Wet Market

November 5, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Recently I ventured into my very first wet market here in Shanghai. And boy am I glad I was able to avoid them for as long as I did. Words can not describe the things I saw, smelled or felt as I walked through the gloomy warehouse space, so I took a video.

While watching, please take note of the following:

– The old Chinese Man Wearing Pajamas

–The man spitting on the floor

–The dirty laundry hanging from one of the vendor’s booth

–The fish Vendor with the lit cigarette hanging from his lip

–The dead chickens

–The pink rain boots

–The people staring at me


All covered up.

June 10, 2009

By Elena Garcia

On our recent trip to Beijing I came across something that I hadn’t realized I’d missed. Something one often over looks until it’s too late and that I hadn’t received since my move to Shanghai. Something so thin and inconspicuous but utterly amazing and necessary that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since…

…. the toilet seat cover.

You know that thin, disposable, oddly shaped piece of tissue paper that protects your bottom from the bacteria’s of the toilet; the one thing that provides you some peace of mind when using a public facility.

Toilet seat covers were probably my favorite part of any experience when I used a public restroom at home. The struggle when I would try taking them out of their wall mounts, the way they were oddly cut in the center, the crunch sound they made when I sat down. They provided me absolute solace. But, as a testament that I have been in Shanghai too long, I had forgotten all about them.

China doesn’t provide them in any bathroom, making me the master of the squat! At first I was outraged, thinking, even more so, that China was filthy and how dare they present me with such conditions! But as my battle against public restrooms raged on I came to the conclusion that I could not win this war. I couldn’t avoid using the lu forever and my tiny can of travel sized Lysol was out.

So through time, I have given in to the nuances of public Chinese facilities. I have grown accustomed to never having a seat cover in any restroom. Not in the office buildings, malls, government buildings, nowhere.

Or so I thought.

When we went to Beijing and I came across restroom after restroom with a securely displayed plastic holders for none other then the toilet seat cover, I was shocked. Comforted really, often using more then one sheet at a time. But then, like the different stages of loss go, I became infuriated. Why was Shanghai not providing these same crispy sheets to protect me? Every excuse I had made for their lack of sanitary conditions went out the window, if Beijing could do it why can’t Shanghai?!