The Dirty Truth

I promised that I’d dedicate an entire entry to my bathroom, and here it is. To me, my bathroom (and Tamlyns) is a sanctuary compared to the typical bathroom that you would find in Hohhot (and in China for that matter). My bathroom comes complete with a toilet, sink, laundry machine, and BATH TUB! Now, you may be thinking to yourself “Why Stephanie, there’s nothing special about that at all!” but you’d be wrong. A bathtub is a luxury here in China, and here’s why.

Most bathrooms that I’ve seen in the apartments here in Hohhot are split in to two. Typically, there is one room where you find a toilet and a sink. Something I really had to get used to in China is throwing out the toilet paper. The flushing and suction system of Chinese toilets are not strong, so everyone must throw their toilet paper into a waste basket beside the toilet, or it may get stuck in the pipes. We throw out the bag as often as we can, every secondish day, but I’m still adjusting to this custom. Then, there is a separate room that has the shower and no tub; the water drains through a hole in the floor. I’ve also seen bathrooms that have the sink next to the toilet, with the shower squished between, so the floor is almost always covered with water. For someone like me who hates puddles and getting my feet/socks wet, maybe you can start to see why I adore my bathroom so much.

If I had gotten a bathroom like the ones described above, I would have been able to adjust to it a lot quicker than I’ve been adjusting to public washrooms here in China. I’m going to describe some of the ones I’ve seen, but I to bear warning: Viewer Discretion is advised.

Now, I am generalizing here. I haven’t seen dozens of public bathrooms (mostly because I’ve tried my hardest to avoid them), but the ones I’ve seen have left me frightened, gagging, and furiously sanitizing my hands once I’m out. Public washrooms in China have no westernized toilets. For women, a public washroom usually consists of one or two stalls that contain no toilet at all, but a squatting section on the floor. In my experience, these are almost always disgusting. It really depends on the classiness of the restaurant and how often they clean. People never seem to flush, there are puddles of God knows what on the floor, and the waste basket is usually overflowing, even though there is no public toilet paper in China. Not that I’ve seen, anyway. If any of you ever travel to this side of the world, remember this: Always have Kleenex or napkins in your bag, because you wont find any in a public restroom. The smell is always nose withering as well. Even the washrooms in my school make my nose want to shrivel, retch and die. With 200-300 kids using them daily, the smell of piss and sewage wafts down the halls and sometimes I refuse to have V.I.P. sessions in the room next to them.

And that’s not all. Public washrooms can go as far as being…well…public. I had thought that the little surprises found on the sidewalk had been planted by the many wandering dogs in the city, but then I recall the beautiful summer morning of my birthday. I was strolling the 10 minute walk to school when I looked ahead and there was a woman waiting for her small son, who was in a squat position not 3 feet away from her, taking a huge turd. The woman didn’t seem to mind, nor did any of the locals within seeing distance. This is normal in China. Ever since that day, if I’m walking down the street and spot a brown one on the ground, I wonder to myself if that is actually a dog poo or childs poo. Maybe a mixture, I don’t know! That, mixed with the constant spitting that the locals do, makes walking in China seem like you’re wondering through a dirty obstacle course!

So remember this: If you come to China, bring lots of Kleenex, bring lots of sanitizer, and always look where you’re walking!!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. maryanne
    Jun 29, 2011 @ 09:10:43

    your comments bring back fond memories of china…haha…

    and try to find a tampon!


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