More Toilet Tales

Snowy Chinese Doorway

Beautiful old-style Chinese doorway behind my apartment building

We are officially snowed in here today – it started snowing the night before last and started again last nite and its still going today. I’m all giddy with excitement – we’ve never had this much snow in all the winters I have been here! Temperatures are set to go as high(!) as -11C and as low as about -20C, so its looking like a lot of indoor time for the next few days.

I don’t want to get stuck on the toilet theme, but there has been an uncomfortable development in the situation in my office toilets. On my last day there before the holidays, I ended up in the worst cubicle situation – cubicle numbers 2 and 3 (the ones half-covered and fully-covered by the shower curtain) were occupied and I got stuck having to use cubicle 1 – the “no-cover” one. To top it off, my new friends from the beauty parlor were the occupiers of cubicles 2 and 3 and not only did they want to have a good ol’ friendly chat while we were all paying a visit together, but my next-door cubicle mate kept poking her head around the wall to continue the conversation. Awkward to say the least. I was so uncomfortable, I could barely concentrate on what they were saying and had to keep asking them to repeat themeselves, in response to which, the head kept popping round the wall more and more often.

The Bell Tower, Beijing

The Bell Tower, Beijing, by night. This is the view from just outside Jiangjinjiu Bar and to the other side is the Drum Tower. Standing outside the bar looking at these two amazing structures reminds me of one of the many reasons I love this city so much.

This is obviously just a huge cultural gap and contrasts greatly with a situation I found myself in with a good friend on a visit to the toilet together. We’d gone to watch my boyfriend’s gig at Jiangjinjiu Bar (a local bar near the Drum Tower), and, being a local bar, it didn’t have its own toilet. On entering the local toilet, we realised it was truly local, in that, the squat toilets were spread around the three walls of the room with each simply divided by a waist-high wall and no doors, so that, as soon as we walked in, we could see a girl sitting on the toilet. As I turned to my friend to discuss what we were going to do, I saw the door closing behind her as she hightailed it out of there and yelled out to me, “That’s ok, you go first, I’ll wait outside!!”. Needless to say, the local girl already on the toilet didn’t bat an eyelid or seem horrified by the situation in the way that we were. I’ve since learnt that its best to go to the bathroom alone at that bar!

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  1. Posted January 7, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    So glad your blog is back, Susie. I have missed it. Love the toilet update. More snow pictures please!

  2. Posted January 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Julia, its good to be back!

    Its been so so so cold lately that I’ve barely been able to stop and take my gloves off to take any photos :( Snow is so nice when you’re indoors, but freezing and slippery the minute you get outside! But I’m still fascinated by it.

    I’m hoping to go to the Forbidden City next time it snows and get photos there – I think it would be really beautiful.

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