Traveling between the U.S. and Serbia always brings to light the subtle and sometimes not at all subtle differences. The pros and cons are a mixed bag as they are with all countries.
Toilet water level is lower in Serbia. I have written about this before. It is different. nothing more. Less splash when you pinch off a loaf. But also, it makes cleaning more often more imperative and often. The toilet seems taller but it may just be the shape?.
While we are on the potty topic, the actual toilet seat and lid is often a light plastic material. I was fearful of breaking it when I came to Serbia the first time. But it is surprisingly sturdy… at least for a little while.
W.C. is the normal sign across much of Europe for toilet or bathroom. It stands for Water Closet, an old term I remember only hearing in old Western movies with John Wayne.
The washing machine is often in the W.C.with the toilet tub and sink. It makes sense as the clothes are washed on HIGH temps. The close proximity is logical for cost saving on space and length of pipes. I wrote about that here.
In our bathroom, the sink only has cold water… I guess they figure, if you need hot you can just use the tub faucet. In one village house I have seen there isn’t a sink! They decided to be really thrifty and space efficient using the tub faucet as the sink!!! Extreme Thrifting Home Edition!!
In Serbia, your kitchen may or may not have hot water… I know this is common in the village. Keeping a bit of water on the wood stove in the winter is a common practice.
Still getting grease off of dishes is a challenge. Enter Fairy dish detergent! This stuff cuts the grease and takes the skin off of your hands. I would rather employ a gentler soap and hot water to save my hands. Man, that Fairy is strong and painful stuff! But, if you aren’t using hot water, I would say it is necessary after adding so much pig fat (lard) to the dishes eaten!
If you have hot water in the kitchen, a tiny water heater will be located above the sink. It is so tiny unit that fits in your kitchen cabinet taking up space. 😛
The proximity to the faucet creates a certain shock of scalding suds Immediately! Ouch
In the bathroom the same issue is to be expected. The hot water heater is above the tub. HOT!!! Getting burned by the tub faucet happens rarely but sometimes I reach for the safe plastic lever and miss. I touch the metal part of the faucet outer element that has been heated quickly and efficiently. With soap in my face and a fresh burn I find the lever. Vowing to be more mindful of the Serbian standard, I rinse myself.
The upside of the difference is no one gets a flash of All cold/hot in the shower if someone flushes! If you have ever had that happen, you can appreciate that plus. 😉
The things I find strangely different are the focus on what would be cleaned with super hot water. Clothes are scalded with 90 degrees Celsius. Contrast that with all the eating utensils that contain food… quite a switch in priorities. These are the things that culture shock on both sides of the fence.
What differences have you noticed in your travels?