China. The Happy Room

9th October 2012

And so today we venture into China! Goodbye Hong Kong, we like you a lot.

After packing up and checking out of the hotel we all piled into taxis and made our way to the train station for our overnight journey to Guilin.

The Shenzen station gave most of the group our first taste of a “happy room”. Jing had earlier explained a few of the local customs and said that Chinese people prefer to call the toilet the happy room because it makes you feel happy after you’ve been.

If you don’t want to know about squat loos, or to know what one looks like, here is your opportunity to move away from this page. It’s about to get personal.

So the idea of a happy room sounds nice enough, until you actually need to go. In fact, we ladies were mostly happy when we managed to:

  1. not put our feet in anything,
  2. have our bags drop on the floor (no hooks) – doesn’t bear thinking about really,
  3. remember to take our own paper (none provided), and
  4. have the necessities over with as quickly as possible.

It didn’t take us long before we worked out a grading system for the facilities and we did come across some pretty impressive 5 star loos (complete with warm water and air jets built into the seats, at the Panda breeding centre), down to -5 star which could be found just about anywhere.

It was always good sport for us to find a happy room then come back out and report our findings to the others. Extra points if there was also a western style loo.

That bin in the corner is not for hand towels.

Most of the public toilets had attendants wandering around with mop and bucket. And its a good idea not to think too much about that basket lurking in the corner.

Chinese bathrooms can pose some challenges, but you get used to them and then they really just aren’t a big deal.

I must say that by the end of the trip I didn’t mind at all, and I was grateful that I’d kept up my Yoga classes…… maybe a bit too much information, but that’s what happens on a trip like this.

Dave doesn’t mind me mentioning that he managed to avoid this charming cultural exercise for the entire trip. Men always get it easier don’t they girls?

OK now that’s got that subject out of the way so I’ll just get on with the better bits.  Stay tuned.

 

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