Monday, June 18, 2012

Bathroom Culture.... Who Knew?!

I am starting today with a warning, dear readers and loyal subjects.  This post is about.... potties.  That's right, toilets, loos, commodes, etc.  There, I've said it.  Has anyone run yet?  No?  Good.  Because you have just GOT to hear about this!!!

I had been warned about a few things before traveling to China.  One of those things was what the bathrooms would be like.  I kept hearing discussions of holes in the floor and nothing else but figured this whole idea was just designed to scare me.  Well... turns out it wasn't!  Apart from inside our hotel, western toilets are rare in this country.  What you end up having instead, really is a bathroom stall with a porcelain area that includes a hole in the floor and places to put your feet.  You really do just squat down and do what you need to.  To say that this concept was foreign to The Queen is a VAST understatement.  I'd say that it took some serious getting used to, but truly, there was no getting used to it at all.  My saving grace was that I finally figured out that most public bathrooms did have one stall available as a handicapped stall.  That one has a western toilet.  I decided that being too regal to figure out how to cope with this entire hole in the floor concept definitely counted as handicapped!

Now we move ahead to Korea and the incredibly nice hotel in which I'm currently staying.  Being The Queen, I will say that I have stayed in some really nice hotels in the past.  This place seems comparable to quite a few of them with one exception.  You guessed it!  It's the bathroom.  Well, more specifically, it's the toilet.  I swear to you, it looks like this thing came out of some kind of science fiction story.  Surely, this soft of thing doesn't really exist!  I mean, I'm a nice Southern girl.  I'm spoiled.  I like very nice things and places.  But even I never expected to find a toilet in my room that looks like it has some kind of computer system hooked up to it just to handle all its functions!!!!

Yes, dear readers and loyal subjects, this is what is attached to the side of the toilet in my room.  I took one look at it and yelled for MPH (My Poor Husband) to come in and check this thing out... mostly because he's more mechanically inclined than I am and frankly, I couldn't figure out what to do with it.  It looked for all the world like I'd gone from being expected to use a hole in the floor to something that needed an instruction manual just to work it.  There was just one problem.  It didn't COME with an instruction manual!  There was really nothing else for it!  This was going to be trial and error, people!  Can you even imagine?!!

Are you finished imagining yet?  Because I can sort of tell you about it.  Let's just say that most of those buttons will send water spraying onto your... piece parts... from various angles, in various temperatures, and in various rhythms (I kid you  not).  Oh and when you're finished splashing water all over yourself, there's a blow dryer too!!!  HOLY CANNOLI, people!  I have never felt more like a country bumpkin in my life than when I was trying to figure this thing out!  And let me just tell you what that experience was like from MPH's perspective.  All he knew was that I'd disappeared into the bathroom to experiment with this thing (all in the name of science, you understand) and thereafter he'd hear me hit a button (they make an electronic beeping noise each time you touch one) then he'd just wait a few seconds for my startled squeal as whatever it was kicked in.  You know, you can think you're prepared for whatever this thing was getting ready to do... but you really just never are.  This was a seriously eye widening experience, I can assure you.  I could hear MPH in the bedroom laughing hysterically as I managed to squeal, shriek, and blurt out expletives all the way through the series of buttons.

To my credit, I now know what each of the buttons does.  WHY it does it, though, is something I really just can't explain.  The way I see it, the guy who invented this thing is working on something new at this very minute.  I'm just waiting for the version that manages to do all of these things AND go FOR you that's just bound to be coming out any day now.  Until then, I'm going to go see if I can stand back, push a button, and shoot water into the air.  This, people, is why no one ever gives me the really cool toys.  Now someone order me one of these for the house!

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