So there I was in Nanjing Station to catch the bullet train back to Shanghai, minding my own business, and going for a quick slash before boarding the train as you do.
It was one of those massive toilets in those massive train stations, the urinal room with 20-odd urinals lined along the walls, those mucky green mats over the wet floor as usual and a great big fan blasting the piss-stinking air from one end to the other. All very standard.
Unusually, though, there was nobody in it – just one guy leaving as I walked in, and no-one else.
We made the briefest of eye contact as we passed; a small, wiry, weatherbeaten man of about 50, who didn’t look to be a denizen of Nanjing, but rather a migrant worker from the countryside – as are a great many of the people you ride the trains with in China, so I thought nothing further of it.
Or rather, I wouldn’t have but for the fact he came back into the toilet thirty seconds later and of all the free urinals in that big, empty toilet, he selected the one next to me – and then proceeded to pretend to urinate, even though he’d obviously just done so a few minutes earlier.
The man was clearly and not even remotely surreptitiously trying to have a look at my nuts & bolts. I was already mid-piss, but I muttered a curse and stopped the flow before turning (still dick in hand) and stepping over to one of the urinals on the other side of the room.
But he just waited a few seconds before following right on over and again posting himself at the neighbouring urinal, trying to look sidelong at my johnson.
This was all pretty ridiculous, but I didn’t really think it would escalate. I happened to be wearing a button-up shirt, the flap of which was hanging down and obscuring his view, and I was almost finished anyway. Figured I’d just ignore him, finish up, and get out of there.
But then he reached across to grab the shirt flap that was blocking his view and hoick it out of the way – I knocked his arm aside and jumped back, zipping myself up with one hand while the other had automatically cocked itself back, ready to strike. I don’t remember what I shouted at him, but the language was colourful and though he likely didn’t understand a word of it he definitely got the message; he ran off and left me to finally finish my piss in peace, after which I went and got on the train to Shanghai, and that was that. Just a completely random bizarre experience in a Chinese train station toilet, which I’ve just typed up while sat on a KTX bullet train from Busan to Seoul… thankfully no such bizarre encounters in Busan Station this morning!
For more weird travel tales see here, for more on China see here (posts & stories) and here (overland travel info)
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