Women and filthy toilets

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Apr 8th, 2010, 12:03 PM
  #1
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Women and filthy toilets

Will be taking a 15 day guided tour of China in Sept/10 with hubby and 2 daughters. Googling info about toilet facilities outside our 5* hotels made me feel sick. Looking for any women Fodorites who survived the chinese toilets, any tips (wear skirts etc) would be welcome. I admit I am a "prissy" traveller, still haven't gotten over the dirty toilets in Italy several yrs ago.Has anyone used the widgits/devices that allow women to pee standing up?
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Apr 8th, 2010, 12:56 PM
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Where sanitation is dubious (places lacking good plumbing infrastructure) I much prefer squat toilets. I've survived a bunch, although in really remote places I've sometimes opted for the great outdoors. You might find my "Seven Steps to Happy Squatting" useful - http://wilhelmswords.com/faq/index.html and scroll down a bit.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 02:24 PM
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Agree with thursdaysd re squat toilets. For China (and anyplace where you may encounter questionable facilities) take hand sanitizer (someplaces have no soap/water) and carry small packs of tissue (no toilet paper).
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Apr 8th, 2010, 02:47 PM
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I will have a backpack full of toilet paper, baby wipes, Purell, gloves, and plastic bags for my shoes. I've read it's not only the squatting issue but the area around the toilet can be covered in excrement that I don't want on the bottom of my shoes and tracking into my hotel room. Ewwwwwww. Thursdaysd,I will definitely look at your "Happy Squatting" site.

Check out this site: www.whenyagottago.com making the Magicone and Travelmate widgits so women can pee standing up. I will order a few online and see how they work.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 03:24 PM
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Where are you going in China? If it's just the big east coast cities - e.g. Beijing, Shanghai - I've heard that the toilet situation was massively improved for the Olympics. In fact, I remember encountering some stellar Western and squat toilets in the grounds of the Temple of Heaven in '04 that were brand new. I've only rarely encountered really filthy floors. (If you're that bothered, take your shoes off at the door of your room - I do that at home anyway.)

I once bought one of those "pretend you're a guy" funnels, and concluded it would be more trouble than it was worth. It didn't get to travel with me.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 06:50 PM
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I was on a 28 day tour of china in 2003.....and managed to always have a sit down,clean toilet!

Since then I have learned to stand up!! And it has come in handy other places!!!!!
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Apr 8th, 2010, 06:57 PM
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This is our iteniery: Bejing,Xian,Chongqing,Yangtze River cruise,Fengdu,Yichang, Wuhan,Guilan,Yangshuo.
A close friend's nephew drove 45 min back to hotel to use bathroom than use what was available where they were filming. Another reported about the stink. You've only rarely encountered really filthy toilets? Is this recently? The friends reports were from last year. I do hope the Olympics made a difference.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 07:11 PM
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Leanna, your tour must have been VERY selective as to where you were taken for bathroom breaks.I'll gladly pay $$ for a clean western toilet. If there is a western toilet available would one be much more likely to get it if you *tip* the attendant well?
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Apr 8th, 2010, 08:01 PM
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"You've only rarely encountered really filthy toilets?" - I've only rarely encountered toilets with excrement on the floor, which is what you wrote (as opposed to down the hole). Smelly, certainly, grimy certainly, wet, certainly.

I can't believe your friend's nephew, a guy, was so precious!

Tipping is a US custom which has not so far, thankfully, taken over China, where it is the custom NOT to tip. Although you will often find that you will PAY to use a toilet. In my experience it is unusual to find both western and squat toilets unless it's a new, clean place. And as I posted above, if the sanitation is suspect you don't want a western toilet - the less contact with anything the better.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 08:09 PM
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Has anyone encountered the toilets where there are no stalls, in other words, you do your business in view of all. Would you be able to do as the natives do? Go for it and bare all.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 08:19 PM
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My adult daughters are coming so having a period while there will be a hassle. As much as I am very opposed to this,I would for this trip recommend they use their oral contraceptives to delay a period. I find it so freeing to be postmenopausal.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 08:23 PM
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Yes, but not in the places you'll be visiting. Public bus stations aren't on your itinerary, right? Or six hours across the desert. In those circumstances people respect each others' privacy and keep their eyes down.

