Needs Good Knees

I was daunted at the prospect of using the Chinese toilet, but time taught me that squat toilets are more hygienic and far easier to clean than ours. The thing is, a person needs to be able to squat.

Back then (maybe still?) a person needed to carry his/her own toilet paper, 卫生纸, pronounce “wei shung zhi”, the first two characters being the word for “toilet.” I lived in China 10 months without knowing how to say those characters, only how to read them.

This style of toilet is pretty common throughout the world — I encountered them at the Miramare Castle in Trieste, Italy.

12 thoughts on “Needs Good Knees

  1. Toilet paper here and there. I experienced a squat toilet somewhere at the foot of the Atlas mountains in Morocco in little wooden hut – not my thing. I think one of the only times I wished I was a man. 🙂

  2. The first time I saw a bidet I was in Sicily. Me and one of my shipmates (both country boys) had rented a room and when we went into the bathroom we found this extra thing that looked like a small toilet–except the water shot up. We decided that it was for washing feet. Which we did until the maid laughed at us and told all her friends what we were using it for. All we knew about that part of the world was what we’d learned from the Bible, and we knew they were big on washing feet around there–so that’s how we figured out what the bidet was for.

      • I couldn’t do it after I found out what it was–I didn’t want my feet to touch anything that might’ve been touched–by something.

      • Ha ha ha! And then there are the streets… Margaret said, “I’m going home and soak my feet in the bum wash. Come by if you want later and we’ll get some supper.” I personally believe the bidet is a great invention.

    • Me too. In the international school where I taught for a long time, we had a lot of Arab students and they had to wash their feet before prayers. It totally freaked out the students from the rest of the world to go into the restroom and find an Arab with his/her foot in the sink so all our restrooms were re-fitted with foot-washing basins. They looked more like walk-in showers than bidets.

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