August 11, 2011
So before we go into the wonderfulness of personal and portable hand soap, we should give some background info on toilet life in Korea. Don’t worry, this isn’t a poopy poopy McPooperson story…or is it!?? DA DA DAAAAA. But seriously, it isn’t.
Ok, so the restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that usually don’t have private toilets are located in buildings with lots of businesses in one building. So you’ll have a restaurant next to a hair salon next to a cellphone shop next to another restaurant next to another restaurant. Above that on the second floor, you’ll have more restaurants. Above that, on the third floor, you’ll have more restaurants, maybe a dental clinic, maybe a hagwon (after school program), etc. You can have a building with 8 floors and something like 20 businesses in them. Anyhow, in the hallways for the stairs, there might be a public restroom or two. These are the ones we’re talking about.
Anyhow, they’re totally freaky a lot of the time, with doors that barely close, flickering lights, shoddy fans, and boogie monsters. They’re scary and cold (in the winter) and stinky scalding hot (in the summer) and we don’t like them! It doesn’t matter if you’re in Seoul or Bucheon; public poopers we’ve been to have looked really suspicious. They never have toilet paper, and never have soap, and the water faucet only has freezing cold water.
So now that we’ve explained these charming public bathrooms, you might say, “hey, why go there? Just hold it or find a nicer one.” Yes, well, after several beers/soju whatevers, you don’t give a crap where you crap. Also, the nice washrooms are usually locked and you need the glorious golden key from the restaurant to get inside. We’re considering going into the washroom key copying business. HAHA, I KID I KID! *suspicious shifty eyes*
So, now maybe you can get a sense of why something like these Soap Flakes are good to bring with you. They make the bathrooms seem less scary! To be honest, we don’t know anyone who uses them or packs them in their bags (though most people who bring toilet paper with them). In fact, we have a special name for the TP you bring with you. See, if you want to go to another country, you need your passport. And so we call these papers our pooping passports. It makes it less embarrassing when we’re in public and need to talk about them. Instead of saying “HAY DO YOU HAVE TOLIET PAPERS TO WIPE YOUR POOEY BUTT WITH?” we can say “hey, don’t forget your passport.” Great idea us! But I think now you all know our secret…damn.
Anyhoo, these pretty petal soaps come in a pretty container and we imagine it would be great for anyone traveling around a lot and not staying at fancy soap-giving hotels. Also, when Martina was little, her friend Miki brought her a similar thing from Japan but they were wafer thin sheets of soap that came out of a flat paper container. It looked exactly like those blotting papers you use to wipe the oil off your face. Guys? You know what we mean? Right? Hey. HEY! WHERE ARE YOU GOING!!??