The tale of two toilets

On the road to the Great Wall of China today from Beijing deserves a special mention. Not because of any amazing scenery along the way, or friendships struck, but because I had a uniquely interesting toilet experience.

It’s a 3 hour drive from downtown Beijing to JinshanLing, the part of the Great wall that we were touring, and 2 hours into the trip our guide announced a quick toilet stop and 15 minute break to stretch our legs.

We pulled over into this large, main road, petrol station, and having a real dislike for waiting in lines, I quickly scooted off the bus ahead of the other 10 women competing for what we were told were only two female toilets.

I reached the ladies cubical with only 1 girl ahead of me in the line. Ugh, I have to wait. This was almost unbearable as the stench of the place burned much like how my kitty litter would smell if I left it for a week (I have 2 cats). Thinking this would be good practice for what I would have to deal with in India, I stuck it out by concentrating on the crack in the bathroom mirror, not making eye contact, and keeping my mouth closed.

There was a curtain covering the entry into the toilet cubical, and after a couple of minutes, a chinese national popped out with a surprised ‘Aya!’ at the line of strange foreigners waiting to use the facilities. She was wearing a yellow shirt I recognised as the uniform of the staff at the petrol station. Turning her head back towards the toilets, she calls out to her remaining friend something in chinese, which I imagine was ‘Hey, there are a lot of ladies needing to take a piss out here, hurry up!’

Waily, the Singaporean girl first in line, stepped into the cubicle while I waited and prayed that she would be a fast shooter. I really needed to pee now, and had included silently counting the tiles to my method of sustaining

Finally I hear the sweet sound of a flush and, unexpectedly, it was Waily who came out first.

‘ There are no doors’ she says to me, code like, in passing.

Hmm, no doors hey, no problem, it’s not like anyone was going to come in knowing there were already 2 toilets in use right?

I stepped into the cubical and froze, the vision before me stinging like a slap in the face. There were no doors. There were no dividing walls. There were no curtains. There wasn’t even a shrub. What it was was a single square tiled room with two toilet holes placed in the ground, side by side, and perched above one of the holes was another female staff member taking a dump.

She looked quite comfortable, like she had been perched there bird-like for hours. Arse bare, squatting, texting on her mobile phone, looking up at me standing there, her nonchalant expression saying ‘What?’.

I did a quick assessment of the pain in my bladder, took into account the stench in the room, and imagined myself bare assed next to this girl who could so casually crap and text in public. . . I decided that my pain barrier would hold, and I did not have to subject myself to this kind of shit. At least not today.

Making a quick escape, I burst out of there calling ‘There are no walls’ to my fellow tour mates waiting in line, while still hopeful that I hadn’t offended the girl by not accepting the throne beside her -it wasn’t personal.

I smiled appreciatively at Waily as I got back onto the bus. She did try to warn me, and she had been strong enough to handle the shit that I couldn’t. Much respect.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. fx4x
    Aug 04, 2010 @ 17:52:27

    your having good post


  2. Jax
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 04:40:50

    I am in stitches. You are a wonderfully engaging storyteller. xo


  3. Mark
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 07:06:53

    You should have bought one of those iPooed shovels, built especially for that purpose.


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