BTW, I checked and see that you are a new poster. Welcome to Fodors. You might want to go over to the Asia forum and read some of the threads on travel in China. I guess it's too late to suggest going on your own, but you might want to read some of the threads about tours anyway - e.g. http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...ritz-tours.cfm - scroll down to PeterN-H's post.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 08:40 PM
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You did six hours across the desert? Wow! We're just sticking to where the tour takes us. This is a precious family trip as it's difficult to get everyone together for a holiday. I have no qualms about travelling solo although hubby is not at all keen on it for safety reasons. Always nice to have a friend along too.Thanks for the link, will definitely check it out.
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Apr 9th, 2010, 08:54 AM
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I encountered a toilet at the Summer Palace that I could not go into because the smell was so bad and the floor looked wet and "dirty", so I don't know exactly what was behind the door. There were only a few seconds to get out of there before I lost my breakfast. That was early in the trip and I was very careful thereafter to go after breakfast, and then drink no fluids unless I was in a restaurant. Restaurant bathrooms were all fine. It was just public toilets at the major tourist sites. BTW - in Italy even bathrooms in nice restaurants could be so filthy that they were unusable, so by my standards, China was more civilized. And most people wouldn't think twice about going to Italy...
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Apr 9th, 2010, 03:31 PM
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I used the device that allows you to stand up when you go when I was in Vietnam, I thought it worked great, just make sure you have a plastic baggie to put it in until you get somewhere you can rinse it out. I did practice at home with it before I went on my trip.
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Apr 9th, 2010, 06:57 PM
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Foggydoggy! Well I used the johns at the tourist places. Quite often there was a line of stand up toilets and then at the end a sit down one for the handicapped and we would all use that one. I remember somewhere along the tourist route there was one toilet that was rated 5*****..........they were so proud of it...chandeliers and all!!!!

In Central Asia and in Africa it was girls to the left of the bus and boys to the right....but by that time I had learned how to take care of biz!!!

I have encountered only a few really horrid toilets.....and many of them are right here at home......our local Kmart is a scandal!!!
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Apr 9th, 2010, 07:57 PM
  #17
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Yeah, US/CAN toilets can be pretty bad but at least there's lots of TP to cover the seats. I have found many Starbucks washrooms dirty and neglected, what a turnoff when ordering coffee.

DJcat, did you order your device from a site or were you able to find it at a travel backpacking store?
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Apr 14th, 2010, 01:56 PM
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@Leanna: I have a picture of a **** rated bathroom in China - at Forbidden City, I think. It was quite remarkable!

I never encountered a rough bathroom situation in China (there in 2007, 1996 and 1984). I was always in cities of sustantial size. Some a bit mustier than others but always usable. In fact on the 2007 trip we made a point of making sure everyone in our group used particular facilities because they were so high-tech. Lots of bathroom photos.

I do take a package of tissues and wet-wipes with me IN MY POCKET - there is not always a place to safely hang a purse or tote - I let a travel partner hang onto my bag.

If you will be in an area where squat toilets are the norm, a skirt does make it easier. On my first trip to Hong Kong I wore a jump suit. The public toilet on Victoria Peak was not a fun experience in such garb. But a jump suit is a stupid option for any bathroom!
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Apr 15th, 2010, 07:21 PM
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Been to China..toilets are pretty 'basic', if you know what I mean. Some are only a pit, or a hole with foot places. learn now (practice at home) how to 'squat' comfortably...NEVER sit on one of those toilets...NEVER...or hold it til a better opportunity, but don't count on it...One lady said in exasperation "Ill hold it all the way to Shanghi before I will go in there.!!!:

I said "on no you won.'t..the next one might be worse.!!
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Apr 16th, 2010, 06:44 PM
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Gee Clarsong....we just did not see the same China!!
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