Ok, so, I have lived here well over a year and there are several things I have yet to figure out. Some seem a bit inappropriate to ask people, but then remain unanswered questions for me, and some I have finally figured out the answers to. Let me share…
For example, there are aisles of condoms. More condoms than candy in stores, but for some reason, somewhere near them there is always disposable women’s underwear. I have even seen it in vending machines. I have yet to figure out the need for disposable underwear.
While we’re on the subject, how about the fact that in this mall there are two Western toilets in every public bathroom. The rest are squat toilets. Often, they are locked. Even more often, they are the storage place for mops, pails and such. Sometimes they are where the cleaners sit and chat. This is not my question though. The question is, no matter where I am, if there is a Western toilet, why is the seat always up? I have been told that women still use them as squats, which seems dangerous and difficult. If that is not the answer though, than I don’t know what is. And why must I always bring my own toilet paper? What do they use?
Ok, on to the most inappropriate. If I see one more baby penis it will be too soon. If a child is not potty-trained yet, they wear crotchless pants with all their “junk” just hanging out. If they pee or poop, their care-giver will run them over to a garbage can quickly (usually). In the meantime though, they sit, they walk, they play with everything just hanging out in the breeze. On my walk to get lunch just now, I saw no less than four baby penises. That’s enough to call it a day.
I think I mentioned earlier that I found out why the sun rises at 4am. It’s because there are no time zones, so it rises at 4am here, but by the time it gets to Tibet it’s about 9am.
And I have found out why Chinese people often don’t have chairs and couches in their houses. It’s because they don’t have guests. Everyone meets outside somewhere at a restaurant or coffee shop or whatever. People don’t just “hang” at each other’s houses. Which also explains why so many apartments don’t have kitchens, and so many jobs offer meals. No one cooks.
Which further explains why our schools, malls, and general public areas are so crowded during rain storms. In Ohio, when the weather is bad, we may put off going out. But here, people are everywhere in droves in bad weather. Because really, who wants to sit at home (on their bed—since they don’t have a chair) in a rain storm with nothing to eat except maybe a bit of fruit, instant noodles and some tea?