I need to back up a little and explain the potty situation in the Asian cultures. I'm sure I have some readers who don't realize that around these parts squatty-potties are the norm. Literally, it's a hole in the ground that you squat over and do your business.
In Okinawa it's not so bad. The potties are shaped like a ski: a rectangle with rounded edges that has a lip at the top. This lip is VERY important. I've really never had a hard time finding a western-style toilet here. There's at least one somewhere, if you know where to look for it.
This does not hold true for China. Western-style toilets are like the holy grail that you constantly search for but is just out of reach. If you find one you pee, no matter if you have to go or not.
There are two distinct differences that make squatty-potties in China horrible - or rather, WAY more difficult and gross than Japan.
The first: They have no lip at the top of their hole. Remember how I said that was important? That's because it keeps the pee IN the hole and not sloshed around it. The better places (like the hotels and airports) keep someone in the bathroom at all times that stand in the middle with a mop. That person swishes the floor after each use. NOT with sanitizer, mind you! Just swishing the pee around so that it dries faster.
The second: In Japan they flush their used toilet paper. In China... there's a bucket where you drop it after. It's lovely to see while you're going.
You can imagine the smell.
Okay... so now my story.
We were at the wall in Xi'an. I was standing outside the bathroom waiting for an opening when I took the picture above. I had to go pee SO BAD. I really couldn't wait. Because, trust me, if I could have, I would.
When the bathroom opened up, the floor was so full of pee that I was sliding as I walked. Like, I was literally holding the walls to keep from falling. (I'm getting sick just thinking about it.)
But I had to go, so what could I do?!
I tried to do my business. It was difficult just to get my pants down without slipping. And between the squatting, the making sure that I was balanced and not getting my pants wet...
I landed on my right hand - the one I use to do EVERYTHING! I had to get my pants up and buttoned with my left all while keeping my right as far from me as possible.
I WAS FREAKING OUT. Still am, actually.
I was so close to crying. I made it out of the stall only to discover... there was no soap.
I rinsed off with water, all while trying to not slip again...
By the time I made it out to Steven I was at maximum freak out. I held my hand WAY far away from me while I asked (okay, YELLED - but I was REALLY STRESSED) him to get me out the wipes and hand sanitizer. I used the wipes (7 of them) and the sanitizer (half the bottle just to be sure).
Now doesn't that story make you want to visit China?
Album #3 can be found here. Are you getting sick of the pictures yet?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
It's time to tell you the grossest thing that happened to me in China. I was reminded of it when I saw this picture: