Don’t fall in!

Some new experiences when travelling are easier than others. Learning to eat rice with my fingers, making a snowball or using an EFTPOS card were relatively simple tasks, but there is one thing that most people can find confronting..

Going to the toot in foreign countries…
I once went into a shopping centre ladies toilets and as it was quite busy there was only one loo available. It was one of those hole in the floor toilets i had heard about from friends. It had taken me ages to figure out where the loos were at all so I was busting to go and decided to brave it. The floors were wet with god knows what, the attendant constantly mopping so it never dries.
It involves quite a bit of skill to squat and pee with your pants out of the way (but they can’t touch the ground or they’ll get wet on the floor slime) AND hold onto your handbag AND supply your own loo paper! Many places in Asia do not supply paper and you can’t flush it either, instead disposing of it in a bucket or washing your tush with a jug of water! Anyway I triumphantly completed the task like a toddler learning to toilet train and left the cubicle to wash my hands (dodging the lady with the urine mop). As I looked around I noticed that other cubicles were free now and THEY WERE ALL WESTERN TOILETS!! I had unwittingly chosen the only weird dunny that even the locals hadn’t preferred! Funny how our expectations of some countries really aren’t correct for the majority, like pet kangaroos and Aussies throwing shrimp on the barbie- IT’S FLOPPIN PRAWNS!

Just to be clear, I actually managed to cock up all of the above easy experiences; I rubbed chilli in my eye while eating with my hands, I fell over and only hit myself with the snowball and I tried using my eftpos card at a McDonald’s in Austria but it was completely in German!I still ended up with my (possibly expensive-who knows) curly fries and made a new friend (who may have tried to steal my card) so it was worth it!

My point is that every experience, good or bad can teach you something.
I’ve learnt to not always believe the stereotypes and tourist campaigns, and to take other people’s travel stories with a grain of salt as everyone experiences things differently. You may see the hole in the floor toilet and feel completely at home!

Jaime Nicole xx

Real Beliefs or Gullible Foreigner?

Learning about local customs and beliefs are one of the most interesting parts of travelling, but sometimes I feel like they are just pulling my leg because I’m a foreigner.

Here are my top 7 experiences of this- 7 because its apparently lucky!

1. I’ve received gifts of good luck purses full of coins that I can’t spend or it has the opposite effect- very bad luck
2. I’ve had to wear polka dots and eat only round fruit at New Years to promote good fortune to the household
3. I’ve looked on while my driver signs the cross before starting the car-not sure if they are praying for a safe journey or for the car to start!
4. Told not to shave my armpits at that time of the month or my skin will turn black
5. Sweep the outdoor areas in the mornings to sweep away bad luck
6. Don’t eat chicken if you have the flu (what about chicken noodle soup??)
7. The weirdest one of all was to use my own menstrual blood as an acne cure! I really hope this was a joke and no I definitely did NOT try this!EW!!!

Have you heard of any of these before? What unusual superstitions have you heard on your travels? I would love to hear them, please comment below!

Jaime Nicole xx