WARNING: This blog post has a graphic photo and stories about… well… poop. But its really funny I think. So only read it if you are not faint of heart.
This blog is dedicated to Mike, you were right.
Before coming to China, Nick’s friend Mike had warned us that people poop on the streets here. I thought and proclaimed that it could not be so. I know that China has public bathrooms and is fairly westernized in the city that we were heading to. Surely this couldn’t be true! There are a lot of gross things about China that I know to be true. Human waste, and waste disposal is one of them. Many of you may not know that Chinese plumbing cannot handle paper so next to every toilet is a trashcan where you can dispose of your used toilet paper. Also, even if you find a western style toilet, many people mount it and stand on the toilet seat. Be warned.
On our first day here, we were so hot walking back from the school to our hotel. So we ducked into a wooded area on a path. After a while walking, I put my foot down, in my NEW black sandals, and my foot ‘smooshed’ down and slipped forward. I was MORTIFIED. Terrified, I looked down and yes. There was human feces stuck to my shoe. I was wrong. You were right. Some people do poop on the path in China.
Sorry for this picture, but this needs to be seen.
But that isn’t the main story of this post.
The first time I used a squatty potty, or squat toilet, or eastern toilet (however you want to call it) was in the medical center where we got our health checks done. I was in a skirt that day and I must say that it made it quite easy to use the bathroom. Mostly I use the western toilets whenever I can find them or wait until I get home if I can. Its not really as difficult to use the squatty potties as I thought it would be.
Well, as you may know, the food here is not up to western standards of cleanliness. This is not a sterile society, concentrated on keeping food safety rules. So needless to say, when you first get to China, there is an adjustment period where your body learns to digest the food you are eating. One day, after school, we went to look at our new apartment to double check that the furniture had arrived. As we were walking, as so often happens to me here. I had an immediate urge to go. Not number one, but number two. we still had a block to go. I kept walking, pausing along the way to double over, groan and think of what was about to happen. I started sweating. We got to the office and I knew I had no choice.
The office staff showed me to the private bathroom. I think he knew what was going on. I walk in and see this:
Oh my. I thought. There is no way. I doubled over again, trying to convince myself that I could hold it. I had only used a squatty potty twice by this time. And this was not a simple piss. I said out loud to myself, “This is gonna happen.” But when I got on the throne I remembered, oh shoot, I need to get my toilet paper out of my bag. Well, do you think I remembered to pack it that day?! Of course not.
Violently I searched in the barren bathroom for anything I could use. Luckily we just came from school because I had a steno notepad in my bag. And that was it. So bravely I squatted, praying for good aim. I’ll leave some details out. I think you’ll thank me for that.
I finish and I go to wash my hands at this sink:
As you may notice, there is no soap to be found. Well, I know that I’m prepared for this. (Thanks Mom!) Paper soap is one thing that I have been so thankful for. So, in summary, ALWAYS pack your own toilet paper and buy some paper soap to bring with you. Those items are not standard in bathrooms here.