When You’ve Got to Go
There always seems to be some sort of toilet-related story to tell when you live in China. Toilets definitey aren’t my favorite part about China. In fact, they are probably in my top three least favorite things about life here. Thankfully though, there has recently been an update to the restrooms along the coast. This change came during the summer, because of the massive influx of tourists from other Chinese cities. Since we have lived in Qingdao for five years – I now consider Chinese people from other cities the TOURISTS in Qingdao. hahaha, we are certainly not tourist here anymore.
This story is actually from July, but it is still summer here and I’m catching up on posts – so here is it!
The weather looked like it might be decent, so Eli and I took a run along the boardwalk. Barefoot and armed with snacks and “Lambie”, little man was ready to enjoy the view. Mama was dressed for her workout. We were ready to go.
Off We Go!
Everything was going just perfectly – until I started to realize that I needed the toilet. Most of the time, this can be avoided, probably due to the amount of sweat that pours from my body. Unfortunately, I sweat like a hairy man – but in China, considering the toilet-situation, this might be a blessing.
So what’s the big deal with using public Chinese restrooms?
Well, where do I start? They are often quite dirty, there is no toilet paper or hand soap, the stalls are often missing locks and EVEN DOORS, there is often a line going around the block, and of course, they are squatty style toilets. Along the coast, the toilets are often kept cleaner than the ones in the malls, but still, there is quite a dirty feeling in the restrooms. I asked a Chinese friend why there is no toilet paper or soap, and she said that people steal it, so they don’t bother restocking it. WOW!
On this particular day, the toilet wasn’t too dirty, I had my own toilet paper (after a few years – you get used to this one! ALWAYS have tissues on hand) and there was no queue. Fantastic! The problem was that there were tons of people standing along the boardwalk. They all wanted to talk to, and take pictures of Eli. Although I’m sure no one would have harmed him, I couldn’t leave him alone while I went to the toilet. I also couldn’t fit his stroller into the stall. Taking him out of the stroller felt even more complicated.
I jammed the front wheel of his stroller into the door, and then let the plastic “curtain” create a minor distraction. The men’s bathroom stall was right next door, and I could see people as they went inside, but nevertheless, this was the best I could do. It might have helped if people didn’t crowd around the bathroom to talk to Eli. There I was, taking a pee, with faces a few centimeters from mine, a thin plastic sheeting separating us.
We ran for a few kilometers and then stopped to see some friends. The clouds had begun to move over, but it was still a warm day. Eli was thrilled when we stopped and he was able to get down onto the sand!
He is so patient. I know how much he LOVES the sand and water, but he will sit in the stroller for as long as I run for miles and miles. I am so incredibly grateful for him, our amazing stroller, and my ability to do this kind of outdoor exercise.
Thinking that he would fall asleep on our way back home, I packed him some alphabet biscuits, veggie sticks and a few peanut butter and banana wraps. He loves simple food like this. Actually, this is just how I prepare food, so I guess he has to like it!
It was a fun morning on the beach, and as I assumed, Eli fell asleep as I was running home.
I could do this everyday!