About Me Yn Gymraeg

Mi scrifies i o efo tri gwrsai Gymraeg. Mae ‘n ddrwg gen i nac ydw fy Nghymraeg braf.

Sut mae! Rhunedd dw i. Dw i ‘n byw yn Adelaide. Dw i ‘n dwad o ‘r Alban yn wreiddiol ac dw i wedi dysgu Gaeleg yr Alban. Dw i ‘n mewn ysgol Cymraeg rwan yn dysgu Cymraeg. Dw i ‘n hapus yn dysgu Cymraeg. Dysgrwaig dw i ‘n yn brifysgol ac dw i ddim yn gweithio rwan.

Bidh mi ag eadartheangachadh an t-sgeulachd beag seo air Gàidhlig a-nis. Sgrìobh mi e le ach triùir leasan Cuimris. Chan eil mo Chuimris uabhasach math…

Halò! ‘S mise Raghnaid. Tha mi a’ fuireach ann an Adelaide. Tha mi às an Alba agus tha Gàidhlig agam. Tha mi ann an sgoil Cuimreach a-nis airson Cuimris a dh’ionnseach. Tha mi toilichte Cuimris a dh’ionnseach. ‘S e oileanach a th’ annam ann an oilthigh agus chan eil mi ag obair a-nis.

As always, if there are any Welsh-speakers around reading this, feel free to correct me! Obviously my Welsh is very, very basic at this point.

Language Update

Would you believe me if I said that in thirty hours, I’d spoken six languages?

Mind you, “spoken” is a bit of an overstatement when it comes to the last. Okay, so, four of the previous five (Gaelic, Hebrew, Welsh, German) have the CH sound, all pronounced without any questions or comments, and so does the sixth (Greek), and yet apparently it’s too difficult to pronounce. But that’s an old gripe. In my opinion, Australian or not, if you’re teaching a language with the CH sound, you can jolly well pronounce the CH sound! It’s not that hard! (And if it is, feel free to choke).

Anyway… Rather than rant about stupid Australian language teachers with dodgy accents (two of the languages), I’ll try and calm myself by detailing my abilities in each language.

ENGLISH (English) – no change, as far as I can tell, to my ability to speak English. Self-rating: C2

DEUTSCH (German) – as I mentioned at New Years’, my German abilities have shot through the floor in the last two and a bit years. Don’t get me wrong, I can still handle a basic conversation, but now I have an obvious accent and a more hesitant vocabulary. As for the grammar – I don’t know that I’d really remember much at all. Self-rating: B1

FRANÇAIS (French) – well, I’m probably not up to the standard I was when I did the Year 12/ DELF B1 exam eighteen months ago, but I don’t feel like I’ve lost much. If there’s any of my languages (other than English) which presents itself in my life regularly, it would be French. I’m not sure why, since I live in one of the Germanest areas of Australia, but I think a lot more people have studied French. It seems to be a pretty popular language at the moment. Self-rating: A2-B1

ESPAÑOL (Spanish) – I can still understand it. I could probably form a sentence or write a paragraph, but to be honest, I haven’t really wanted to since I stopped learning it two and a bit years ago. I’m not even sure why I learnt this language in the first place. Probably something about it being a global language and the only other option at the school being Indonesian. I never got particularly good at Spanish, anyway. Self-rating: A1-A2

GÀIDHLIG (Gaelic) – the only language with which I feel I’m progressing well. I’m not quite making the same leaps and bounds as I perhaps did last year, but we’ve got on to some much trickier stuff and I have less time in the week to devote to it. Self-rating: B1

GAEILGE (Irish) – I only learnt this for about two months before I realised two things: (a) there’s no way I’m ever going to be able to pronounce this language, and (b) Irish people can be really racist to non-Irish. Which resulted in me leaving the classes and never looking back. Ah, well, the more I know of Gaelic, the more I understand of Irish. I’d probably be a solid A2 when it comes to reading and hearing this language.

