Upon deciding to move to China I thought of one thing that would be completely incompatible with my idea of civilized society: going to the bathroom in public. I was warned by many people that in China just whip it out and relieve themselves. Having lived in China for a month now in a small village, I can confirm that this was not the case at all. People were very reserved in their actions, and despite the odd habits of the Male China Belly Syndrome, there was no squatting in the streets.
Until last night. It was no more than 24 hours from the moment I thought: “Wow, nobody here goes to the bathroom in the streets like I was told. Great!” There I was, coming home from my daily gym routine at about 21:00 and walking through the commercial plaza to my place of residence when I see a group of five men walking towards me. I took notice because they were young and the demographics of where I live are predominantly older.
They veered off to the right and were very well dressed so I figured they were going out for night on the town. Well within my view one of them went off into the corner, squatted down and in front of about 100 people took a shit. Excuse my language, but it was horrifying. All of my comfort of living in China was shattered at that moment, and what was even worse is that he didn’t even wipe up; he just continued on his way and pulled up his pants.
Shocking – I know. I was always surprised at how well the Chinese can squat (they can even keep their heels on the ground – unlike me). Now I know why, and despite it not being a widespread stereotype, I at least now know it happens.
This must be why here and there you get a funky smell of something – peeeuw!