India has a pee problem. And a saliva problem. And a trash problem.
For some reason, many Indian men use public spaces as their own personal bathroom, hocking loogies and whipping out their wieners to urinate whenever and wherever they feel like it. In Panjim, Maren and I were walking home from dinner one night when we passed right by a guy who was pissing on the sidewalk while FACING US. No shame in his game. We’ve even heard that some people who don’t have access to a toilet will just take dumps on beaches, on lake and river shorelines, in the woods, etc. When you gotta go, you gotta go, I guess.
While we’ve only had the close encounter with a public urinator just that one time, the spitting and loogie-hocking is a constant problem. You really have to be prepared to dodge a loogie when walking near men on the street.
Finally, there is trash literally EVERYWHERE. I don’t know what the landfill situation is here, but there doesn’t seem to be a system for trash collection or removal, so everyone just throws their trash wherever. This, to me, is way sadder than the public urinating and defecating issue. You’ll be looking out at a beautiful, natural vista, but 10 feet in front of you, scattered all across the ground, are dozens of plastics bags, food wrappers, food waste (which seems to get eaten pretty quickly by all the street dogs and cows), paper trash (also eaten by the cows), and other trash. It’s really a terrible shame.
To underline my point, I took some pictures of these signs that we saw in Panjim that were some sort of “clean city” initiative. At least they’re making an effort, right?