עברית (Hebrew) – after struggling last year with oh-so-much rote grammar and definitely not memorising lists and lists of vocab words, I realised that basically the only thing I’d achieved was the ability to read the alphabet and a basic understanding of Hebrew tense roots. And that first was rendered almost useless whenever I was presented with anything in cursive. Two weeks in Israel gave me the sound of the language for the first time, as well as a handful of phrases, some useful vocabulary, and two songs. I’ve now enrolled in an evening class at WEA for Modern Hebrew, so I’m actually excited about learning the language now. Self-rating: A1

KOINH (Greek) – all the gripes about rote grammar and vocab list memorisation apply to this, with the notable exception that I haven’t been able to escape to somewhere that teaches it like an actual language. I mean a modern language. You know, with speaking. As it is, I dread the lessons, which are both painful and dull, and got syllabus shock for the first time when going through it in the class yesterday. There is going to be so much homework for this, especially considering we don’t really seem to do any actual learning in class. Or speaking of the language. It’s all syntax, and most of that is just common sense. Yes, we’re reading 1 John, but it’s all, “Let’s challenge ourselves and try to translate directly!” Yeah, right, the only good part about the class is the bit where I get to read Greek out loud. Listening to a couple of the others try, not so much, but that’s the only fun bit, is reading it. I’m so busy this term, I’m strongly considering dropping it, since it’s the only non-mandatory subject I have at uni. And the homework is insane. Self-rating: A0?

CYMRAEG (Welsh) – this was just for a bit of fun when I saw the week-long intensive listed on the WEA catalogue website. In hindsight, it’s probably not the best idea in the world to do a language intensive in the first week of lectures, since I’m so exhausted and actually beginning to dread going again tonight, but overall it’s been fun. Welsh is such a fun and cool language. It has such a cute sound and in terms of vocab and grammar, it’s fairly straightforward. We learnt about mutations yesterday, which was all sort of fun and I’ve been looking forwards to. Gaelic only has one sort of mutation (lenition/aspiration), while Welsh has three (softening, nasalisation, and aspiration). Only problems are (a) the teacher’s actually Australian, although living in Wales for the last 12 years, and speaks Welsh with the most Australian accent I can possibly imagine someone speaking Welsh. Her blàs isn’t there! I don’t know how someone can live in Wales for that long and not pick up the blàs. And (b) speaking Gaelic gives me a distinct advantage when it comes to grammar, while being about 40 years younger than my classmates gives me an advantage when it comes to vocab. Let’s just say that after three days, the gap is widening. Self-rating: A1

Well, it’s a bit of a depressing, gripey list, but there you have it. I even managed to curb my complains about Greek in general and the Welsh teacher and other students in particular.

A Few Similarities and Differences between Gaelic and Welsh

Well, since I’ll be going to my first Welsh lesson, part of a WEA two-hours-for-five-days crash course, this afternoon, I thought I’d do a post about it.

And yes, I know part of my language policy for this year (which I might get around to typing up and posting at some point) was to not run after every shiny new language which catches my eye, but I’m sure I had a very good reason for enrolling in the Welsh course other than sheer excitement at the possibility of doing so.

Distraction from the woes and trials of student life with a sister leaving home? The ability to finally unleash a long-held desire to learn this strange and different Celtic language which none of my ancestors definitely ever spoke? The fact that the teacher is from Wales and probably won’t come out and hold the course ever again?

Anyway, last year at the Sgoil Nàiseanta, there was a Welsh-speaking girl there. Since we were about the same age, we ended up sharing a room, and we stayed up late on the second night nutting out exactly where the similarities and differences between our two languages lay. Some were expected. Some were more surprising.

Flags

The Grammatical Similarities

They’re different languages, but they’re still closely related, and after a comment from one of the teachers at the Sgoil, the first topic of conversation was grammar. Welsh and Gaelic do share grammatical features which English doesn’t have, which is only to be expected.

Like Gaelic, the verb comes first. Unlike Gaelic (but like Irish), it conjugates slightly. Like Gaelic, verbs have different positive, negative, and interrogative forms. The negative interrogative is formed with “nach…?” in Gaelic and “nac…?” in Welsh.

Like Gaelic (and Greek, for that matter), Welsh has no indefinite article. It’s “yr”, though, which bears no resemblance to Gaelic’s “an”.

Like Gaelic, Welsh lenites/aspirates/mutates/smooths initial consonants. Unlike Gaelic, the system is much, much more complex. Welsh, like Gaelic, also has prepositional pronounce, although it calls them “personal forms of prepositions”. This means that a preposition joins with a following pronoun to create a whole new word. I’ll use a preposition which is the same in both languages (but not when conjugated) to demonstrate:

AR                          AIR                         ON
arna                       orm                        on me
arnat                      ort                          on you
arno                       air                          on him
arno                       oirre                      on her
arnon                     oirnn                     on us
arnoch                   oirbh                      on yez
arnyn                    orra                        on them

Okay, that’s not very similar. I will point out, though, that prepositions cause the object to lenite/mutate in both languages.

