In response to several inquries, I wanted to provide a brief update on our bathroom situation: We DID eventually get a bathtub, after about 4 trips to various “porcelain markets.”
Apparently bathtubs are not really in great use as most folks around here either shower at h0me, or at a public bath house. This is in part because during the bitter cold winters, the city regulates when the heat comes on (November 1) and at a fixed setting, so most apartments are still quite cold and it is much more appealing to step out into a warm room (do I hear an amen!). Thus the idea of public bath houses, where for a few coins you shower, and for another couple you pay a staffperson to wash you so you can relax while getting clean and spending a couple hours in a warm sauna-like atmosphere. I am not sure how I feel about trying that out–it is on of those things we are categorizing as “different” culturally than what is the norm in the US.
We ended up at the very ritzy 3-story porcelain mall, where massive front entrance was lined with about 30 young girls dressed in red and holding up bright signs for a new business inside (faucets? toilets??)
We immediately saw that the prices of bathtubs were out of our league–judging from the oversized whirlpools with jets, bleached pinewood tubs with leather headrests (do they actually USE them?) and, most obviously, the GOLD TOILET prominently on display in the corridor of the mall.
(I am still trying to figure out how to download from my cellphone into this blog–I promise to post it as soon as I get it to work.)
Enough said. We left and braved the 6-14 lane highway by foot to go to the common man’s porcelain market. After passing a few vendors, we finally found it: the dream bathtub! white, with a drain, and not much more. And for the right price.
We were just glad we already had a western-style toilet already in place when we moved in.