On being female and dealing with loos
I will excuse you if you decide to miss out this section of the blog, but when you are a ‘well-bred’ western female with geriatric knees, the need to use squat loos plays heavily on the mind. At home I have an ensuite and a bidet (a bit spoilt, I hear you say) so I am used to my home comforts. The Lord provided men well to cope with the use of eastern privies, but I’m not so sure about us women.
Imagine Anne and I side by side in the women’s side of a service station toilet stop. If we stretch out our elbows we can touch each other. Our feet are firmly planted each side of the pit beneath each of us (you can see the rubbish dump and the area beyond) – we don’t want to fall in – and we are both squatting. I won’t bore or embarrass you with more details. At least this time we are on our own, as the previous day we had a local woman in the next door pit!
Oh, the joys of travelling out back! So far the hotels in China have all had western style toilets, but we look forward with a certain amount of trepidation to the Stans. One thing is that it provides Anne and I with a frequent subject of conversation – the state of cleanliness or otherwise, whether the flush works (it often doesn’t), the other patrons. At least the Chinese don’t charge you to use their public loos.
Most public amenities at tourist places are Asian style squat ones and are usually clean. In Xian we found that cubicles with a wheelchair sign on the door would be western style – there was actually no way you could fit a wheelchair in, but they provided us well. Since Xian, disabled toilets have been locked – for some reason we are not allowed access to them.
This nation is wonderful at building modern motorways and city skyscrapers, but when it comes to plumbing and maintenance of waterworks, things seem to fall down. Any unemployed NZ plumbers looking for work? Again and again we have found the road side service stops have hand basins but no running water with which to wash your hands. Oh, the joys . . .
Anne and I have both come to China armed with a shewee each. If you don’t know what a shewee is, google it and expand your education. They do work – the secret is to relax enough to make their use worthwhile! On the subject of men and toilets, on the one occasion that Martin has had to use a squat loo, he couldn’t decide which way to face, and I am fairly sure he was facing the wrong way!
Next time I promise to be much more dignified.