To squat or not to squat?

Before I came to Taiwan, my parents had ventured to China couple years ago and had told me their stories of using the toilets there.  My Mom, who has a back problem, had mentioned that for some places you needed a strong stomach and you had to make sure you pulled your pants up! It’s these descriptive bathroom tales, from both my friends and family, that prepared me for the worst when needing to take that unannounced bathroom break in Taiwan.

On our way to Taiwan, we had a two hour layover in Japan, and I must admit I was thoroughly interested in seeing these musical toilets I had always heard about.  My boyfriend decided to go first since one of us had to stay with the luggage.  When he came back he was disappointed to find that the toilets were, well… squat toilets.  To my surprise, I was able to witness the infamous musical toilet.  Did I push the music button? Sadly no.. seeing that there was a line up outside, I didn’t want to give people the wrong idea of what I was doing… @_@ silly way of thinking I know ^_^;;

So back to the squat situation, it had been two weeks and I still hadn’t encountered one here.  I started to wonder if they really did exist here; but after visiting with a friend, who lives in Taiwan, she reassured me that they were around.  I am guessing she must’ve had a bad experience as she had mentioned, “I only use the toilets in the malls, MRT stations or at home! Never a squat toilet!!!”.  Are squat toilets really that terrible or dirty? It wasn’t until our trip on the gondolas that I finally had to use one.  Was it as bad as everyone had mentioned? No, not at all, in fact, it was quite clean! I was more surprised that there was a flusher!  Again, silly I know!  After a couple of trips to the squat toilet I have come to this conclusion:
1) They aren’t as bad as people say they are…
2) Make sure you don’t pee on your pants…
3) DO bring tissue paper, sometimes there might not be TP available and finally…
4) Squatting is not the  issue but getting back up is a different story…
What have I learned from the squatting experience? I really need to go back to yoga or pilates because my thighs just ain’t workin’ when wanting to get back up, enough said!

As a tip for non squatters! If in doubt while at the MRT, one can simply view the real time LED signs, which are just outside the public washrooms.  These fancy signs will determine whether a squat or western toilet is available, unavailable or broken.  Pretty crazy! >_<


Article on the toilets of the future:
Are you ready for the toilet of the future? By Diane Mapes


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