Since I've been a little sluggish with posts recently, I figured I owe you an extra-special one this time. So, instead of giving you one cultural conundrum I've decided to give you FIVE!
1. Buses get really full. I mean REALLY full. At full capacity you don't have to hold on to the bars because if the bus makes any sudden stops there is no room for you to move -- as if you're in a bus filled with packing peanuts.
I often laugh out loud when the bus stops at a bus stop and some people have to work their way from the middle of the bus to the door. As of yet I haven't seen anyone else laugh about this. I don't understand why. It's funny!
2. Tap water isn't safe to drink. It isn't treated and tested like it is in the States. Either you boil it or buy bottled water. Many people drink hot water or hot tea.
3. Most people use Kleenexes when they eat because the food makes their noses run. It's strange. Even when I'm not eating spicy food my nose almost always runs here. Either I'm subconsciously being convinced that I need to use Kleenexes because everyone else is, or there's something else in the food that causes it.
4. The toilets here are holes in the ground.
Unless you go to an airport or a really nice hotel, you have to use one of these "squatty potties." You simply squat and do your business. It's also good for building up those quads.
Thankfully, the international student dorm here has Western "sitting" toilets. But I'm fairly certain that as soon as you venture out of the dorm you won't find Western toilets within a 10-mile radius.
And don't ask me what the lavatory in a moving train is like. Let's just say you better make sure you're wearing some old shoes before going in.
5. You can't flush toilet paper down most toilets. Notice that trash can in the picture above? You guessed it!
Unfortunately, the sewage system can't handle toilet paper in most places. Lots of bad things happen if you try to put toilet paper down the toilet.
And speaking of toilet paper, public restrooms don't give you any. You have to carry some with you wherever you go (or hope that you don't have to go). If you can swallow your pride, random strangers will probably loan you some if you really need it.