For weeks now people have been telling me to be careful in South America. “Watch out for thieves,” ” be careful of your purse,” ” don’t turn your back on drinks at the bar,” “be wary of sketchy characters,” ” look both ways before crossing the street;traffic is nuts”. People have come up with a plethora of safety tips and things to watch out for, but no one prepared me for what will ultimately be the death of me down here… Suicide showers. Although I briefly read about these 3rd world contraptions, I never really knew what to expect. Suicide showers are a home-installed, water heating system, where the hot water for a shower is heated inside the actual showerhead. A combination of stray wires, a lot of insulation tape and a sketchy combination of water and high voltages of electricity and VOILA! You’ve got warm water… sometimes. Occasionally, botched installations mean sparks flying from your showerhead: a “shocking” experience to say the least.
So I jumped in the shower yesterday morning and turned on the hot water. As I touched the knob, it felt like my hand had fallen asleep. I shook it out, figuring I’d slept on my arm wrong and tried again. This time I felt a major electrical shock go through my whole arm! I yelped, pulled away and tried for the cold knob: same thing! At this point, I had successfully turned the shower to scalding hot and couldn’t touch either knob. So I tried with a towel, but the shock went right through, causing my hand to seize and grab the whole thing tighter. I feebly attempted to change the water temperature for another couple minutes until I had to suck up my pride and ask Connor, a guy I had met only hours earlier, to come help me. “Hi, I’m the dumb blonde you met, and I can’t figure out how to work a shower without electrocuting myself!” Embarrassingly, He felt nothing… I felt like an idiot . Luckily for my pride however, when he tried the shower later, the same thing happened to him! Is it sad this makes me feel better? Since then, each time I’ve showered, different levels of electric currents have shocked my arm. Even flushing the toilet this morning I got zapped! Does this seem safe so close to water? The little I remember about electricity, is that it does NOT mix with water. If I wear rubber flip flops will that help? Either way, I suppose I will continually play Russian roulette with my life every time I bathe for the next 4 months. And to everyone giving advice out there about safety… Forget the harmless homeless people, and beware of cleanliness!