By Elena Garcia

Slit baby pantsBodily fluids… are probably one of the hardest things for me to talk about. They are gross and have no place being out in the open. Which is probably why people use private stalls in secluded restrooms, and why people are made to feel shamed if they pick their nose and why MOST people refrain from spitting everywhere.

But as you may predict the rules that I was once accustomed to no longer apply here in China.

People squat on the floor to pee, they make magnificent noises when they are hocking up a loogie, and they flick their boogers onto the shoes of passer bys.

At this point I’ve seen everything and heard everything. I’ve seen a woman clipping her fingernails on the metro, I’ve heard of babies squatting and taking a dump on the side of the road. (They have pants with slits that run along the crotch to allow kids to pee and poop anywhere, at any time. Talk about Skid Marks!) I’ve also heard that the mother of the above mentioned child used a tissue to pick up her child’s poop and then put that poop filled tissue in her purse. I’ve seen grown men pick their nose and examine the results. I’ve seen spit that requires medical attention but yet I have never seen anyone NOT cover their mouths when using a toothpick.

It is rude and disgusting, in Chinese culture, to use a toothpick openly. So if you require a toothpick you must cover your mouth while using it, so no one can see what you’re doing. But pooping, that’s okay!

The way it was explained to me by our tutor Grace is that everyone poops, everyone clips their nails but not everyone has food stuck in their teeth, thus making it gross to pick their teeth. Logic is different here too!

My co-worker tells me stories of finding footprints on toilet seats because so many people here are use to using Squatters that western toilets are not comfortable. So they stand on the western toilet and squat. Awesome.

I have refrained from using any public restrooms for quite a while now, having used public facilities only about a dozen times since moving here. I am absolutely terrified of the facilities here.

I am also quite sick of hearing people spit everywhere. The noises that are made by these people… it can’t be right. It’s so gross. You walk along the streets dodging tiny puddles of spit; it’s so incredibly unpleasant.

If people were less inclined to expose their bodily fluids and bad habits, I am sure I would enjoy China, just a tad more.

1 Comment »

  1. Hey! I’d love to talk to you about living in china. Can you get my email from when I sign in to post this comment?
    I’m another blonde American girl moving to China next summer. :)

    Comment by steph — March 31, 2009 @ 7:05 am

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