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Toilet humour

Day 16:  Itecare

There are many things I love about Brazil.  For instance, the diversity, both of people and places.  The uninhibited, loud nature of its citizens being another.  I would fall over in shock if I saw a granny flap, bounce and sag her way along London's busy Oxford Street for her daily exercise ritual in a crack-caressing bikini.  Yet in Rio, it seemed like the city's nursing homes were playing 'shock the tourist' day as all shapes, sizes and colours paraded down the beach road in nothing more than a thong.

However, there are one or two things that I wouldn't go as far as to lightly dismiss as an 'exotic' quirk of this place.

Take the toilet situation for example.  Decades ago, when the plumbing works were being laid down all over the South American continent, the engineers of those days - in their ingenuity - installed pipes that were too small and narrow to accommodate toilet paper.

So as a workaround, every toilet here has a large dustbin placed next to it.  You wipe, floor the foot pedal, and dump your toilet paper inside.

Coming from a place where you wouldn't even think of throwing your stained toilet paper into a dustbin, rather than the actual toilet, this came as a small shock.

I remember once - at a time when I hadn't been told about the Brazilian toilet situation - opening the bin, curious to know why they had placed such a ridiculously huge dustbin next to a toilet.  I immediately shut it hastily as soon as I took in the mass of white paper, tinged in various shades and consistencies of brown.  Let's just say you don't want to peek in there, unless you want to know what Manuel's digestive system made of his hot chili con carne the night before.

'Yeah, it's revolting,' said one backpacker in disgust as we all discussed it, one night at the hostel bar.
'I always keep forgetting and absent mindedly drop paper into the toilet before realising what I'm doing and thinking, "oh shit!  What have I done?!"' another traveller exclaimed.

All I can say is I genuinely feel for the person whose job it is to clean out those bins.


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