Today's culture shock

I remember hearing a comment from someone a while back about Australia toilets seeming “weird” to north americans because they’re so different from american toilets.

Today, it suddenly occured to me to wonder what an american toilet would look like..

I haven’t found out yet, but I did find some disturbing links.

These people take their loos way too seriously:

“I’ve had a Toto Ultramax for a year now after replacing my low-flow Kohler which took two or three flushes to do anything. One flush and it’s gone.” Bob

Wow. Such brand-loyalty…

The multi-flush thing was a recurring theme. Apparently it’s common in america to need to flush repeatedly – it seems as though someone decided to save water by using low-flow toilets, but didn’t research the technology, requiring people to flush multiple times and thus negating the water savings..

This strikes me as bizarre – If I have to flush more than once to get something down, it’s such a rare event it would get written in my diary (if I kept one..)

Another great site comes from Caroma USA – apparently they’re trying to introduce Australian-style toilets to the US.

The wash down system has less water in the bottom, hence a brush is usually kept near the toilet to eliminate skid marks — something found common and acceptable in Europe and Asia, and generally unacceptable in North America. The siphon system, especially with low flush, has far more sewage blockages and hence a plunger is usually kept near the toilet and accepted as normal in North America and totally unacceptable in Europe and Asia.

I have to agree with this. I’m used to seeing toilet brushes everywhere, and I’ll use them (and only be slightly grossed out) when I do.

It wasn’t until today that I realised what plungers are for, and what’s going on when you see the man of the house attacking the bow with a plunger on those american movies.. now *that* is truly disgusting!

The most bizarre thing I found thouse was from J Ho’s own little merry band of beaurocrats – a guide to the culture of Australia and how to adapt to living here. I wonder if this is what J Ho meant when he was referring to Australian values?

People who do not know each other generally do not kiss or hug when meeting.

Important exceptions: gay clubs and other *ahem* venues

When meeting a new person, Australians are not comfortable asking, or being asked questions relating to their age, marital status or financial position.

Really? I guess it doesn’t usually come up, but I’ve never felt uncomfortable about these questions..

… people who are dressed to go to the beach or swimming are [not] prostitutes or inviting others to touch them.

But ogling is okay, right?

You should always try to be on time for meetings and other appointments.

Most Australians blow their noses into handkerchiefs or tissues, not onto the pavement

!!!! Yep, this one shocked me. I really need to get out of this country and exposed to some other cultures (but I think I’ll be taking a good supply of hand soap and wearing shoes at all times)

Australian hosts are also specific about how many people are invited. If your whole family has been invited, you should tell your host how many people will go. Usually a family only includes the parents and their children.

This often also seems to mean that “Your friends who I don’t like aren’t invited, so please don’t tell them the party is on”.

If you are a guest in someone’s house for the first time, it is usually polite to ask permission to use their toilet. “May I use your toilet please?” Some people ask “Where’s the loo?”

Now.. I’m really meant to be working. Back to work..

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