Numbers, which don’t really bear much similarity to each other, have two systems in both languages – one based on scores, and the other decimal. Welsh’s score-based system is a little more complex and requires multiplication by nine a couple of times.

The Vocabulary Similarities

There is a major shift between the two languages involving the P/B sound in Welsh and the C/G sound in Gaelic. For example, “mac” and “mab” (“son”) or “ceann” and “pen” (“head”). An S-T shift (similar to that between German and English) also pops up occasionally – such as “sron” and “trwyn” (“nose”). On the topic of body parts, “leg” is the same, “càs” and “coes”, but Welsh has a word for “foot”, “droed”, while Gaelic just called that the “bottom leg”.

The word for “year” is similar – “bliadhna” (G) and “blynedd” (W) – while “month” is pronounced identically – “mis” (W) and “mìos” (G). “Week”, however, is completely different (“seachdainn” vs. “wythnos”). “School” is similar – “sgoil” and “ysgol” – but that’s pretty much universal. The names for different levels of school are completely different.

“Water” (“uisge” and “dwr”) is completely different, while the similarity between “fire” (“tèine” and “tan”) is visible only if you squint. “Fish” and “horse” are also completely different, with a clear Latin borrowing in Welsh (“pysgod”, as opposed to “iasg”, and “ceffyl” verses “eich”), while “dog” (“cù” and “ci”) and “pig” (“moc” and “mochyn”), and are the same, and “cow” bears resemblance to the Latin word in both languages (“bò” and “buwch”).

“Big” (“mòr” and “mawr”), “small” (“beag” and “bach”), “old” (“sheann” and “hen”), “new” (“nuadh” and “newydd”), and “bad” (“droch” and “drwg”) are all the same, while “glas” is “green” in Gaelic and “blue” in Welsh. “Black” is also similar, with “dùbh” in Gaelic and “du” in Welsh.

Place-Names

This isn’t strictly relevant, but I find the comparison between various names for places in the Celtic languages quite fascinating.

English   Great Britain           Wales                       Brittany
Gaelic      Breatainn Mhòr     Cuimrigh            Breatainn Bheag
Manx       Bretyn Vooar           Bretyn                       Vritaan
Irish         Breatain              Breatain Bheag        Briotáin
Welsh      Prydain Fawr          Cymru                      Llydaw
Cornish   Breten Veur             Kembra                    Breten Vian
Breton     Breizh-Veur            Kembre                    Breizh

It’s almost worse than the “glas” confusion.

I explained this to my roommate at Sgoil Nàiseanta: “In Manx, they call Wales ‘Bretyn’, and in Irish it’s ‘Breatain Bheag’, which is Gaelic for Brittany, and our word for Wales is ‘Cuimrigh’.”

She grinned and said, “Well, at least you know how to pronounce it!” “Cuimrigh” in Gaelic is pronounced exactly the same as “Cymru” in Welsh.

Ìosrael

Bha còmhradh againn an seachdain mu dheidhinn ar lèithean-saora, agus tha mise air a bhith mu dheidhinn Ìosrael a ràdh.

Dè seòrsa aimsir a th’ air a bhith ann?

Tha an aimsir air a bhith uabhasach fuar! Tha uisge air a bhith ann h-uile latha agus bha sneachd ann cuideachd!

Dè tha thu air a bhith a’ ceannach? Aodach, prèasantan do dhaoine eile, càil dhuit-fhèin…?

Tha mi air a bhith mòran cuimhneachan agus prèasantan do mo theaghlach a cheannach. Chan eil – agus cha bhith – mi air a bhith aodach a cheannaich. Chan eil mi air a bhith càil a cheannach dhòmh-fhèin ach geansaidh blàth no dhà.

Cò ris a tha am biadh air a bhith coltach?

Tha am biadh uabhasach snog. Tha a h-uile biadh air a bhith “kosher”. Tha sinn air a bhith siùpear “basariy” ithead agus tha feòil ann, agus tha sinn air a bhith breacàist “cheleviy” itheadh agus tha càise agus bàinne agus ìm ann. Chan fhaod mi bànne no ìm no càise ith agus cha toigh leam breacàist an-seo a-riamh!

