Wednesday, August 11, 2010


There is great interest in the toilets of our country. For that reason, I have been collecting toilet pictures for some time, and have decided that this is as good a time as any to share them! Some of the most fascinating toilets I have been in have been so crowded with people in various states of undress that I have not been able to take pictures. Other times, I just have not had a camera with me. So this is a small sampling for you education!

This is your standard public toilet. Somewhat clean, a little exposed, and VERY stinky. It is a trough, built on a slope. You squat over it, and your waste (theoretically) slides down the slope into, um, somewhere. Since it doesn’t have a door, and the average Chinese person has never seen a white person’s behind, we usually get quite the crowd around us observing our technique.

I actually don’t mind this one too much, as you do not have to put your feet in waste that has missed the hole. It is a little hard for children to use, as you can imagine. Zoe isn’t exactly afraid of this one, but she is cautious :)

Here we have a “porta-squatty”. I don’t actually run into these that often, but this one was out near a lake we visited. I don’t really have much to say, other than, this is the second-grossest portable toilet I have ever encountered. The first grossest was in San Francisco. It was just as full as this one was, but, I squatted on that one just as I did on the one in SF ;) And we will just leave it at that.

A common phenomenon in public toilets in China is that the plumbing is so old, and the pipes so narrow in diameter that solid waste can not pass through it. So most places ask that you not gift them with your #2. This toilet politely stated this request in, um, well, this kind of language (and if you are offended, and think this in poor taste, well, I DID label this post TOILETS).

This is a highway gas station toilet. They are rank, and usually very dirty, but they DO usually have flush toilets, and the adjoining shop has lots of tasty fermented snack to keep you kids cheerful until the next pit stop!

This is another standard public toilet. This one flushes. Often the porcelain is coated in a thick slimy sludge of, well, stuff, but this one was nice and clean. I usually close my eyes and imagine myself on a grassy plain. If I am taking a little kids, I squat behind it and hold the child in my arms so they don’t get their feet in all the crud. This flush type of toilet is less intimidated for children than the trough kind!

This is by far the most surprising toilet I have come across. It was at a VERY touristy type of place. But still left me rather confused. Hey, at least they tried, right?!!!! This is the toilet I have seen in China that made allowances for children. I have never seen a toilet with a changing table, that is for sure!!!

Just for good measure, I have included the above picture of Esther exploring the squatty in our own home.
And a picture of our entire family’s preferred place to relieve ourselves while traveling around China. The GREAT OUTDOORS!!!!!!

Oh, and BTW, none of these toilets will provide you with toilet paper, OR soap. SO make sure, if you visit us, you always have a Kleenex packet in your pocket when we go out. And a nice bottle of hand sanitizer in your other pocketJ


Erin said...

Very enlightening! Thanks for sharing! Your humor and making light of such subjects makes me smile! Love ya!

rosebark said...

Thank you for enlightening us :)
I say that one only needs three things to travel:
Ear plugs
Toilet paper.

The rest is negotiable.

Laura Camacho said...

Fun! We had a lot of those types (minus the trough) in Greece. I actually don't mind the squatties, as long as they are not UNISEX. Guys just are not as good at aiming.

When I was at university in England, there were so many kids from Africa who had never encountered western toilets, and the deans would have to teach them not to perch on top of them like squatties! At the beginning of the year, there was always a nasty messy learning curve. :D

mama said...

Ah...the memories! Love, mama

annie4jesus said...

The "No Shi**ing" sign totally made me laugh. :)