Sept 10, 2014: Sense, Common and Otherwise

We set out on our journey months ago, intent on exploring what it’s like to live in other cultures. And I’ve noticed, in some cases, their habits and ways of doing things make a lot more sense than ours.

For example, one of the ways the make up a bed. I know, this sounds silly and inconsequential, but hear me out. Back home, our bed was set up in a very standard way: bottom sheet, top sheet and duvet (in a duvet cover, of course). It works, but it’s kind of a pain to make the bed in the mornings if you had a rough night. The whole bed gets pulled apart and you end up having to make it again from scratch.

In our travels, however, we’ve run into what I’d consider to be a bit of a revolutionary idea. Using two single or twin sized blankets in place of the single top sheet/duvet combo. At first, I thought it was just because our hosts didn’t have an extra full sized blanket, but we encountered this style of bed making again and again on our trip. And it’s brilliant. Two blankets means no more stolen quilt in the middle of the night. No topsheet means laundering or making the bed is extremely easy. It makes so much sense.

(Don't worry, the blankets are folded in half lengthways. I'm not advocating sleeping under a tiny pretend blanket)

We’ve also encountered things that make no sense to us. Like our latest shower setup. We’ve gotten used to the idea that showers are often had with a hand-held sprayer. Can’t say it’s better or worse than the mounted sprayer, just different. We’ve even used small shower rooms. Again, just different from what we’re used to, neither better nor worse. But our latest shower takes economy of space to a whole new level. The shower, if you can call it that, shares the same space as the toilet. By that, I mean the shower curtain encompases the toilet, there’s a drain in the floor (under the sink) and you shower while standing, more or less, directly above the lidded toilet. This concept isn’t entirely unfamiliar to me, as sailboats often have a similar set up. The head (room where the toilet is) is almost always the same room you bathe in. But I’ve never experienced this on land.

Technically, this system works. It is possible to shower without flooding the bathroom. Provided the drain doesn’t get a hair or two trapped in its grill. If you are unfortunate enough the have slowed down the drain with your villainous hair, expect and inch or two of water to build up around your feet as you finish up. And if you’re anything like me, have a small panic attack because you think you’ve flooded the flat with your inconsiderately long five minute shower. Then, regardless of how your shower ended, you need to mop up the floor with the provided mop. Otherwise the bathroom will stay soggy for the entire day.

Like I said before, some ways of doing things that we’ve discovered on our trip make a lot of sense. Other things, not so much.