International bathing.

December 23rd, 2013, 2pm

It was 27°C with scattered clouds. The breeze was light.

When in Mexico at a rustic hotel, the shower is an attempt to recreate a type of waterfall. This much can be assumed from the stonework and choice between a trickle and a full stream of water from the pipe in the wall. It’s not known by this writer if other types of showers exist in Mexico, but she expects that the resorts nearby have North American style shower heads. The important thing is that this writer can get clean after a sweaty bike ride or a sandy morning at the beach. She can also do laundry in the shower, since the water pressure in the sink is too low to do much good in that area.

While in Brazil you may be surprised to learn that the majority of showers are heated through an electric current. Yes, there are electrical wires running into the shower head. This can be a bit disconcerting coming from Canada, where hot water comes through the shower from a hot water tank in the basement. But the nice thing about Brazilian showers is that it is very easy to control the temperature of the water, just don’t grab the wires while showering.

While in Japan if you stay in a fancy Western style hotel the shower will be familiar to the North American traveller. The toilet, however, will not. But this is about bathing, not toilets. Suffice it to say that many Japanese toilets sing. If while in Japan you happen to live in a teacher’s apartment building owned by the local school board, your bath will be like a box, and if you are lucky you will also have a shower head at the end of a hose. If you are not lucky, you will just have a bucket. If you are living in said teacher’s residence with your seven-year-old son and while he is in the bath room (as opposed to the toilet room) and you hear a loud noise and ask your son if he is okay he may answer with “It’s okay, I just kicked the bucket.” and you may dissolve into laughter and have to explain why. The Japanese cube-shaped tub is heated from the bottom and must be started with a crank to get the gas flowing properly. In the winter you and your spouse may argue as to who must rush out from under the covers to heat the bath in the morning. Japanese people tend to bathe at night but when you are of Eastern European descent with curly hair you quickly realize that bathing at night just isn’t going to work for you.

In Thailand the fancy hotels near the airport and the mid-range hotels in downtown Bangkok have North-American style showers but when you are on the island of Koh Samui with your own villa on a mountainside you have a bucket and a hose and a sink at chest level that is filled with cool water. The host of the villa will explain that you need to fill the sink in the morning, and access the water with the bucket as you need it throughout the very sweaty day. The hose works best for sand between the toes though. Just spray and spray and spray.

Marcus, Kristen, Kelly, David Wade and 3 others said thanks.

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Lia Pas

inter-disciplinary creator/performer

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