Monday, May 15, 2006

My Worst Nightmare

For almost 7 months I have dreaded the prospect of this - having to use a Chinese “hole in the floor toilet”. I have always made sure that I was not experiencing any intestinal discomfort or else I was in close proximity to my safety-zone of western-style commodes: my apartment, work, 5 star hotels, etc. in the event that I got in one of those “situations”.

But this weekend, a little too far from my safety-zones and a little bit too much spicy Sichuan food, my worst nightmare finally came true — I had to use a Chinese “hole in the floor” toilet. I won’t go into the “graphic” details but I had one of those occasions where “nature called” (actually demanded is a better word) and a good-old, western-style, sit-down commode was not within trotting distance.

Having never been trained in the fine art of “squatting” this proved to be a real comedy-of-errors. Also being short, middle-aged and overweight didn’t help either.

Fortunately, I did not end up flat on my rear-end on the floor, but other parts of the activity could certainly have landed a spot on “China’s Funniest Home Videos”. Also fortunate was that I have adopted the Chinese practice of taking a pack of tissues everywhere I go. I never understood this practice when I first came here. Most of the times these are needed at the Chinese restaurants because if they provide napkins they charge you for them. Now I FULLY understand why tissues are an everyday essential part of life in China.

So, if you plan on visiting Asia, or even some European countries, I suggest some deep-knee bend and squatting exercises before you arrive and don’t forget to buy several packs of tissues. You and the paper manufacturers in China will be glad you did!


Rodney Olsen said...

I've been to India a couple of times and have only needed to 'squat' once. Thankfully I had something handy for wiping. :)

Veronica said...

I have never understood what I consider to be the illogical fear of squat toilets that so many westerners have. I live in India and I wrote about the squat toilets in my own journal.

If anyone reads that can you please explain to me what I'm not understanding that makes squat toilets so horrid. I just don't get it.