We were in Dalian for our first two days here, cosseted in the Five Star Furama hotel. All of the advertising cliches apply: thick terry towels and bathrobes, fluffy eiderdown pillows, luxurious appointments and these.
These commodes have begun to gain acceptance in U.S. markets. Will Smith hawked his on Oprah a few months ago, saying that he didn't miss toilet paper because the "Washlet" gets it right. When I visited a bath showroom in April, a few customers scrutinized one the way my colleagues and I looked at the first computer to appear in our offices in the early-80s. Can these be the wave of the future?
How strange, then, in China, to go from luxury hotel to home-style restaurant, where the Jakes is across the hallway from the dining room, doesn't have a door, and is just a simple hole in the floor. We've been camping and know the drill when it comes to going in the wild. Yet these primitive facilities still call for an attitude shift. As Eleanor Goodman, a translator of Chinese poetry explained, "you just pull your clothes out of the way and go."