Coisa Estranha #2: não jogue papel no vaso

When you move to a new country, you usually notice a lot of things that are very strange right away. Or, sometimes, there are socially accepted rules and procedures that you don’t immediately notice because you don’t understand the nuances of the language or you simply don’t like reading signs.

This is one of the latter.

It’s been almost 6 months now since I moved to Brazil, and I am embarrassed to say that I have just learned about this rule. As it turns out, my parents did a great job potty training me 23 years ago, and I never forgot the normal mechanics of wiping and flushing. Here in Brazil, as it turns out, it doesn’t work the same way.

When you visit Brazil, you may go into a bathroom where you a sign that looks like this:

It even has a descriptive image to go with it.

It even has a descriptive image to go with it.

Now, either I never noticed a single one of these signs, or I simply imagined that the idea of not throwing toilet paper into the toilet was preposterous and obviously a typo.

But guess what? Here in Brazil, you throw your toilet paper in the trash next to the toilet. Otherwise, the toilets don’t flush properly. And here I was assuming that toilets just don’t flush properly because it’s some element of third would country living that I wasn’t used to.

Furthermore, this is something Brazilians are so used to that according to a poll on this website (I put a lot of work into my research here, people), only 27% of Brazilians throw toilet paper in the trash, ever. So… that’s weird.

So, to all my friends whose toilets I’ve clogged in the past 6 months, I am sincerely sorry. I am even more sorry to my loving boyfriend, who had to explain this to me after I almost clogged his toilet.


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