01.09.2013 - 13.11.2013
I’m going to let you into a few secrets, just between friends. You may find what I am about to say disgusting, or even shocking. If you do, I suggest you reconsider any plans you had made to live in a developing country, where this is all rather normal.
Firstly, I’ve sort of given up washing my hair. While the women here spend ages brushing, oiling and plaiting their extensive tresses, I quite simply cannot be bothered. The combination of dust, pollution and humidity means that my once-luscious locks look the same whether I washed them an hour or a week ago, i.e. not dissimilar to a low-grade scarecrow. Every time I shake my head to dislodge a fly, I get a free shower of grey dust (which then lodges itself in my pores, kindly giving me the skin of a teenager again). The first thing I plan to do once I’m back in the UK is treat myself to the world’s deepest condition.
Secondly, I’ve stopped wearing deodorant. Admittedly, that is a bit icky, but I don’t think anyone can tell, provided I don’t wave my arms about. In my defence, I’ve read in a lot of places that mosquitoes are attracted to synthetic beauty products, so it’s a question of the health of my liver! And anyway, I’m going to play the life experience card, and say if I can’t do it when I’m living somewhere where I have to walk through the cowshed to get to the shower, then when can I?
And here’s the big one…. I have renounced toilet paper. WHAT?!?! I hear you cry in consternation. Well, to be honest, I don’t have a choice. Nobody else uses it and you can’t buy it even in the big supermarkets. The plumbing system can’t cope with it and there are no bins in the bathrooms (Note: there are no bins anywhere. I have enough mental anguish dropping biodegradable rubbish in the street, let alone lobbing used bog roll around.) I’ll be honest, it took me a while to work out what the alternative was, until I noticed that a recurring feature of all bathrooms/ squat loos is a small plastic jug. That’s right, my friends, you have to sort of rinse. With your hands. And then waft about a bit until you’re dry enough to continue on your merry way. Now that does take some getting used to, but as they say: When in Rome!