The Scent of China

If pictures had a scent, this would smell like the primary school toilets. Well, I didn’t go to a fancy primary school, so the stench from the toilets was repulsive.

Hello China, wow! I’m so glad I’m here. On my first week in China, Shanghai, I learnt a crucial lesson about hygiene. Iyo Jehovah, please help. I was at the verge of throwing up.

On week one I had training at school. The school is based inside the mall. OMW, where do I begin to describe the mall. This mall is humongous. I was at the Mall of Africa (to give you a look and feel). It’s beautiful; I was in awe; the infrastructure is remarkable. Each floor is filled with dozens of shops. There’s also a floor or two dedicated to children. I was astonished by this magnificent beauty, and how invested, they are in their children. While parents shop and eat, kids also get some leisure time. Not to mention a school in a mall who would have thought. I was taken by these dynamics, some unusual and beyond my imagination at that time.

Week one of training started, 9 am-1 pm yeah the longest days of my life. There were days I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t wait to be in the real classroom. And beside some of the things taught there I’ve done them at school so you can understand my boredom.

Sometime that week during lunch, I was pressed. I needed the toilet ASAP. Now (blame it on my mom) I don’t usually use public restrooms because of my mom she drilled a horror image in my mind so every time I have to use the bathroom I have to battle with that thought. Anyway I’m in China, look guys I’m in the biggest mall (well its quite small compared to. The other big malls I’ve encountered ever since). The mall is posh; you’d swear the president plays around there. So going back to my urgency, I asked a Chinese colleague to show me where the bathroom was.

My apologies for the image

As I was walking towards the bathroom, I’m was met with an unusual smell, I pass it off as, it’s just a smell they’re about to clean because I could see one of the cleaners with a mop heading there. As I entered, the smell brought back primary school memories at Florida Avenue Primary. Those days’ how I hated using the bathroom in primary school because of how it looked and smelled. Now here I was, two decades later faced with my childhood trauma. Iyo, I was like no, this is not for me. I felt like crying. Being in desperate need of the bathroom, I had no choice but to suck it up and do my business. I was traumatised and disgusted, how could they live in such conditions. The floor we were in had several fancy restaurants, and I couldn’t imagine how one eats next to a bathroom that looks and smells like this.

Raffle City, Shanghai

This was only the beginning. For the rest of my training during lunch, I’d go back to my hotel room and relieve myself then go back to work (the hotel I stayed in was next to the school /mall, less than 5 minutes walk, so it wasn’t a big deal). I couldn’t; I was in disbelief

Who would have thought that a fancy place would have that one bad horrible thing?

Raffle City at night

At work, I’ve dedicated 20 minutes of my lunch break would be for the bathroom. I’d go to the mall across the road, 5th floor and use the bathroom there. Raffle City saved me from the horrors of China.

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