Culture Clash

I was showing Rina around town and finally got a pic of Bernard Maybeck’s Palace of Fine Arts. Maybeck definitely knew what part he liked best:

Palace of Fine Arts, detail

Stay tuned for some shoe-on-the-other-foot cross-cultural tales occasioned by Rina’s visit.

Like just a few minutes ago I burst into laughter in the bathroom upon seeing something Rina had brought with her.

You know, when you’re going to a strange land where the natives do not enjoy all the benefits of civilization, you quite naturally bring your toothbrush, anticipating that they’d just use twigs for their dental hygiene.

Well, maybe the toothbrush isn’t a good analogy because we all tend to carry our own toothbrushes around.

What I spotted in the bathroom was Rina’s washandje (that little Dutch bathcloth sack thingy that they use instead of a bathcloth). It’s made out of terrycloth like a bathcloth but instead of being a flat square, it’s a smaller rectangle that’s folded once and then sewn on two sides so that it forms a sort of mitten that you can slip your hand into.

I own a couple of these that Dutch friends have given me because they knew I’d be fascinated by the novelty. What I didn’t know is that apparently they feel it’s utterly barbarous to bathe without using one and that you must carry your own to darkest America.

Hmm. Perhaps the folks who gave them to me were subtly trying to civilize me and expected me to actually use them.


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