Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tea Leaves VS Toilets.How Are They Related?

You must be wondering...how are tea leaves related to toilets?Relax.By the time you finish reading every single word on this post,you will be enlightened.

The place you see here is Tian Fu Tea Group's Headquarters at Zhan Pu,Fu Jian,China.It's actually a rest area for motorists travelling along the highway that connects Xiamen and Zhan Pu.

The founder of Tian Fu Tea Group,Mr Li Rui He came from very humble beginnings.He was born and raised in Taiwan.He started off riding his bicycle around Tai Nan selling tea leaves.Every thing went on very well until sometime in 1989...

Mr Li's friends asked him to joint venture and set up a stock brokerage.Things looked fine until 1990,suddenly the stock market crashed.He was turned from a rich man to a pauper.What made me admire this man is that he refused to run away from his debtors.

He faced every one of them and paid back every single cent he owned.Some of his friends urged him to run away and hide in the States.But Mr Li refused.He vowed to pay back everything he owed and sold his big house.

By doing that,he gained the respect of his peers and debtors.His reputation was very good.

In 1991,he decided to make a comeback.He went to China and found it a land of opportunities.Zhan Pu was his homeland.He planned to set up business there.

2 years later,Mr Li discovered a plot of land which is big enough for his dream.

The dream was to set up a Tea Facility,with Factories,a Tea Museum,a Tea University as well as a tourist hot spot.To cut a long story short,he was made the "Tea King of the World".

What you see in the photos above are just a tiny bit of the whole Tea Facility.

Now let's come to the toilet part.The reason why Mr Li wanted to build a rest area for vehicles travelling along the highway was...

Many years ago,while he was travelling along a highway in Taiwan,he had difficulty trying to find a toilet to relieve himself.

Besides providing convienence to road commuters,this rest area also became a tourist hot spot.You can stop your vehicle and go to the tea house.They will provide you with hot tea for free.

There are many snacks,tea leaves and tea sets on sale.Many tourists end up with huge shopping bags of snacks and tea leaves.

The founder,Mr Li knew that the toilets in China suffered a bad reputation.It's well-known that you don't have to ask for directions to the toilet in China.You just need to smell them out.You can smell them from a distance away.

He wanted to change this perception.The staff of Tian Fu were made to clean the toilets regularly.But before that,the founder himself would clean the toilet to set an example.He would also check the toilets regularly and clean them if no staff was around.

This explains why the toilets are so clean.Now I'll come to the interesting part...There was one night,the founder invited his friends and peers to a dinner.But he told them that the dinner will be held in the toilet.

Some of them were shocked to hear that.Who will ever have dinner in a toilet?Many of them didn't turn up.Those who turned up were pleasantly surprised that there was no stench in the toilet.

Mr Li did this to prove that there are still clean toilets in China.

I was pretty surprised to read about Mr Li holding a dinner in the toilet.I would love to be his guest.Especially since this is one of my favourite toilets.Hahaha one day I will also hold a dinner in a toilet.It's going to be fun!

OK,I'm going to talk about the technical part of this toilet.This toilet was built in 1993.The toilets of that period all have the hood in front.Like what you saw from the previous 2 posts.All their shapes look alike,but their brands are different.

The brand of this toilet is "Khong Yuan".It's also flushed by the push-button on the pipe.I like the design of this toilet,but not the flushing sound.

It doesn't sound as good as Public Toilet A013(see previous post).

I did a video on this one.Initially planned to flush every single cubicle,like the Jubilee Street Public Toilet,Hong Kong.But sadly,the 3rd cubicle was occupied and there were people coming into the toilet.

What you see on the following video is only on the 2 open cubicles you see on the 3rd photo above.Enjoy the video.More will be coming soon.

One last thing before you see the video...I'm sad to say that the squatting Globe Brand that I promised to shoot in one of the previous posts has been changed.I'm trying to search for a replacement.

Hopefully I can find one that's fully functioning.One lesson learnt...toilets don't wait for you.Shoot and video while you can.Don't wait till it's renovated or changed then you start to regret.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Xiamen's Public Toilet A013,Off Zhong Shan Road Walking Street

Welcome to another toilet blog post.In this post,you'll be looking at Public Toilet A013.This toilet is situated in a small alley off Zhong Shan Road Walking Street.

Zhong Shan Road is divided into 2 parts.The first part is for vehicles.The second part is ONLY for pedestrians.That's why it called "Bu Xing Jie" or walking street(direct translation).

Look at the photo below and you'll know what I mean.

Public Toilet A013 is situated at the beginning of the walking street.(The end of the street is facing the sea).At the beginning of the street,you'll see the sign in the photo below.Walk along the small alley and you'll see the toilet on your right.

I would say that this is probably my second favourite toilet in Xiamen.The design is interesting and I like the flushing sound.Although it's flushed by pushing the button on the pipe,the sound is good.

I included 2 photos to show the design.As you can see from above,there's a little cap at the front part of the toilet.This design is copied from Japan's TOTO.

Many years ago,I believe it was in 1991,I came across the squatting TOTO in Genting Highlands,Malaysia.The design looks similar.But I can't recall what was the flushing sound like.It was too long ago.
Another thing I realised is that there are many brands of toilets with this design in China.What you saw in the "Xiang Jiang Shopping Mall" post is of a different brand.This toilet is manufactured by "Xin Wa".
So far I've discovered that "Xin Wa" has 2 models.One is this and the other is at Public Toilet A016.I will post it in sometime in the future.
Back to this design of toilets...I've done some research and found out that this design of toilets belong to the early 1990s.Many manufacturers seem to be using the same design,with their indiviual logos.
Now it's time for the video...enjoy.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Ever Heard Of A Toilet That Sounds THIS HORRIBLE?

As a toilet lover,this is the FIRST time I'm complaining about a toilet.You probably can guess...this toilet must be really terrible to receive a complaint from me.But seriously,it really deserves a complaint.

OK,let's be fair,why don't you judge for yourself and see if it's really that horrible...

Some background of this toilet...

It's located in this eating house that sells Ginger Duck,along Lian Hua Bei Road,Xiamen.

The brand is "Fandanna",a common brand found in China.

I have came across many "Fandannas",but this one really sounds terrible.It's flushed by pushing the button on the pipe leading to the toilet bowl.

I'm not a fan of "Fandanna".The design is too common and the flushing sound is pretty normal.However,this toilet caught my attention because of it's horrible flushing sound.


The Most Horrible Sounding Toilet