Thursday, June 18, 2009

bathroom matters

I've thought about whether to post this but keep coming back to being so very thankful we live in America. Kelly's Korner is hosting a 'tour of homes' and this week it has been about the bathrooms. I sometimes grumble when I enter a public restroom and try to make our children wait until we get home to go to the bathroom (aren't they sometimes sooo nassssty?)

My perspective changed one day in Central China as we were visiting our daughters finding spot. We were in a group of about 6 families traveling about 2 hours outside of the capitol of Hubei China. As far as China was concerned, it was a "small village" of several million. On the way back to our hotel, the bus made a stop. It was a bathroom break. As you could imagine, everyone was thankful for the stop... until we walked into the bathroom.

This is what we saw:

The smell was beyond anything I could ever describe. After walking in, I simply couldn't bring myself to go further. I returned to our van without participating in the rural China squat potty experience. Dave on the other hand decided he would participate and to make matters worse, the water from the sink was filthy. It was a brown murky color with another kind of odor, and of course no soap, towels etc.. (or toilet paper)

Prior to this, we were at a popular tourist spot a few days before and I thought I lucked out when a local sandwich shop had a public restroom! It was a unisex one, but hey... The sandwich shop reminded me of a Chinese Panera Bread and was relatively clean looking from the seating area. Well,, I walked to the back and down a narrow hallway. Once again, there was "that odor". I opened the bathroom door and was feeling the wall for a light switch. Suddenly I realized I was standing in the dark and felt something squishy under my shoes. It was a 1/2 inch or more of human waste from the overflow of the facility. It made me so queasy that when we got back to the hotel, I took off my shoes in the lobby and threw them in the garbage can.

Maybe this is where the custom of taking off your shoes at the door in Asia came from?!

I noticed from the very beginning of entering China that there was an unpleasant odor throughout most of the outdoor areas we walked around. It seemed to be everywhere - in every Province we visited. I suddenly realized why:

I can't say I blame anyone for not using the public restrooms in China! :)

When we experience the comfort of our home bathrooms and enjoy the warm clean water of a shower in the morning, I often reflect back to our time in China and remember the most basic things are extreme luxuries to many others in the world we live in.


Susan Stevenson said...

What an interesting entry. I "knew" about the bathroom facilities in other countries, but your photos really bring the stories to life. I can't even imagine. Like you, I would have held it as long as possible, and would have rather found a bush, than use the facilities!

Mom Of Many said...

Oh my gracious! That bathroom ranks with the most disgusting I have ever seen!! Wow!

I often think, when seeing a "modern" restroom like that that the woods would be so much finer. We saw men regularly (dressed in full suits) that were "neow-neowing" on the side of the full view...ugh.

Funny, but I had just downloaded yesterday a picture of a toilet to use on my next week Thankful Thursday post..(wanting to get ahead of the game with my kids arriving for the upcoming wedding)...anyway.....thanking the LOrd for my clean bathroom when we were going from both ends....oh thank you Jesus!!

tiffany said...

Nine weeks total in China so far and I have never had to use the Chinese style bathrooms. :) I love all things China...except those "bathrooms"!

Barbie said...

Oh the memories. I have had to use a squatty potty a time or two while in China and while they were not 'clean' thankfully they weren't that bad!! I def would have walked out the door too!! We are so blessed here and take so much for granted. It truly is amazing how often I reflect back on my time in China as I am going about my day now. I appreciate the little things so much more.