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!

2 comments:

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.

http://veronicarose.com/21/cussing-censorship-and-squat-toilets/

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.