Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink. These lines are from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, where the speaker, a sailor on a ship, is surrounded by salt water that he cannot drink Unpack. Settle in. When you’re ready, there’ll be a water briefing, my friend said. She’d just fetched me from Cape Town’s international airport and driven me to her beautiful home in the southern suburbs. I laughed. Snorted really. Then I wagged my finger and said: Sneaky. You almost got me. Just because I’m from Joburg… My friend shook her head, assured me this was no joke, and asked me to meet her (and, she said, her kids could do with a refresher lesson) in the bathroom. First, she pointed to the basin tap. Literally wet your toothbrush, if you have to, but do not leave the tap running while you brush your teeth. Never leave the tap running. She handed me a small glass: fill that halfway with water then use it to rinse and clean your toothbrush. No more than half p...

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