A short rant on Cleanliness, Personal Hygiene and the Ethics of Slime

Dirty-house- long term travel
Ok so most places aren’t this bad..

I recently stayed at a house that had a bathroom that looked like it might have actually been haunted; it looked like a nastier, more putrid smelling place than the cabin from The Evil Dead in the final moments of the movie… and we were staying here for another 4 whole nights, awesome. I’m a pretty easy going and tolerant guy when it comes to most things but having to squelch across the bathroom floor in order to do my teeth then having to disinfect my shoes afterwards was a bit much. I’m convinced that this particular bathroom in Central Europe was actually the dirtiest place I’ve ever experienced firsthand that wasn’t a porta-potty (portable toilet) mid-way through a week long summer festival that’s been sponsored by Taco Bell… It was thoroughly disgusting and might even be considered a form of torture.

The ‘fun’ part of staying with local people or in hostels (or cheap hotels for that matter) is the pure random nature of your accommodation, I’ve had AMAZING places sprung unbeknownst upon me that have left me feeling like some sort of king or Sultan.. then on the other hand I’ve also stayed in places where I probably felt a bit more like it was some sort of cosmic punishment for these earlier indulgences.

Some places are actually so gross that I’ve been tempted to share with the owner that perhaps they should be the ones paying me to stay there and not the other way around… It really baffles me sometimes just how lacking people can be in their personal hygiene. Like those fun times on the tram in Istanbul on a hot summers day where if you’re below about 5’8” you get to enjoy the pungent aroma of 500 armpits pointing at you, each ‘smiling’ with a distinct lack of deodorant.. (luckily I haunt the loftier slightly less ‘vulnerable’ space that sits slightly above this noxious zone).

In fact while on on the subject, have you ever walked past someone and literally been physically assaulted by their body odor? While recently in Paris I walked past a young man who’s pungent aroma was so strong that as I passed him on the street I was literally knocked sideways as his fetid smell punched me in the face. It was such a violent attack that it left me stunned, badly shaken and limping away nursing a black eye and what felt like a singed and broken nose…

I mean what the hell people!! What’s so hard about using a little common sense, having some consideration for other people, for god’s sake; take a shower, use some soap and put on a little antiperspirant deodorant..  It’s not rocket science!

Apply this logic to your home too and you might be able to walk across the floor without sticking to it and maybe also stop the rather pungent ‘musk’ from oozing out of the kitchen and attracting bears…

Hostels are another place where a little disinfectant sometimes wouldn’t go amiss, especially in those shared bathrooms. A couple of places I ventured into in Eastern Europe recently had something akin to green slime on the floor. No idea what the hell it was, but it did make me think twice about the free breakfast the next day.. I mean if the bathrooms look like something out of Ghostbusters then the kitchens can’t exactly be shining examples of cleanliness either.. anyway I’m pretty sure that green stuff on the bread was.. apple jam right? … right ..!?

Maybe I’m just getting older so I’m noticing these things now that I’m getting close to thirty, I mean I remember only about 5 or 6 years years ago the apartment I used to live in had floors that weren’t exactly what I’d call clean enough to eat off… but they didn’t have previously undiscovered fungi growing on them either.

Sorry, rant over, just breathe.. in through the nose, out through the mouth. Travel is a character building experience which is never more apparent than in those moments you look back on and laugh at.. only this time I’m really hoping that I haven’t picked up some fetid new form of cholera from the sink and actually do get to look back and laugh about it.. TBC…

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