Oriental Adventures: The Chinese Chamber Of Torment

One thing I'm proud of is not being a white bastard when abroad. I may be paler than a vampire addicted to World of Warcraft, and only slightly less obviously foreign than a french-speaking Martian, but I make an effort. I don't shout english at people in the hope they'll understand, I don't insist on chefs cooking nameable body parts for me, and I don't choke more than absolutely unavoidable when arriving in a new city and adapting to the regional petrochemical/oxygen mixture.

Which is why I hate how one stereotypical complaint has been forced on me. An old injury has left me unable to bend my left ankle and therefore unable to use the goddamn stone-age aberrations that are Chinese toilets.

Even in the fanciest restaurant, you are not safe. You always run the risk of encountering one of these bloody holes in the ground when you are least equipped to go somewhere else. It may be a beautifully appointed hole in the ground, paved with porcelain and equipped with motion-sensitive flush action, but the fact remains that hidden in the midst of the modern world this is a fucking pit in the dirt - as the first neanderthal might have scooped from the raw earth with his hairy hand, before neglecting to wipe and clubbing something to death. All the modern features are just to show off,a s if to say "Yes, we know all about modern advances and have decided that it's more fun to make you squat like an animal."

They do thoughtfully provide a pole to hold onto, making it the absolute least sexy pole anyone has ever clung to while peeling off their pants (an anti-stripper-pole, if you will). Unless you're me, in which case the only way to conceivably use the "convenience" is to brace yourself firmly against the walls. On a list of surfaces I'm prepared to press my hands firmly against, the walls of a public toilet are right at the bottom, only above "Napalm that has actually been ignited" and "The tonsils of a hungry crocodile."

People do use these things. If you're fortunate enough to visit a tourist attraction where the bathroom water has failed you'll see mountains of evidence, no matter how quickly you try to close the stall door in disgust. It's not as if porcelain is some rare imported material. From all the crap stuffed into the souvenir shops it's clear that it's only marginally more expensive than swearing.

Without question the worst offenses against your orifice are train toilets. A small wobbling chamber, as you cling to the pole you're shaking left and right over regular size toilet hole, like the absolute worst banner flash ad in existence. "Click on the hole to not create a disgusting mess!" In many trains the entire chamber is floored with metal for ease of cleaning. The fact that metal is amazingly slippy when lubricated with water (or water-like fluids) does not seem to occur to them.

This is real example of not seeing the root of the problem - when you find that the bathroom continually fills with human waste, you should think "Is there some design of toilet that puts more than few inches of dip between the effluent and the rest of the room?" I recommend you don't think "Let's build a vibrating chamber of metal torment, lubricated with the waste of strangers, where every second is a battle againt immersion in effluvia."

Everyone except Japanese TV executives and, apparently, Chinese train designers would agree with me.

3 comments:

Zagadka said...

Yea, I'm all as open about foreign cultures and their practices etc... but if there is one god damn thing you're going to import, can it please be "a device to sit on solidly while defecating and then move said material away"? Or at least a porta-potty? A plastic airplane toilet that just ineffectively sucks for a few seconds?

Anonymous said...

Hey did you see that loon Cynthia Mckinney trying to help the people of palestine? What a crazy broad! What a nutter!

You ass.

sober-irish-guy said...

Oh God...
1. long time no see
2. I was in China for a month. The toilets were the second worst part. The worst part was being on a bus from Beijing to... some-northern-city about 8 hours away from Beijing after waiting for 2 hours since there were no trains and after a flight from Amsterdam to Beijing (about 36 hours spent from Ireland to Hotel).

Man... I think I managed to avoid using those type of toilet for everything except urination. I cannot bend enough with stability to use them.