A bheil thu air biadh ùr fheuchainn no deoch ùr a ghabhail nach do dh’fheuch no nach no ghabh thu a-riamh roimhe?

04 - Hyssop

A’ deanamh labaneh (pizza Druze)

Uill, tha mi air “labaneh” fheuchainn an seachdain. ‘S e “Pizza Druze” a th’ ann agus tha iosop aig. Agus tha mi air a bhith mòran sùgh gràn-ubhal a ghabh.

 

Càite a bheil thu air a bhith a’ dol airson biadh ithe?

Tha mi air a bhith aig an òsdal a fhuirich agus tha breacàist agus siùpear ann. Tha mi air a bhith a’ dol dhan bùth falafal airson shuwarma airson dìnnear. Tha shuwarma ann an Ìosrael coltach ri yiros ann an Astràilia. Tha mi a’ smaoineachadh gur e “kebab” a th’ ann yiron ann an Alba. An e sin ceart? Tha feòil agus biadh-luibh ann àran-pìota.

Dè cho daor ‘s a than a prìsean air a bhith?

Glè dhaor. Tha a h-uile càil air a bhith nas daoire na tha e aig an taigh ann an Astràilia.

Dè seòrsa daoine ris a bheil thu air a bhith a’ tachairt?

Uill, tha a h-uile duine ann mo ghrùp às Astràilia no Sealainn-Nuadh, ach tha mi air tachairt ri daoine èile às na Stàitean-Aonaichte agus às Ìosrael-fhèin. Tha mi air tachairt ri Raghnaidh (Rachel) eile ann am bùth ann an Tel Dan. ‘S e ainm glè chleachdail a th’ ann “Raghnaid” (Rachel) ann an Ìosrael.

Ciamar a tha thu air a bhith a’ siubhal air feadh an àite? A bheil thu air na busaichean no na trèanaichean no tacsaidhean a ghabhail?

Tha mi air a bhith dol ri bùs comhla ris a h-uile daoine eile ann mo ghrùp.

A bheil thu air turas a dhèanamh ann an gondola no air druim càmhail?

Tha mi air càmhailean a shealtainn, ach chan eil mi air tùras air druim càmhail a dhèanamh. Ach mi air turas thairis an Loch Gailíl ann am bàta a dhèanamh.

Dè seòrsa àiteachan air a bheil thu air a bhith a’ tadhal? Àiteachan eachdraidheil agus cultarail? Eaglaisean no taighean-tasgaidh?

Tha mi air tadhal air mòran mòran àiteachan inntinnich – mòran àiteachan eachdraidheil agus cultarail agus Bìoballach. Tha mi air tadhal air Nàsairet agus air Ièriùsalam, agus tha mòran mòran eaglaisean ann an an Ièriùsalam.

Dè an cànan no na cànanan a tha thu air a bhith a’ cluinntinn?

‘S e Eabhrais a th’ ann an cànan ann an Ìosrael, ach tha mi air a bhith a’ cluinntinnn Eabhrais, Arabais, Beurla, Spàinntis, agus Rùssais.

A bheil thu air mòran Gàidhlig no Beurla a chluinntinn?

06 - Ireland

maoiseach Gaidhlig Eireann ann an Nasairet

Tha mi air a bhith mòran Beurla a chluinntinn – tha mòran daoine an-seo às na Stàitean-Aonaichte. Chan eil mi air Gàidhlig a chluinntinn a-riamh, ach tha mi air maoiseach anns a’ Ghàidhlig Èireann a shealltainn ann an Nàsairet.

 

A bheil thu air beagan den chànan ionnsachadh?

Tha, tha mi air beagan Eabhrais innseachadh. ‘S e “boker tov” a th’ ann “madainn mhath” agus ‘s e “laila tov” a th’ ann “oidhche mhath”. ‘S e “Shabat shalom” a th’ ann “Latha na Sàbaid math” agus “todah rabah” a th’ ann “tapadh leibh”.

‘S e “aniy lo medeberit ivrit a th’ ann “chan eil Eabhrais agam”.

No English translation this week. You guys have already read all this.

