THERE IS ONE CARDINAL RULE IN BRAZIL. And I cannot make myself remember it, no matter how hard I try, and despite having been in this country for one week now. NEVER EVER EVER PUT TOILET PAPER INTO THE TOILET. EVER. Or anything, actually. Do not put anything into the toilet that did not come from your own body, regardless of what event has just happened behind the closed door. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a lovely hotel in a big city, an international airport in the nation’s capital or a spartan toilet in the back of a random bodega in the middle of the Amazon — DON’T DO IT. There are trashcans provided next to each and every toilet in this beautiful country expressly for the deposit of your tissues, toilet paper, and what have you. And every time I am in the bathroom, you can hear me scream out at myself, DAMMIT SHIT COME ON right before flushing the toilet. Because I cannot make myself remember. In the airport in Sao Paolo on the way to Rio, I performed this outburst, forgetting I was in public, and came out of the stall to see a line of women staring at me searching for some sort of visible twitch or tourettes-like symptom. But can I really be the only person in the world to have had this issue? I don’t want to be that idiot tourist that screwed up Brazil’s pipes and made plumbers work on their days off and killed the rainforest. I have another week in this country. I am determined to get this right.
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