Lately, my mind has been in the crapper. Quite literally. I've spent much of this winter vacation potty training Raelynn so she can come to school with me. We've been extremely successful, with the exception of visiting other toilets. She has yet to go in one. For her Sunday church play group, it's held in a 5-star hotel. Those bathrooms are nice. And clean. But she had 2 accidents. Since then though, she seems to have learned to hold it in, which is quite an accomplishment. I can't say I blame her at some of the places we've been. They're so vile, I'd much rather pee in my pants than suffer in the stench and filth that declares "toilet" so brazenly on the sign.
My husband and I were discussing this yesterday when we'd gone to Metro, the German-owned Costco-esque store I've written about before. I'm too lazy to link it up so feel free to dig through the archives. Raelynn was acting a bit bratty and driving us crazy while we were shopping. I noticed she was acting a bit like she might have to go to the bathroom, so I asked her if she needed to use the potty. And suddenly, she stopped acting out and said she needed to use the potty and asked me if I'd take her to the bathroom. So off we went. One thing that sucks about Metro is that the bathrooms are just before the entrance. And they absolutely refuse to let you go back through the entrance to get to them. You have to go out through the exit, walk in the blistering cold outside and then re-enter the store to go.
Another thing that sucks about Metro is the bathrooms. Which is what inspired this post. Jeremy and I were marveling about what bathrooms we thought were the 12 absolutely most fucking disgusting places in Qingdao. If you live here or have visited, perhaps you have your own suggestion to contribute. I'd love to hear from you if you do.
Anyway, let's count it down...
12) Jumu's house.
This gross bathroom can be found in MIL's brother's house.
11) The smelly bathroom at Jeremy's aunt's house.
Also discussed in this post, I have no actual pictures of it. It is larger than Jumu's bathroom though just as disheveled. And there's a shoe rack in it too. But it beats Jumu's in nastiness because of the stench. Even with the door to the bathroom closed when we first entered their apartment, the kind of smells you'd find in a Chinese public bathroom burst right into our faces.
10) The discount technology market in the old downtown area.
Every time my husband suggests we go to this place, I gracefully bow out and send him on his own. Not only is it very noisy and disorienting, but it also is home to one of the most horrid bathrooms I've ever been forced to use in this country. The last time I had to use it was when I was pregnant with Raelynn. It was so gross I actually considered just peeing in my pants. Little did I know that it would look nice compared to others I've been in.
9) The bathroom on the first floor of the Qingdao #7 Hospital of Infectious Diseases.
Back when we first moved to Qingdao, when we had no car, we had to walk, hop the bus or take taxis everywhere we went. This was before Jeremy had gotten a job and we were still getting settled in. He wanted to save as much money as possible so we were walking somewhere. Unfortunately for me being as pregnant as I was, I had to go to the bathroom constantly. As we walked to a nearby bank, I could no longer hold it and so we walked up to the nearest building, this decrepit hospital. I should also mention this was before we found the nice hospital where we had Raelynn. I was so traumatized by my brief visit to this hospital that I cried. This was when I discovered that hospitals in China were very unlike American hospitals. They were not sanitary and the conditions in that bathroom truly frightened me. I still shudder to this day whenever we drive past it.
8) Carrefour on Shandong Road.
Please note that this is NOT a photo of the Shandong Road location. This is for illustration purposes only.
There are several Carrefour locations in Qingdao. The closest one to our home is the one on Shandong Road. We actually stopped going to this location and will drive all the way out of our way to go to the one on Hong Kong Road because the service there is better. Because of my encounter with the deplorable bathroom at the Shandong Road location, I refuse to use the bathroom in any other Carrefour. Perhaps the Hong Kong Road location has a better, cleaner bathroom. I don't know and I won't know unless I am seriously about to burst my bladder. The Shandong Road location had a bathroom that was so visibly filthy WITH a cleaning staff pushing useless mops around that did nothing to improve the condition. It also smelled so horrendous that I could feel the vomit rising in my throat. It is exactly why I always wear perfume...just in case I come face-to-face with another stench like that again.
7) The big cloth store in Taidong that makes qipaos.
This is the place MIL took me to when she had that ugly wedding jacket made for me. Some of the fabrics in this store are just amazing. It's where I had my qipao (the traditional Chinese dress) made for our vow renewal. But it has a bathroom that is absolutely atrocious. Of course, being China, it was dirty and smelly. What made it stand out as even worse than other bathrooms is that the stalls are small. Not as in you have no room to turn around. I'd prefer that to this. What I mean is that when you walk in and are standing up, people can see most of your torso above the door. If someone were to walk up while you are squatting, they could look down and SEE you. Dear Lord! Another place I hold it in with all I've got.
6) Book City on Hong Kong Road.
5) A common Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood.
I've always complained about our neighborhood. I hate living on this side of town. It's the only place you can't walk to a McDonald's or KFC. My friend Andrea had once called it "the part of Qingdao that time forgot." But on our street, we do at least have some decent Chinese restaurants. As we've lived here, we've given each one a chance. And there's one that wasn't too bad as far as the food went, but the place was so dilapidated, I didn't want to go back. We'd gone with an old colleague of my husband's and were toasting with many beers. I couldn't hold it in any longer and needed to use the bathroom. When I tell you this one was even smaller than Jumu's bathroom and even more disgusting, just scroll back up to those photos. Then imagine a squatter instead of a toilet. And imagine that it hadn't been cleaned it what looked like a decade. Eek.
4) The tushuguan (library).
2) Qingdao Technological University.
There are few places in this world that could possibly make the slit trench-style bathroom I encountered when we got lost on our first trip to Shanghai look more appealing. Incidentally, the slit trench looks like this:
Imagine that running continuously under a row of stalls. No flushing. So gross! And this is BETTER than the Technological University here.
1) The bathroom at the home of people who owned cherry orchards near the Huadong Vineyard.
Last May, we spent a lovely day at the Huadong Vineyard with some Chinese friends. Later in the afternoon, we went just nearby there to a cherry orchard. We got to pick cherries and sample them. It was really nice. The people who owned this property were very nice. They invited us in for tea and were crazy about Raelynn. Between the wine and the tea, I had to pee. So I asked where the bathroom was. Outside. In a concrete outhouse. The smell emitting from this place made my eyes tear up. I couldn't even bring myself to fully enter but I could see the conditions were absolutely the worst I'd ever seen. A glorified hole in the ground that was probably never cleaned since it was built. I cannot even imagine living in a place like that. I certainly couldn't even imagine going to the bathroom in it.
What's that you say? Where's MIL's bathroom? Ah, well since she updated hers last year, she's off the hook. Her bathroom isn't what smells anyway, unless you count that sorry excuse for soap they use. And so, my friends, this concludes my personal list of the 12 nastiest bathrooms in all of Qingdao. If you've got one that's not on here, please tell me about it!