my travels around the world


If you can’t guess from the title, this post is going to be about bathrooms. I am not pulling any punches and it may tend toward a bit overly honest and open for some people. If you don’t want to read it, don’t. If you do want to read, click below.

I have been in many types of bathrooms. Some very nice, some that aren’t. I have used backyards, bus station bathrooms with hip hight walls, troughs to pee and poop in, ditches on the side of the road (and here I mean that this is the sanctioned bath”room” not just randomly stopping to pee). I even used one bath”room” that I have to draw a picture to really explain:

There were signs for men and women on either side of a gas station. When you went around behind the cement ended, that was the mens “room.” About 50 feet on the other side of an open pit was the ladies “room.” as the men stood there peeing the only view was of ladies doing their business.

One of my favorite signs that one often finds finds above the urinals in men’s rooms (I assume it is not in women’s rooms but I am not totally sure…)


It roughly translates:

One small step to the front

One big step for civilization

Or be civilized and pee closer to the urinal.

So it is hard to find a bathroom that surprises me. But I did find something I had never seen before in Guangzhou.

One note before I explain: it is very common in Chinese bathrooms for the whole space to be tiled with a drain and the shower head to be sticking out of the wall. You shut the door of the bathroom, maybe close a curtain separating the toilet and sink from the showering area and take your shower. This was the style of bathroom in every Chinese dorm I have stayed in and quite a few other places I have stayed.

The hostel in Guangzhou was a take on this idea. But instead of a bathroom with a door, it was two stalls at the end of the hall.

Looks like a normal bathroom:

But open the door…

and the one right next to it was the same. There was a grate that you placed over the squatter and the toilet doubled as the main drain. Now this was new but not too strange, until both stalls were in use at the same time. Squatting and doing ones business while someone in the next stall over is showering and the water in splashing up under the divider and getting one wet is a new experience. And one I think that I could safely say I don’t particularly want to experience again.



2 responses

  1. Thanks for this post Colinski (and the warning). “One small step to the front. One big step for civilization” Great quote – can be applied to many situations. Safe travels my friend. Jessica

    2012/06/28 at 09:43

  2. whereischan

    One of my former students told me about these…he told me that he went #2 while taking a shower.

    2012/07/05 at 12:18

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