We were told that the Beijing Ikea is the largest in the world. Escalators deliver shoppers to the fourth floor and turn them loose as they work their way down to bottom -in the typical ikea maze-like fashion.
Sunday afternoon at Ikea was a madhouse. Shoulder to shoulder throughout each floor. Ted and Andy and I began our adventure eating hotdogs on the ground floor for 50 cents each. An ice cream cone cost about 16 cents.
Bellies full we wound our way up the huge space to the top level and pushed through grabbing some essentials to make the Taxi apartment more livable. The plan was to meet back at the hotdog area in a hour. I cruised through picking up a small reading lamp, extension cord, pillow, a couple rugs, and cotton towel -the last towel purchase I made privileged the strange cow graphics instead of it's function, so I wound up covered in blue fuzz feeling slimy instead of dry.
Half way through the market place level the hotdogs, soda, and ice cream spoke sharply. I found the bathroom and waited for one of three stalls to open up. Finally, I entered only to find a below grade toilet; essentially a piss basin with an extra large hole. This seemed odd for the world's largest ikea, but I guess tradition prevails. It was not a primitive set up by any means, there was a motion sensing flusher on the wall directly behind.
With nothing to grab onto I recalled the way children in china handle this situation. The babies and toddlers wear ass-less chaps, as I like to call them. They are basically pants with the a hole in the back ready to permit anything that comes. This invention eliminates diapers. A common sight in the village is a little kid squatting on the sidewalk doing their business, number one or two. I emerged a little red in the face, partly from the experience and the other from a sustained power-squat.
The shopping continued down the check out and I made it through with a bill of 222 RMB, about $75 american dollars, which was well worth it. Cabs are lined up outside ready to take people home. We hopped in and drove back to the Caochangdi.