When cultures diverge
Culturally, Rio de Janeiro and Brazil in general is unlikely to be too much of a shock to the average Jamaican.
I've already spoken about some of the similarities shared by the countries, but there is one thing that is quite odd and is certainly a curious observation for most of us who aren't from here.
At first I thought it was just a strange instruction by one business operator but then I realised that this was just the Brazilian way of handling business in the bathroom.
Turns out the Brazilian way of disposing of toilet paper is quite different compared to the practise of most others.
"Never put toilet paper in toilet."
"Do not flush toilet paper."
"Please put toilet paper in bin."
Those signs are affixed on the doors or on the first wall of most bathrooms I've had the occasion to pass through. Got it? No? Good.
Anyway, I figured I must have misunderstood the directive or that perhaps it was just a case of poor translation.
But, my first trip deeper inside a restroom confirmed my worst fears.
So, I gather that Brazilians are socialised very early never to put toilet paper in the toilet no matter what your business was in the place.
Something about regular clogging and issues with the sewage system.
Confused? Yeah, I still don't get it either; you'd think the toilet paper here is made from denim.
Needless to say, I imagine a trip to the restroom when the 'bin' isn't too empty might be a most uncomfortable experience.
Thankfully, bathroom staff at the media centres I've been to seem to be on 24-hour duty, so no issues, yet or maybe nobody's really following the odd order anyway.
I pick the latter.