Monday, November 20, 2006


There was a thread of this title on the, now late-lamented, TalkTalkChina. In it people reeled off tales of terrible toilets (of which China has many). God knows, the public toilets in our building are particularly rank and malodorous.

When my boss visited China, one of the best things to happen was for him to see the public toilets "swimming with piss" (his words) and to let me build some private toilets for our company. Our toilets have cleanliness, translucent windows rather than transparent, aircon, hot water and soap to wash your hands with, and paper towels. The public loos have none of these.

I had thought the public loos were typically fairly bad - there is at least one guy on our floor (not one of ours) - I don't know why he bothers even standing in front of the urinal because he then proceeds to unload directly onto the floor so that it runs backwards between his feet (nice slope for drainage) all the way across the room and into the floor drain.

Faced with that, it's hard to imagine that things could get much worse but... They're refurbishing the toilets at the moment and this weekend they were on our floor replacing the pipework in the ceiling of our toilets that serve the floor above. You might imagine that they'd have drained said pipework before they started but...

I've just popped into the loos on the floor below ours and went quickly through "wow, the stench is worse than normal", "how can anyone pee onto the top of the urinal?", "hang on, there's pee on top of all the urinals", "uh-oh - it's not just pee".

Looking up at the ceiling all I could see were hundreds of liquid droplets, all poised to fall. One has never finished one's business so hurriedly...

If there's an outbreak of Cholera on the second floor, at least we'll know why.

1 comment:

HistoryElephant said...

The public toilets were certainly public, with the single door (to the communal hand-washing and soggy old bits of green tea disposal area) always open on your right and the window (to let in refreshing, freezing cold particulate-laden air) always open on your left.

Didn't we almost lose someone as he slipped on the piss-soaked floor towards the open window?

Why did we bother when, for the price of a cup of tea, you could use the comfortable western-style toilets down in the 5th Avenue restaurant with piped-music and toilet paper?

Do any Chinese people suffer from toilet-related phobias?