Nearly 500,000 people have visited Shanghai's most-expensive toilet since the Moon River Art Park opened in Songjiang District last October.
The toilet, which cost 5 million yuan (US$602,000) to build, would be nearly impossible to spot, as it is disguised in a man-made cave surrounded by a tree and flower-lined path. But the constant line-up of viewers, and presumably some people who actually want to use the facilities, make it easy to spot.
The 500,000 visitors that park boosts about are based on the number of tour buses and private vehicles that entered the park since its soft opening, as almost every park visitor has stopped for a look at the toilet, said Zhou Jie, the park's marketing manager.
"Sometimes they waited in line for one to two hours. We told them there were also other toilets nearby, but they insisted on seeing the legendary one," said a toilet cleaner.
"Visitors are curious about what all the money was spent on."
The inside of the man-made cave that housed the toilet is decorated like a grotto, with canes hanging on the ceiling, stalactite-like water faucets over the basin and huge stones inlaid in the walls.
It is equipped with diaper changing stations and baby seats from Japan for the convenience of parents, Zhou said.
"I don't think it's the most luxurious (toilet in the city), but the most artistic," said Tsao Rhychang, the Taiwanese founder of the park. "I want to bring a natural paradise to the crowded city."
Covering 87 hectares near Sheshan Hill, the art park features some 30 large sculptures created by artists from 12 countries.
The toilet is free, but admission to the park is 30 yuan.
(Shanghai Daily May 2, 2005)