Ok, here is a funny story for you.
In the beginning of my travels to Nepal, not only my Nepali was extremely bad, but also my English was very lacking – to say the least. It was good enough to get by … most of the times.
So what happened was, when I would be walking around in Kathmandu, I would see all these little blue signs outside some residential houses on which was written “To let – 98473625” (or any other number). So the thing was, that I did not know what “to let” means in German and just assumed in my arrogant naivety that everyone was misspelling the word “toilet”.
After trekking in Solukhumbu I had seen a variety of spellings of the very same word and therefore assumed that even in Kathmandu apparently people were not educated enough in English to know how to properly spell it. So I wondered why there are so many toilets around certain residential areas, and what those phone numbers were for. And amazingly I came to the conclusion that those must be private toilets and that if you want to use those toilets in case of a toilet-emergency (especially since diarrhea infections are so common), you can call the owners and they will open the door for you.
I am not kidding you, this is really true. I thought this was really strange to have such a custom, but I thought it was a good hospitable thing to do for the community. And, yes, of course: I was unbelievably dumb and arrogant in that assumption. And it is even more amazing that this conviction stuck with me until my second stay in Nepal. I don’t remember exactly how I learned about it, just the feeling of total embarrassment when I found out what those sign really stood for.
I really had some wrong ideas about how Nepali community works because of that. I would contemplate questions such as:
Will high caste families allow low caste families to use their toilets?
Are those special western style toilets – and is that the reason why they advertise them like this.
Imagine what would have happened if at some point I had actually ended up calling one of those numbers, asking to use their toilet.
So, I sincerely apologize to all those sign owners from back then, that I had such wrong ideas about your level of English proficiency. Still I think it would be such a lovely thing of hospitality to offer your toilet for usage in case of an emergency. What an awesome community that would be to live in.