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« VIDEO EPISODE 1: Jaca | Main | Episode 9: Too Much Feedback! ☺ »



Ah yes, the showers. I admit I found it a little disconcerting when I saw the wires near the water. However, after over 24 hours of traveling to get to Ponta Grossa, the desire to be clean ultimately won over my fears although I think I took the quickest shower I've ever taken. But, I got used to it and it didn't bother me after the first week.

Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but I have a food question. While I was visiting friends there, I discovered I like the guaraná pop (or soda, whatever they call it in Muncie!) Since Coca-Cola bottles the Kuat brand, do you or or listeners know if there is any place in the USA that might sell it? Not surprisingly, neither Champaign, IL nor Bloomington, IN have any place that sells it but perhaps Chicago, Indianapolis or maybe somewhere east or south?


In Europe, Greece is the only country I've been to where you are told not to flush toilet paper. I was shocked and disgusted at first. I'd like to say that I got over it after a few days, but no, I stayed shocked and disgusted.

In the end I simply ignored the request and flushed the toilet paper away as I would at home. The bathroom looked and smelled nicer. Life went on as usual: the toilet didn't block, no-one came to the door to complain. My advice to Brazil: try flushing it and see.


Jen, if you take showers long enough in Brazil, you'll eventually have a horrible electricity-related experience.

I've heard that in some big cities in the US, you can find guarana if you know where to look. I've never come across it, but I have ordered it occasionally from

Zebulon, that's my philosophy too. There are some nicer establishments in Brazil that encourage you to flush your paper. Unfortunately, for many Brazilians that is too disgusting to even contemplate. If a wastebasket is not provided next to the toilet, they will just pile their paper on the floor.


Sorry guys,
It's disgusting but there are many places where you really can't put toilet paper down the toilet.

Toilet paper is engineered to break down in water but it still isn't enough.

The sewage system is pretty fragil.

Equally disgusting is someone throwing TP in the toilet but not washing their hands afterwards (US style).

I didn't like the Seinfeld last episode.

Heaters are needed in Brazil. I lived many years in northern US. I can't remember ever being as cold as I am in Brazil, no kidding.

Central air also requires more space within the house and complicates construction.

Donald Trump is right. It is a lot more difficult to travel and be received as an American.


P.S. This episode was about a 4, sorry.
There wasn't a direction to the show, there was a lot of noise and people showing up.



Is that a 4 out of 5 or out of 10? Actually, I thought we did a pretty good job covering the major points about the Brazilian household. The people showing up and the background noise they provided made this one of our better episodes (at least in my personal opinion). But we'll talk about this on our upcoming feedback episode and ask for input from other listeners. I fear we'll never quite have the kind of format you would like, though.

As for toilet paper, I am in complete denial about this, so I don't have to start throwing it into a wastebasket.


For those looking for Guarana soda (I love it!) one brand that is fairly available in the US is called BAWLS. There's a regular version and a sugar free, and they recently came out with cherry and root beer as well. Supposedly it's sold at Target stores now.

Check it out at

It's not quite as good as popping a can of Antarctica guarana, but it'll do!




Is there a decaffeinated version?


I scoured their web page, and it doesn't look like it. I think the caffeine is part of the whole appeal...

Patrick Murphy

Kinsey & Milton

I found this episode's content on TP extremely explanatory. I know several Brazilians living here in Orlando, Florida, USA, and when I first began hanging around some of them I was at a gathering at one of their homes for a holiday party. I was horrified when I went to the bathroom where I came across the yellow (as Milton described it), or brown (for the rest of us)TP in the trash can. I really was unsure whether or not to mention anything to the homeowner. Haha. I ended up refraining from mentioning anything. Almost two years later, today, I find out why I found that condition.

P.S. Milton, I think you're great, but had to make the jab.



I do not know why I think this is funny BUT it is so TRUE!! I am in the USA now visiting and yes I need to say that the toilet paper is great here. Below from the article..interesting points.


That was what we bought first and most. My companions and I cleaned them out every time we shopped there, and then traded the rolls of toilet paper throughout our mission the way GI's used to trade in nylons, cigarettes, and chocolate bars in occupied Europe. Because American toilet paper was such a relief.

It is part of our legacy as Americans: We have, without question, the best toilet paper in the world.

And our hotels and motels are often so stingy with toilet paper that they design dispensers so that you can only pull off one square at a time. Nobody wipes with one square, even it if it's two-ply. Get real!

But I've used toilet paper in countries all over the world -- domestic toilet paper, the kind people buy and put in their own homes -- and nobody even comes close to the American standard.

Now, it's possible that I like American toilet paper best because that's what I grew up with.

But I don't think that's the reason. I think American toilet paper is best because, by completely arbitrary standards, it is.

What are those standards?

1. Toilet paper should dissolve in the sewer system, so it is completely flushable and doesn't clog the system.

2. Toilet paper should be large enough that, when folded into the perforated squares, it covers the area in question without soiling one's hand.

3. Toilet paper should be absorbent to exactly the right degree. When it is wiping up a liquid mess, it should absorb some of it, but it can't be allowed to soak completely through and get any of the liquid on the hand. This is a devilishly hard balance to achieve (and it's part of the reason why we generally use more than one layer!).

