Monday, September 28, 2009

The Hot and Cold of taking a shower

As I've previously mentioned, we "live without" in many ways. This is compared to my cushy-US-lifestyle -- because, let's be serious, there are people out there with much tougher lives than me. Since I grew up with having access to a shower with good water pressure and no lack of hot water, my shower situation now is a little shocking.

Let me describe. We have a strange nozzle for a shower head. There is a switch on the shower head for either cold, warm, or hot. I enjoy my hot showers, so I turn the switch to hot and then turn on the water. If you turn the water on full blast (meaning wonderful water pressure), you will only get freezing cold water (even if the switch is on "hot"). But, if you slowly turn the water down down down... until the nozzle starts making a "gurgling sound" .... then you will get hot water... and no water pressure. That's all good though. I can handle that. I will take my hot water, and forfeit my water pressure.

Oh wait, the fun doesn't stop there. This lovely shower head decided to - how should I put it? hmmm- uh, crap out. So now I have one choice only: freezing cold shower. I just can't do it. How do people live without hot water? I know plenty of people around the world do it, but geeeeez. They're all much stronger than me.

Now I did have a brief experience with no-hot-water when I was living in Chile. I suffered through by boiling hot water, pouring it into a bowl, and then washing my hair in the bowl. Awkward, but it worked.

I mentioned this water-boiling solution to the man as well as my absolute aversion to taking cold showers. He says "OK" and immediately goes to fill a bucket full of water. I watch him curiously because (A) the bucket is being filled with cold water (obviously) and (B) a plastic bucket cannot be heated on the stove. Then he grabbed a long cord with a oddly shaped orange contraption on the end. He places this thing in the bucket and then plugs the other end of the cord into an outlet. "Don't touch anything," he says. "I'll tell you when it's ready." A little while later, he carefully disconnects the cord and removes the orange dealy from the bucket. "Hot water."

And indeed it was hot water. And plenty of it to wash my massive amounts of (red!) hair. Oh you clever little guatemalans! (although, is risking electrocution really worth hot water?)

Seriously though, can't we just fix the shower head? (says the spoiled gringa)


  1. Oh my. This reminds me of when I lived in El Salvador and showered every morning with freezing cold water...from a bucket. That's right, no shower head. And no orange dealy. I would have died for an orange dealy. That water was FRIGID.

    Do you have a pila? In El Salvador everyone has a pila. I kind of miss having a sink/shower/washing machine combo made out of cement...:P

  2. Ah! sounds like a nightmare! I really cannot take cold showers - just the thought makes me shiver! The orange dealy is truly a lifesaver.

    We do have a pila. But we dont use it as a shower. Sink and washing machine, yes. haha.

    Living here makes me truly appreciate everything I had in Chile. Can't wait to go back!!