Saturday, June 25, 2005

I Have Found Our 1st "Squatty Potty" in China

....on a moving train.

For those of you who have never traveled to Asia before, you will most likely encounter that unplesant fixture known as "The Squatty Potty" at some point in your journey. The porcelain commode that we are used to seeing in our homes and public toilets everywhere are referred to in the East as "Western Toilets". The Squatty Potty is exactly what it sounds like: a hole in the floor, often oblong or teardrop shaped, over which you squat and do your business. If you're a guy, and your mission is #1 - no problem. If you're a girl, or your mission is #2...things could get ugly- literally. For women, the challenge is not to pee in your shoe or all over your pants (which is why many women wear skirts). For the guys, your challenge is to aim into the hole...and if you miss- oh well! that's going to be somebody else's problem.

Which is probably why the we could easily describe the train's Potty as less than sanitary. Filthy, disgusting and vile are more appropriate. When I opened the door to the Potty, the floor was covered with pee, and it looked like the walls in back of the Potty had taken some hits as well. The Potty does not flush, and it's shallow hole was already stuffed full of toilet paper. This left me in a quandry: it's difficult enough to pull your pants & undies down far enough not to pee into them or your shoe, but how to keep them from touching the pee soaked floor at the same time??? There was no help for it- they would have to come off. So I carefully removed my shorts one leg at a time making sure I didn't touch the inside with the now totally disgusting soles of my shoes. Then I repeted this with the underware. I was now standing half naked on a speeding train inside of a filthy compartment the size of a phone booth, and I realized that there was no safe surface on which to set these items that I didn't fear would leave them covered with bacteria and probably cause me to contract 7 venerial diseaeses simultaneously. So I put them on my head. At least I knew where that had been. I then put my years of expensive ballet training (thanks Mom) to good use by assuming a nice 2nd position, plie'ing over the Squatty Potty, and using the facilities without peeing in my shoe!

When I had finished, I reached over and gave the toilet paper a well practiced yank. Unfortunately, it was not actually attached to a spindle and it rolled right out of its holder, bounced merrily into three pee puddles as it crossed the floor, and came to rest right in the middle of the Squatty Potty. I sighed. I tore off the dry piece still attatched to my hand in mid air, tidied up, and left the roll right where it was.

That would have to be somebody else's problem.


Barbara Park said...

Oh Michelle,
I laughed so hard when I read your Squatty Potty experience. I could not have done it. Maybe I am too old, but I like my modern conveniences. Hope all is well with you and Jeff. Love you both.
Love, Mom

Alan, Lila and Katie said...

Absolutely hilarious, and absolutely true. I been dere....

I love your writings, and am living vicariously again, the great China Journey.

I wish you well, and keep rested as much as possible.

Alan Berris G88

Smiley2398 said...

Wow, I don't think I could do that! I don't know if I could hold it though. That is a tricky situation.

Donna said...

Nearly three years later, I'm still pointing people at this hillarious post. This is one of the funniest things I've ever read. And sooooo true too!



Christina said...

Got here from Donna's blog and got such a great laugh from this post.

We have not yet travelled to China, but I will certainly remember that I "know where my head has been" when I'm looking for a safe place to hang my shorts.