4. Toilet paper should be abrasive to exactly the right degree. Sometimes it is required to clean up dryish or downright dry material. We expect our toilet paper to be able to get everything off the skin by rubbing. (Brazilian toilet paper was superb at this. Except that it also took a few layers of skin with it.)

5. Toilet paper should be strong enough that, even when moistened by use, one's fingers will not punch through and become soiled. This is a difficult balance to achieve in a paper designed to dissolve, since it is required to remain sturdy in different degrees of moisture. So it must remain firm and hold its shape when cleaning up liquids.

6. Toilet paper should be gentle. We want it to be kind to some of our tenderest skin, instead of peeling away a layer or two with repeated use.

7. Toilet paper should be cheap. We don't want to spend a lot of money on stuff that we're just going to flush away. (Arguably this argument should apply to food, as well, but the toilet paper goes directly into the toilet.)



That's hilarious! The behavior was so ingrained that it didn't even occur to them to dispose of the shitty paper before they had non-Brazilian guests over.


Yes, I think it's weird that high quality toilet paper doesn't seem to be available in Brazil at any price. Even the import shops don't carry it.

Even though US toilet paper may be the best in the world, I think Europe has some of the best toilets. At one airport in France, I discovered a toilet with such a powerful flush that if I had been standing any closer to it, I would surely have been sucked in and dumped into the sewer system!


HHAHAHHAHAHAHhHHHHHHaaaaaa! Funny..I will stay out of france toilets..

Interesting to note..I stayed at a friends place for a few days in Rocinha, the favela and he had a toilet that you could put the paper in. I think he had special paper that was not a trouble for the sewage system.

This was interesting becase in my other place in Rocinha you had to put in garbage can.


the place i work is a japanese company and they send the team leaders over to japan to the factory to be trained and when our team leaders come back they mention the toliets all the time. they said the toliets clean you off when your done using water comes out of it and sprays your ass i guess...i found this interesting...but im am not sure if i would like this sort of thing

Patrick Murphy

Rocinhajj, this is what is referred to as a bidet. It originates in France, well at least the name. I am quite surprised you, assuming you are a Brasileiro, and others in Brazil have not been exposed to this at least in hear-say until recently.

It is not a common thing here in the US. In fact it is almost looked at as a luxury that is only seen in high-end hotels and few upscale homes. It is more a showcase item to Americans than a restroom tool utilized on a regular basis. In fact the reasoning behind its existence certainly makes sense. I guess Americans, even with good toilet paper would prefer to walk around a tad less clean. I will say that I have seen a new trend here in the US that people's homes and some offices are offering moist toilets by companies that produce toilet paper. These are used after the regular toilet paper. They basically are 'baby wipes', just marketed differently.

This is all I will say about the bathroom, unless provoked otherwise. I get stuck on such things because I am an architect and this is just another 'system' of a building. Many things (designs/systems) in architecture are a direct result of some sociological cultural development or viewpoint, much of which I see Brazilianisms is based on.


Patrick Murphy

Apologies, my last message was a response to Chris, not Rocinhajj.

Patrick Murphy

A bidet is a low-mounted plumbing fixture or type of sink intended for washing the genitalia, inner buttocks, and anus. Originally a French word, in English bidet is pronounced /bɪˈdeɪ/ (US) or /ˈbiːdeɪ/ (UK).



I experenced once this BIDET you talk of in the USA at a tanning place. Very interesting thing, but it costs much money?

Only one place I ever saw this in San Francisco, the company name "Happy Seat"..

Patrick: you are a architect of what kind of places. I am to visit Columbia University to give a speech about favelas to Architecture class there 20 April..I am looking forwards for this!

Patrick Murphy


I am what is called an 'intern architect'. This terminology means that I have graduated with an accredited degree in architecture from a university, but are not licensed yet. Once one passes the licensing exam you are truly an 'architect' or 'registered architect'. I can explain further to you directly.

Your presentation sounds very interesting. I would be interested to hear more as to how you came across that opportunity.

My email is [email protected]. Send me an email and we can discuss further via email.

I look forward to hearing from you.



I send you email...thank you



I don't think Chris was referring to a bidet. This is the kind of toilet that is common in Japan. Sadly, bidets used to be standard in Brazil through the 90s (even in favelas), but now they've practically disappeared, replaced by a weird handheld shower attachments that I have no idea how to use.


Maybe it's different in the south, or maybe I just wasn't paying attention, but in the nearly two years I lived in Brazil, I knew of exactly one family with a maid, and she didn't live in the apartment with them.

It took me a few weeks to get used to not flushing the toilet paper. Luckily, the smell wasn't really noticeable unless someone was sick. We just made sure to take the trash out frequently.

I did notice quite a few bidets, but I only tried it once. I didn't much care for it.


Mark, interesting. I've never been to the south, but I understand there are significant cultural differences. I wonder if they have less reliance on maids down there. Where I live, even the maids have maids. (Well, not quite, but it sure seems that way at times.)

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