Saturday, November 10, 2007

The curious incident with the shower in the afternoon...

So showering here is interesting. Ecuador doesn't exactly have anything like what we have at home: get in and turn on the water, VOILA! Constant hot water is very rare and a highly prized commodity. Cold water is used for everything. That being said, two different types of showers exist: gas and electric. My first house (by the way, we moved AND have a fridge now, woohoo!) had a gas shower. Let me attempt to explain how this worked: I would tell my host mom I wanted to shower and she would go outside and light the fire for hot water. I was hesitant to attempt this myself until one afternoon when I was desperate. I grabbed the matches from the kitchen, opened the door, and stood in front of the propane tank and pilot thingy on the wall. I stared intently for thirty seconds until I decided to be brave despite my enormously overwhelming fear of burning the house down. I flicked the switch on the gas tank, which let out a whistling and whirling noise. Ok, I think. Next, I moved the lever on the wall to one for hot water and attempted to light about five matches before I could get one to stay on fire long enough for me to light the pilot in the very small hole above the lever. (Picture a big white box. On the bottom is a lever that moves horizontally. In the middle of the white box thingy above the lever is a small hole with lots of metal coils. You have to light the fire in the hole. Not an easy task.) Everything seemed fine and I didn't burn the house down, phew. I ran upstairs to turn on the water. It was freezing. I returned to the "backyard" to check for flames. Nothing was happening and the pilot was out. I said a prayer and lit it again. Success. Another journey to the bathroom upstairs ended in another cold water discovery. I just wanted to take a freaking shower! I returned to the gas tank to investigate further. The pilot was out again so I attempted to light it again only this time, a back flash like flame busted out in my face. The little white box blew up! Luckily, I immediately put my left arm up to protect my face and quickly turned the gas tank off. The fire went out instantly. I checked my body for damage and discovered I had burned most of the hair off my left arm but managed to keep the remaining parts in tact. I even had eyebrows and eyelashes, which seemed like a miracle after the GIGANTIC flame attacked me. The wall unit appeared to be ok, but I was in no mood to try again. Needless to say, I gave up on the shower after that. I still do not have hair on half my arm. Lovely.

The shower in our new house is electric. Don't ask how it works, I have no idea other than the shower head is plugged in and we somehow manage to avoid electrocution but our showers are what I would imagine what it would feel like if someone peed on you. Highly unpleasant.

Shockingly, I never really feel clean...

3 comments:

Allie said...

Ew...that reminds me of a time I went camping and had to shower by putting water in a plastic bag thingy and heating it up in the sun. I feel so bad for you!!

Linzers! said...

hola rrraquelia mia! Supongo que las duchas en el gimnasio tengan agua caliente! Do you have the gasco commericals? " todos quieren banarse con agua calientita, no se pueden parar...." with the water droplets? If not, you'll have no idea what that is. That was my favorite commerical. Yeah Gasco. Miss you! I've been heading over to your office to meet with Mike Zimmerman on the Inn By the Sea project...how wierd..to bad on the timing--the only thing missing in the equation is you! i'm really glad you are there and not in portland-have fun and give a hug to nancy for me!

Linzers! said...

i mean...I wish you were in portland for my own selfish sake...but I'm glad you're not at your desk at olympia, fun as it would be to see you! I'm excited for your adventure!