Going to China you expect a certain amount of culture shock; but using the restroom anywhere public felt like being on a different planet. Here are some things I came to find about the bathrooms in China.
- Going to the restroom isn’t necessarily a private thing. While in China, there were several times where nature came calling in public and I made my way to the restroom only to find open stalls with no doors and hardly a wall to separate each stall. This may be standard for men, but as a woman, I had never seen a stranger pee while I was peeing.
- A toilet isn’t always a toilet. Finding a regular good old fashioned toilet in public in China was a feat. I can recall only one time where I wasn’t presented with a porcelain hole in the floor and told it was a toilet. Squatting with no splash became an art form.
- Don’t expect toilet paper. The only thing harder to find than a regular toilet was toilet paper! Stalls never had their own toilet paper repository. And if you were lucky enough to have a restroom with toilet paper, it was at the entrance before heading into the stall and often times empty. Note to travelers, bring your own travel sized Charmin if you plan on wiping.
- Be nice to the attendant. Whenever there was an attendant in the bathroom, they determined how much toilet paper you received. It pays to be nice to them if you want to remain dry after doing your business.
- The men’s restroom is always free. While it is common around the world that the men’s room is always a shorter line than the women’s, only in China was I able to get in and out of the men’s room with no strange looks or questioning when the women’s line was impossibly long. And to top it off, they had a real 3D toilet!