature to not take everything seriously and I think we really needed the laughs. Deb and I have had a discussion several times and thought we might share it.
It is funny to see the differences that exist between cultures and different countries. So many people place importance on things that may not be so important somewhere else. The food we eat, cars we drive, houses we live in.....all seem so different, and probably excessive to people from other countries. Debbie and I have done a lot of traveling and we are always ready to make adjustments to the way we are used to living. In Europe everything is smaller; hotels rooms, food portions, even vehicles just do not even come close to what we see in the good ol' USA. Maybe that is why Europeans are thinner and get better gas mileage? Heck, the first morning we went to eat our free hotel breakfast, the waitress kept asking "Is that it?" Like she was surprised us glutonous Americans would actually complete our order of free food without topping it of with a slab of butter, whip cream, or heck let's add about 10 more fried eggs and some more bacon....since it's free!! Well one thing we figured out quickly is you better eat light because toilet paper around here is a rare commodity. It is like the holy grail of Eastern Europe. Indiana Jones and Benjamin Franklin Gates would have a hard time finding it here with 20 treasure maps and a lifetime supply of decoder rings. Not only is it scarce, when you buy it here, the middle cylinder is about the same circumference as a coke can. This leaves you a solid 10 feet of paper to work with from start to finish.
We were advised before we came here to bring some of our own TP. At first we thought it strange, but were told that a lot of public restrooms did not have any and well....better safe than sorry. Well we went with it and flattened a roll as much as possible to get it into our bag. When we arrived at our apartment in Kiev we realized that the laws of toilet paper do not just apply to public. We went by a grocery store on the way and I never thought, "hey I should probably pick some up". Well it wasn't a day or so before we had to go into emergency stash. Little did we know we were probably breaking 10 kinds of Ukrainian sanitation and sewage laws by bringing in my double-ply, aloe enhanced, mega roll. We later learned that the pipe and sewage system here is really only capable of handling single ply paper....oops! Dang, us Americans could have brought down the whole city; lucky for them we only brought the one roll. When we got to Priluky, we decided to go ahead and get some extra rolls when we went shopping for food. The area dedicated to TP was about the size of an American endcap. So much to choose from...hmmm, white or yellow?...soft or regular? Needless to say I did not have to take long to make a decision.
When we arrived at the hotel in Priluky we were surprised to see we had some toilet paper in the bathroom. Not a lot, mind you, but some. Most places I have stayed I might be used to getting a brand new roll, but here...you get what's left. We went ahead and unpacked and took out some of our "soft" stuff we bought at the store. I believe that their difference between soft and hard must be equivocal to comparing coarse sandpaper to a washboard. It is the worst case of false advertising since telling kids in the 50's that hiding under your school desk will save you from a nuclear explosion. Nonetheless, it was all we had....and when I say "had", I really mean it. We went out and explored Priluky only to come back to a clean room and the discovery that the maid had stolen our brand new roll of "semi-soft" toilet paper. Now I have been at places where they give you an extra roll, but I have never been a victim of TP theft. In fact they are so stingy here that if we are down to just a little bit, we are still unworthy of getting a new roll. I can not imagine how these ladies would have reacted to watching me and the boys toilet papering Mary Jone's house back in middle school. They would probably look like Fred Sanford grabbin' his heart and getting ready for the "Big one." In order to get a new full roll in our hotel, we have to hide the almost empty roll, flip up the TP holder cover, and put a sticky note that has an arrow and the word "nol" next to it and then hope for the best. Ok, I may have gone a little far with the sticky notes...but mostly because we had to use all those when the TP ran out!!