A bit of explanation: China has a lot of horrible toilets. As in, long troughs over which you squat and do your business (whatever number that may entail). There may not be a private stall, there is definitely not toilet paper, and running water signals luxury – though not as much as a real toilet. On my first train ride in China, I got to squat over a hole in the floor that opened directly on to the tracks. This was about 48 hours after I arrived in the country, and it was a rather unexpected introduction to China. All of the worst toilets I have used in my life were in China. Even the worst toilet I have used elsewhere would fail to crack the Top Ten of China’s worst toilets, and I have probably used 300 pit toilets over the course of my life, so this is a rather dis..tinguished list.

Today, I am posting a picture of me using the worst toilet I ever used in China. Obtaining this title required a huge amount of indifference to cleanliness, comfort, and basic human necessity, as I had used the aforementioned train toilet, as well as the single dirtiest toilet I have ever seen (which happened to be in a train station), while I was there.

Somewhere in the Little Three Gorges – a place now underwater, thanks to the Three Gorges Dam – I really had to use the bathroom. As in, I was wiling to pay for the use of one. As I walked in, the smell hit me first. Then, I saw an open trench, over which I was expected to squat. It was not quite as dirty as the train station toilet, but it was well on its way. Unsurprisingly, there were no stalls, but the lack of privacy also extended to a lack of door on the bathroom itself, which might have been OK except that I could see over the walls of the bathroom while I squatted.

It was bad. Very, very bad.

And thanks to my friends – even in the pre-cell phone era – I have a picture of me using said toilet.

You’re welcome, Internet.

Be glad the Internet doesn't have smell-o-vision.
Be glad the Internet doesn’t have smell-o-vision.

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