Taking a Shower (Mexican Style)

My little sister likes to say that she looks a mess in Mexico because she can’t take a shower there.  It is difficult when you are used to modern luxuries of the first world (i.e. hot water upon demand).

I, however, have been lucky.  My last house had a normal(ish) shower.  The only tricky thing was that I had to fire up the boiler before I could have warm water.  This is done by lighting a gas water heater.  We had to light it because the tanks are small–and to leave the pilot light burning is a waste of gas!  I didn’t have a shower head, but it was okay.  I just had to detangle my hair after a stream of hard water matted it each day.

My new house also has a shower, but I have had a few problems.  For the most part, hot water heaters haven’t been necessary.  It is super warm here, and the water is pumped to a holding tank on top of the house.  Entonces, when I come home the water has been heating up for me all day!  This isn’t always good thing–for example, sometimes you are so hot, you NEED a cold shower.  Lukewarm water drizzling out over you isn’t the most pleasant experience.

That brings me to my Mexican shower.  When we visited Victor’s mom, I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place.  I wanted to be easy-going–everyone expects Americans to be uptight.  I also really needed a shower, but didn’t quite have the tough Mexican skin attitude necessary to take a bucket shower without hollering.

Bucket showers are taken like this:

  1. Haul water to the showering area in a bucket.  Make sure you have plenty.  Running out in the middle of the shower can’t be an option.
  2. Pour frigid water over you (without screaming) with a smaller bucket.
  3. Suds up.
  4. Repeat the frigid water experience.

Sounds easy, eh?  I suggest you try it.  It isn’t as easy as one would think.  Especially when you have to be conscious of how much water you’re using…

I had a repeat of this experience the other day, only this time I received a tiny reprieve.  Days have been cooler and rainy with the tropical storm heading towards Mexico.  The water hasn’t been heating up–and the hot water heater wasn’t working.  That means freezing cold water came out of pipes on a chilly(ish) night.  I am tough though, and I have a new method for cold showers.  I back it up.  It works!  You just slowly back into the stream of cold water (I forgot to mention, I say stream because the shower head doesn’t sprinkle water…) making sure that the cold water slowly works its way up your legs and back.  This is the reverse of what I used to do.  Slowly moving into the water with your whole body doesn’t cut it.

So, I started my shower.  I get all sudsy, when all of a sudden the water stops.  I forgot to mention, the water is pumped into underground tanks a couple of times a week.  We have our own bomba water pump that we turn on to send the water to the rooftop.  If we fail to do that, the water stops.  In the middle of someone’s shower.  Victor went to heat me up some water on the stove.  That’s right, just like the old days…  It made my Mexican Shower soooo much easier to bear.  I didn’t even scream  (that much…)

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