66 – 64 Days Remaining
Who knew that showering in South America could be so dangerous??? Well, let me introduce you to the South American electric shower.
It makes me shiver just thinking about it. I first came across one of these showers in Colombia. It is an electric shower, but not the normal electric shower you would come across in England. Instead of the electric cables being in a safe box or behind the wall, they run along the top of the shower. The cables are just there mixed in with all the water and shampoo. Not only that but these showers are never too high so you have to watch yourself when you put your arms up to wash your hair. A simple touch can give you the biggest shock!
These showers are seriously flawed and not just because one touch can electrocute you. The big round box above the shower head is where the water gets hot (ha-ha hot, I wish). In order for the water to get hot you have to have as little water flowing through the shower head as possible. Here’s a simple shower equation for you…
little water pressure = warmish water coming through the shower head
If you increase the water pressure the electricity will cut out and you will just be left standing there naked with cold water flowing through your hair. Every single time I’ve checked into a hostel I have to draw back the curtain to see if it’s going to be a couple of days with the dangerous South American Electric Shower. They only popped up a couple of times in Colombia and the odd time in Ecuador but in Peru they were everywhere. This was really bad especially as most of the places I stayed were over 2000m high! You don’t want a shower that can only give you a little trickle of warm water mixed in with an electric shock at that altitude.
I’d heard from passing travellers that these showers continued into Bolivia and even dominated all bathrooms. No one ever said they’d stayed somewhere with a gas shower. I’d prepared myself for the worst. If there would only be the South American Electric Shower in some of the highest places in the world I’ll just not shower.
However I was in for a surprise. The South American Electric Shower does indeed continue into Bolivia BUT the Bolivians have got something right. Their crazy electric-shocking showers look the same but they can take a higher pressure of water! WOOHOO! A new shower equation for you…
High water pressure = hot water coming through the shower head
It’s almost like a normal shower. I must seem mental getting excited about a hot shower, but you try showering at this altitude with only the chance of warmish water and you’d feel the same.
Although it’s not all good news there is one downside to the improved South American Electric Shower. The Bolivian’s have got it right but not perfect. Unfortunately in the Bolivian South American Electric Shower you get a small electric shock every time you touch the tap to turn the water on or off. In the hostel I’m staying at now they’ve put rubber tape around the tap but you can still feel the shock a little. Gaaaah! Is this normal??
Oh well I can cope, if a little electric shock is all it takes to get a hot shower then I’m in! (I must remember to wear my rubber flip flops in all future showers).
Every night I go to bed dreaming of a gas shower.
Click here to read my previous blog, An Ocean Not a Lake, about the incredible Lake Titicaca.
Or check out an older blog about South American border crossings.
2 Comments Add yours
I feel your pain. We just got back from a tour to 3000m plus and was told that yes there’s hot water, but not for 24hours!! We found out that meant there’s never hot water 😦
Argghhhh they’re all liars!!! There’s never hot water!! Brrrr. I hope you get back down to 0m and a hot shower soon 🙂