China Rant: Shitsville

08:21 Paul Robinson 0 Comments

WARNING - do not read this if you are faint-hearted or eating your lunch

Going to the toilet in China is one of the most amusing, disgusting and downright bizarre experiences you can have out here. Despite having the world's second largest economy, China is essence still a developing country. This is most evident in the bathroom.

First of all, 'bathroom' is a bit of a misleading name for what is basically a stinking hole in the ground. The standard decor of a Chinese bathroom consists of a hole to squat over, an overflowing bin of shit-stained tissues and an odour so vile it reaches down your throat and wrenches your stomach. Doors, running water and tissue paper must be considered as decadent western influences, because they are nonexistent.

Admittedly, I am a clean-freak and I tried to avoid pinching a loaf in public, but its unavoidable. I'd never used a squatty-potty before and when my time came, I really wished I'd done my research. Luckily I broke my squattie-cherry at a Buddhist temple, where that actually give a shit about hygiene. As I lowered my backside over the poo-trough, pants around my ankles, I really didn't know what to expect. I felt off balance and this is the one place you don't want to fall over. It just felt wrong to start squeezing whilst I wasn't sat on a toilet but the longer I waited there, the more chance of someone coming in and seeing in this ridiculous position. I engaged the motions. It happened. I didn't die of shame and I didn't ruin my clothes. I'd survived. But my calves were killing me though and I had to stand up to reduce the ache. Then I realised I'd opened some primitive gateway to my bowels that had previously lain dormant. Let's just say the weather was torrential. I also thanked Buddha I'd only been eating rice and vegetables during my stay at the temple.

A squattie is a truly bizarre experience for me and the Chinese are equally bewildered by a proper throne. Starbucks is the one place in China where you can guarantee a proper potty. The walls are covered with stick-man diagrams and warnings about not falling off. I can't imagine what goes through a Chinese person's mind as they squat precariously on top of a toilet seat and drop their guts. Actually, I know exactly what they are thinking - "Dammit, there's a bit of the seat I didn't manage to smear."
Pooing is inevitable for humans, whether you are from Sheffield or Shanghai. Evidently though, the Chinese 'call of nature' is a strong one. The sight of a grown man shitting in the street is not unusual and seeing children piss down staircases or into rubbish bins is a daily occurrence. If this was some impoverished village in the jungle I'd understand but it isn't. This is China, a country with 5,000 years of civilization which they are forever banging on about. Obviously it didn't do anything to advance public decency. Jinan has Porsche showrooms and numerous Louis Vuitton stores; people should not be pooing in public. The worse time (and the time which prompted me to write this rant) was when I saw a man have a poo outside the bins of our apartment complex. Once he'd finished, he just picked up his shopping bags and walked to the lift to take him home to his apartment. WTF CHINA?!

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