In the United States we take so much for granted; that there will be toilet paper in the restroom at a major airport or any public place for that matter. That is not true in the Philippines and I suspect I’ll find that to be the case in many places throughout the world. So, now I carry a small supply of toilet paper in a Ziploc bag in my purse.
Acclimating to other cultures isn’t difficult, but it does require a certain presence of mind. Realizing that there are different priorities in another country and that what you consider essential to life – like brewed coffee every morning – probably isn’t a necessity to others is an absolute requirement or you are going to spend your travels miserable and feeling deprived.
Vanessa (my daughter) and I spent a lot of time comparing napkins in different establishments throughout Manila, Cebu, Baguio and this little piece of heaven, Bohol. We only encountered American style napkins in one restaurant during our travels (a nice Japanese eatery in the Mall of Asia) and I can now add Dunkin Donuts to the list. What you see below is standard – a tiny square of what we would consider the cheapest napkins in the US – about a ¼ of their size. Some places do provide extras on the table but even then a very few. I can only guess that people must stock up if the napkins are available. On the other hand, I’ve often asked for an extra napkin at a fast food window in America only to be handed a fistful – sometimes a dozen or more – which I’m pretty sure shoots the restaurants’ profit margins all to hell.