A bathroom problem of “Olympic” proportions

When I first saw the venue designs for this summer’s Olympic games in Beijing, I was quite impressed. The Chinese have pulled out all the stops to create several cutting-edge stadiums for the games, including the Beijing National Stadium designed by award-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron and the Beijing National Aquatics Center, which looks like a huge floating cube of water.

However, as the BBC reports, China may have spent a little too much money on those architecture fees. Prompted by frequent visitor complaints at test events, the Chinese are scrambling to replace traditional squat toilets at the venues with western-style “loos” for an expected 500,000 visitors. According to the BBC, who quotes Yao Hui, Deputy Head of Venue Management, “Most of the Chinese people are used to the squat toilet, but nowadays more and more people demand sit-down toilets.”

Gee, Yao, do you think? I have no problem adapting to a traditional squat toilet if I’m coming to visit China on my own, but perhaps when you have visitors coming from as many as 200 different nationalities you might want to standardize? I guess if you’re headed to this summer’s games in Beijing, make sure you bring your own toilet paper and maybe take a look at this for advice. Also take a look at this for more “traditional” background info on Beijing before your visit.


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