Floor Toilet Confusion

Trip Start May 24, 2010
Trip End Jun 11, 2010

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Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jet lag is starting to hit us all. Jeramiah and Chuck (our professors) both woke up at 3a.m wired to go. My roommate Lyla and I woke up a couple times during the night and were up and ready at 5:30a.m. Everyone seems to be getting tired mid-day but we have been making the best of it and pushing to stay up for as long as possible. Each meal is funnier than the next. You can tell our tiredness is kicking in, especially tonight at dinner because we were laughing at the slightest things almost as if we were drunk.

For the love of toilet paper

This may seem like a silly topic but I'm mind boggled by the bathrooms here. If you look at the video I posted yesterday you’ll see what I’m talking about. We’ve come to find that these toilets are more common than we thought. The guys don’t have a problem with it but I can speak for all of us girls when I say each time we need to use the bathroom we are strongly hoping for a toilet that is a couple feet from the ground. These toilets are literally porcelain holes in the floor and leave me puzzled every time I see one. I want to ask what the proper way is to use one but Christine thinks she’s figured it out so I’ll avoid possibly offending someone and just go with her common sense and reasoning. Other than the toilets, it is also common that public restrooms don’t have soap or toilet paper. (Us girls have learned to carry our own lol) The reasoning for this is because people will steal them out of the bathroom. The Chinese don’t seem to mind so I’m going to do my best to adopt that mindset.  So far this is the biggest difference I’ve seen from American culture and as strange as this seems I am so confused by it and could honestly right a whole page about my feelings. I’ll spare you all the details but I’m not going to lie, I was very reluctant to use these toilets but you can only hold out for so long. I give much credit to the Chinese women, using the floor toilet is almost like mastering a skill, it takes cognitive thinking, body strength, balance and practice if you get my gist. : 0

On a lighter note:

We went to a couple different art galleries today, most of them in downtown Shanghai. It’s like the Soho of China and it is absolutely beautiful there. I have pictures for you all to see how green and lively it is but when I look back at my photos it saddens me that you may not feel the radiance I felt from being wrapped in it all.

Random Thoughts and One Line Experiences of Today:

When the Chinese decide where to eat out for dinner and finally decide do they say, "Let’s have Chinese?" I seriously asked my professor this; he doesn’t know the answer.

We often hear in America that Chinese people are the worst drivers. I beg to differ. They are the most aggressive and aware drivers I have ever seen, with a reaction time that allows them to stop 1cm from a walking person, biker or another vehicle EVERYTIME about EVERY 10seconds. I think they drive with their hand on the horn and their foot on the brake because they expect to get cut off.. we should learn from them; they’re experts!

The government has ban Facebook and Youtube. No comment.

“What’s and aimer?”- Jeramiah

WC is the international word for bathroom.

When Wendy (our translator and trip coordinator) says something is not spicy.. it’s spicy.

I giggled inside when Caroline asked Jackson (Wendy’s brother and artist) if she could have his autograph and he said, “Later.”  She put her head down and walked away. We laughed after about how awkward it was.

I’m using an adapter that says “Caution do not use with computers.”  Yes I’m using it with my computer at this moment.

To Come:

Tomorrow we’ll be leaving the big city. I’m hoping to have internet in these small villages but If I don’t I will keep writing until I can post again. I’m planning to have each student on the trip do a web cam video so If you’re reading to follow one of us, stay posted so you can hear it and see it from their them!

p.s Thanks for commenting the last one... if you want to say anything to anyone of the trip please go ahead and comment and I'll relay they message!

Kate : )
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Brent Sears on

Wow! Great job writing. The food looks amazing! I can't wait to see what you all do when you are in the rural areas!

Lee Ann on

Kate the food actually looks quite appetizing...so far! the toilets in Europe were wierd too i have several pics of them b.c i was amazed also! lol hope u continue to get internet im soo happy u were able to blog thanks for emaiing me!! love u soo much be safe! xoxox

Jackie Scherer on

you must send this link to the entire family tell your mom to email it around its great.... I'm so sorry to hear about your toilet situation over there I give you mad props for getting through it. Have an AmaZing time and enjoy yourself.

Carolyn's mom on

Kate, thank you so much for your excellent commentary and pictures of your trip. Please tell Carolyn that we miss her even though we can see her in your pictures and can read the fascinating details of the trip. All of you stay safe and healthy and have a great time!

Danielle Dunne on

Ahh kate! you look like ur having soo much fun :) have fun peeing on the floor haha wish i was thereeeee :(

Kristi on

You look like you had an amazing trip! Im jealous! I've always wanted to go there!! You are quite the story teller too....Hilarious! Well good luck with the trip back home!

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