Things got stale; things got flat - stand still too long and the mental rot sets-in. But Donkey's back on the road, and back in the tropics where he belongs. Mrs Donkey's on board, of course, but this time it's all a little different; for starters we've two wee-ones in tow, and this time our new locale features fantastic food - affordable French champagne's a nice little added extra. Bring on the high life, but rest assured the low life will remain an unwavering feature
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign...
...Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?
Five Man Electrical Band
Here I was thinking I'd come a long way since I was fifteen years old, travelling through Germany, and breaking-out in adolescent hysterics every time I saw a sign denoting an exit.
"Ausfahrt! You gotta be kidding me, Ausfahrt?! Hey! Hey! Pull my finger. Pull my finger ... I'll show you how an Aus Farts! Woo hoo! Yuk, yuk, yuk".
On my return to Australia, my teacher repeatedly asked me to bring my Germany trip photographs to school to share with the other students. In order to hide my embarrassment (given that every second shot was of me doubled-over in fits of hilarity beneath an exit sign), I conjured excuse after increasingly implausible excuse to throw her off the scent; "Our cameras were taken from us by East German border guards and they strip-searched me to get the negatives I'd hidden up my arse ... despite the stench, my substantial, numerous ausfahrts were still not enough to deter them from their merciless quest".
She stopped asking.
But anyway, those juvenile days are well and truly behind me now, right? Right? That's what I thought, until on a recent trip to Tibet.
It's bad enough having to prepare yourself, both mentally and physically, to visit a Tibetan toilet. For starters there's the negotiating one's way around the disgusting piles of steaming turds that accumulate over a year or so between cleans, but it really does make the experience completely inaccessible when one faces fearful confusion over which cubicle is for the fellas, and which is for the ladies.
Believe me, it can be quite an uncomfortable, and potentially life-threatening ordeal to have daintily picked your way through the stinking smears of nomad excrement, placed your feet carefully either side of the over-flowing hole in the ground, be squatting in vein-popping agony as you push-out last night's yak steak, only to have an attractive, young Tibetan village girl wander in on you as that brown bear pushes its way into the world!
Funny, maybe, but I can vouch for the fact that things can rapidly deteriorate into a public health disaster as you suddenly reach for your strides with one hand, accidentally twist sideways, slip on a fresh coat of gravy and reflexively reach to the floor with the other hand to steady your body's downward trajectory. Splat!
So it was a great boon to me on my most recent visit, to approach one of these fragrant, rural outhouses, and be provided with some assistance by [I suspect] local youths with a piece of charcoal.
Very helpful indeed ... and yes, I love the artist's impression of the gash! Pic Hagas
And while I'm in the middle of this incredibly mature missive about amusing foreign signs, I'd like to share with you a label I found about ten minutes after viewing this sign, in a local dining establishment characterised by the same standards of hygiene displayed in the bogs.
The label was attached to a most remarkable piece of Chinese engineering and manufacturing; a plastic, automatic toothpick dispenser in the shape of a German country house [there, ya see, this post's gone full circle], on which the pressing of a small button forces a single, clean, round toothpick into the hands of the eager consumer. A tremendous feat of modern, scientific research and development.
And the label read;
AUTO TOOTHPICK CASE. Design with meticulous care the external appearance beauty is generous usage convenience.
That's all very well, but you know what they say, "Self praise is no praise!".