It’s a rainy day in Kunshan, not exactly ideal conditions for watching the solar eclipse that supposedly occurs today.  And so I retreat, for the third time since waking up, back to the billowy comforts of my hotel bed.  I realize how glad I am to have this hotel room, a small haven away from the (at times) shockingly public streets of China.                

I remember seeing my first half naked child at the local grocery store defecating into a nearby trashcan, and wondering what the rules were in China on public indecency.  Apparently they’re pretty loose when it comes to children yet to be potty trained, as most of them either wear no pants at all or convenient crotchless and bottomless clothing.  I can understand the point of trying to save money by not spending a small fortune on disposable diapers, but I still found it ironic to see a mother holding her baby in front of an isle stacked ceiling high with every type of diaper, while the child’s rosy cheeks (and I don’t mean the ones on either side of his smile) rested underneath their mother’s arms.  

I suppose this isn’t too traumatic for the children considering the fathers don’t set to high of a standard for keeping their clothes on in public.  Once the sun sets and the boulder of humidity crashes down on China, men feel free to loosen their pants, roll up their shirts to their pecks and and invite passing tourists and locals into their shops and/or restaurants.  “Yes, sir.  Seeing multiple droplets of sweat roll down your naked beer belly has certainly wet my appetite.  Please let me eat at your establishment!”           

I’m not exactly the most reserved person in the world, so the lack of privacy doesn’t drive me too crazy, although I was still a bit shocked by an incident that occurred the other day while I was showering in the woman’s locker room of our hotel in Changshu.            


I had become quite familiar with the pool and locker room area of this hotel, after swimming for the third morning in a row, and I came to realize that each time I went, especially at 7:30 in the morning, I was most likely to have the pool and locker room to myself.  Since this was the case, I had no qualms over showering in the solid glass shower in the middle of the locker room.  On this particular morning, however, I had a visitor.  I was mid-shampoo when in walked the woman who worked the front desk of the spa area.  Apparently on her break, she had decided to relieve herself in the toilet located directly next to the shower, again with just a plate of clear glass separating the shower and toilet.           

So there I was standing underneath the showerhead, hair held atop my head by a generous lather of soap, as I starred in astonishment at this staff worker drop her skirt and sit herself down on the porcelain throne.  In a moment of panic, I wondered if I should grab my towel and walk out of the shower with my hand over my eyes, despite my soapy appearance.  In the end, I decided to wait it out, shower as usual, and just pretend I wasn’t in this bizarre situation.        

I certainly had a long time to reconsider, however, as this was definitely not a case of a quick number one.  AKWARD!  But, in the end, I survived the embarrassment to tell the tale.