Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear John

Since I'm obviously not afraid to talk about body fluids on this blog, I thought it was about time I brought up the restrooms in China (and I wanted to see how many different words I could think of for latrines). Let me introduce you to the squat toilet.

This thigh burn inducing bowl is prevalent throughout China. In an international city like Shanghai, Western style hoppers can be found at many restaurants, malls, and hotels. When in a pinch, Starbucks is always a good bet to find your traditional American privy. But in general, the majority of lavatories in China look like these. Even in hotels.

The Beijing Tourism Administration gave the john above a whopping two stars. I give it zero.

For months, I avoided using these facilities at all cost. I used the handicap accessible stall (which thankfully always has a full size seat) when available. I slipped into Western hotels. I urged our driver to break speed limits. I begged my bladder to pretend it belonged to a camel. 

But finally, I gave in. At 4am, after a night of dancing, while teetering in heels. Perhaps not the best time to test out whether my thighs were strong enough to support a proper squat. But I did it and have successfully used these porcelain thrones on a few other occasions since then. I'm still not a fan but at least I no longer run out of the bathroom when I encounter one. Unless the person before me had poor aim, then I run as fast as my stinging thighs will allow.

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