Israel – The Things They Don’t Tell You – Modern Art

This is the third and final instalment of my pictures and discussion of Israel’s infrastructure – the nitty-gritties of every day live which help form the character of any given place, but which no-one talks about.

Previously, I’ve discussed public toilets, service stations, recycling and bottle depositories, town planning, and washing. Now I’m moving on from sensitive issues to talk about something a bit different: modern art.

It’s everywhere. If there’s one thing which characterises the modern Israeli city or town, I think it would be modern art. And the occasional Big Thing.

Big Things - Nveh Atiyv, Golan

Big Skis in Nveh Atiyv, Golan

Big Things - Ein Gev, Galilee

The Big Orange in Ein Gev, Galilee, looks distinctly more orange-like than Berri’s version (South Australia)… even if it is smaller.

The modern art sometimes made sense, as in the case of this whale sculpture in Joffa, the port from which Jonah left:

Modern Art - Joffa Old City

Even if it has a strangely happy, slightly creepy face.

Sometimes it didn’t.

Modern Art - Joffa Old City 1

Okay, it’s an orange tree. Joffa used to grow oranges commercially. That’s why Jaffas are orange and round.

Still, it’s a hanging tree growing out of a giant egg.

And some made less sense that that.

Along the path to the top of Mount Ben Tal, in the Golan, are a series of scrap-metal creatures.

You can probably tell I don’t really get modern art.

Modern Art - Near En Gev, Galilee

A giant fisherman overlooking Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee)

 

 

Israel – The Things They Don’t Tell You – Recycling

This is part of several posts I’m doing about the uncommonly-mentioned – but incredibly prominent – aspects of visiting Israel… or any country, come to think of it. I seem to notice the unusual things when travelling, and I may well have discovered an unhealthy predilection for toilets.

Israelis are pretty keen on recycling. (Palestinians not so much). Israel is the first place I’ve visited which has bottle depositories – aside from the Northern Territory, no other state in Australia even has bottle depositories. Unlike here in South Australia, however, Israelis don’t get 10c (or 30 hundredth-shekels?) for depositing their bottles.

Across the entire country, bottle depositories look like this, and appear basically on every street corner and in every public park:

That’s one in Tel Dan (Golan) and two (with blue rooves) in Tiberia (Galilee). Isn’t that cheery? If only rubbish bins looked like that all over the world.

Bottle depositories in Tel Aviv, however, were for some reason much plainer. A little larger, admittedly, but much plainer.

Recycling - Tel Aviv

And, on the topic of public parks, there are a lot of them. In Israel, there are basically two town-planning styles: the Arab way and the Jewish way. The Arab way is much more organic, which houses being added and grown as necessary. It’s a little charming, and reminiscent of the way old cities across Europe were built centuries ago, and has the same result: tightly-packed houses in a cement maze.

The Jewish style smacks of socialist 1960s Europe. It features tall apartment buildings, all uniform and in rows, interspersed with stretches of green public space. It’s cleaner, and neater, but it feels a little clinical – although at least they have the parks.

Although the motel in Ein Gev had driers, I understand from some of the other tourists there that this isn’t the norm. From my observations in towns, this seems to be true – Israelis, like Australians, hang their washing out to dry.

Apartments - Washing

They don’t do it on overlarge umbrellas like we do, though. As you can see from this photo taken in Ber Sheva, washing is hung straight out of the window. While you do see this in the city in Australia, most windows in an Israeli apartment block are equipped with metal bars – not to keep robbers out, but to stop children calling out and dying. These cages form the perfect place to hang washing to dry.

Israel – The Things They Don’t Tell You – Toileting

When I travel, I take notice of unusual things. Sort of everyday infrastructure things most people either don’t notice or don’t think worthy of mentioning.

For example, in the US, light switches are off when they’re in the Australian “on” light-switch position, and vice versa. Also, in the US, curbs are a little higher than in Australia.

With that in mind, here are a few things about Israel that you’re probably not going to hear anywhere else. It’s the little, commonplace things that give every country and area its own distinct “flavour”, but which also go unnoticed.

Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of as many things as I’d hoped – such as toilet-door locks and common brands of service station – because I ran out of room on the SD card and deleting the pictures by accident along with the ones I’d already saved!

Let’s start with the most important – but also most unspeakable – aspect of day-to-day life…

Toileting

Toilets in Israel are European-style (as opposed to American-style or Asian-style). This means that they’re sit-toilets with a whole-circle seat and a low water-line.

Because Israel is a moderately water-conscious country, almost all most toilets (at least, all of the ones I went to) have dual-flush systems. They appear in two main configurations:

Toileting - Flush 1

Two buttons on the top. Note that they’re not in the centre like Australian two-button systems. But this is how they looked, on the side. This is the more common style.

Toileting - Flush 2

Two front pull-tabs. This is a little less common, no doubt because at least 75% of the ones I saw had lost the white half-flush tab.

Toileting - Flush 2 Broken

Toilet cells are fully enclosed to the floor on both sides (although some are open for about a foot at the top), and doors are rarely more than an inch or two from the floor. Goodness, that must make it hard for Americans.

Anyway, there are three main sorts of lock. The most common is a large black plastic tab sbout 15cm long and 5cm wide, rounded, which flips over across to the doorframe – tucking into a notch for inward-opening doors, or just sitting there for outward-opening ones. The second-most common is a tiny little metal circle, about 2cm wide, with a ridge for grip, which turns and operates a mechanism inside the door. Finally, the only one for which I have a picture to show, is a plain, old-fashioned bolt.

Toileting - Lock 1

Public toilets are generally pretty good quality. Quite a few had damp floors in the stalls, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it was because it was raining most of the time we were there. Aside from that, they were pretty clean, and had all the necessary parts. A few in more remote places seemed a bit ramshackle, but only once did we have a no-toilet-paper problem. Privately-owned toilets (mostly on Catholic-owned sites) have a fee of two shekels; we only encountered two or three of these, though (and didn’t go in).

In short, public toilets in Israel are better than public toilets in Australia. I went to the toilet in a town called Buninyong (you can tell it’s rural Australian) the other weekend which didn’t even have toilet seats!

Outside the toilet stall, the only other thing to note is the taps, which for the most part prefer to come straight out from the wall and hover about a foot above the rim of the sink. They’re mostly operated by a single knob and emit freezing cold water (I’m sure it’s warmer in summer). The hotels preferred to have those awful swivel-temperature-control taps. And I encountered one or two sensor-taps in places like the Israel Museum and the airport.

Toileting - Tap

Another thing which should be mentioned about sinks is that many public sinks in Israel come equipped with a large two-handled cup chained to the tap. After spending the whole trip wondering about it, I Googled it after my return and discovered that the cups are part of a mivkeh-avoiding purification ritual.

It’s not really related to toileting, but I lack enough pictures to post on the matter, so I’ll talk about service stations (petrol stations? gas stations?) here, although I only went into one and didn’t go to the toilet there.

Basically, there are three major chains of service station in Israel, each with a seemingly inseparable café chain attached. The first, which seems to be most common around the coastal plains area, is called Sogol (the café is So Good), which is white-based with a large red flower. The second, which was more common around Galilee and the Golan in particular, was red-based, and I can’t recall the name of it.

The third, which I saw more of down south, was called Petz (or some other vowel), and was yellow-based, with an appropriately-named Yellow café chain attached.

Service Station - Petz Yellow

I think I’ll just about leave this post here, since there’s not really much else to say on the toileting front. I’ll move on to less awkward matters on the next post, but before then, feel free to check out my observations in toileting in the USA.

I know some nationalities seem to think “toilet” is a rude word, but perhaps many don’t realise just how toilets (and the accoutrements surrounding them) change from country to country.

In England, many toilets still flush with a chain, while in German and Europe, some come with a “shelf” upon which you may inspect your leavings. In America, toilets have seats split at the front and are filled to within a few inches of the top with water, while in Hong Kong (Airport), they flush by means of a foot-lever. In rural Australia, the toilet might not flush at all, but simply drop leavings and paper down a long, long hole to decompose. (The more modern ones include special chemicals to reduce smell and quicken the decomposition process).

And that’s just the sit-toilets. The world is peppered with squat-toilets, from France and Italy to Singapore and Korea. Some toilets in India have extra-wide seats with foot-grips to allow squat-toilet-users to do so on sit-toilets. In Singapore, as with many countries with high Muslim populations, toilets include a small tap or shower-head on a bendy pipe to allow for washing.

And it occurs to me as I type these last two paragraphs that I may have an unhealthy obsession with toilets.