My Shower

I had a request for a blog post about Tagalog (because my readers are awesome and love languages). But I think I’ll wait on that one until I actually know a bit more about the language. For today, I thought you guys might be interested in hearing about my shower.

So, I seriously won the host family lottery. My family lives in a huge house, one which is very clean and well-lit (not necessarily a given here), and in particular, we have a very nice, western-style bathroom, with a toilet that flushes all by itself, and a sink with a faucet. It’s about twice the size of the bathrooms in the other houses I’ve visited (three times the size of some).

But that’s not to say it’s not different from what Americans are used to.

This is the shower. The dipper is called a tabo, and basically, you sit on the little stool and use the tabo to ladle water over your body as you wash.

The water isn’t heated, so it can be pretty shocking, especially the first few ladles full. (I usually start with my feet and legs, then work up to my torso and head.) If the person who used the bucket last remembered to refill the bucket, then maybe the water is closer to the ambient temperature (which, around here, is really quite warm), but if you have to draw it yourself, it’s considerably cooler.

I’m still not very good at bathing this way, and is particular I have trouble getting my hair washed. I have a LOT of hair–it’s thick and long–and it needs to be both shampooed and conditioned. Rinsing the conditioner out thoroughly is a little rough when you don’t have any water pressure.

On the other hand, you see the size of that bucket? I estimate it’s about five gallons, maybe a little less. I can wash my entire body with about one full bucket of water (unless I’m shaving my legs, in which case I require a bit more). Someone with shorter hair could probably use even less.

That is a really damn efficient bath. Really, if you live in a place where the summers are warm enough, and you’re serious about reducing your impact, this would be something to consider. (You wouldn’t want to do it with the AC running, but if you’re crazy enough to try bucket bathing for the environment, you’re probably not running an AC.)

It’s also incredibly refreshing on a hot day. I kind of relish the opportunity to feel COLD, because the rest of the time I feel hot, sticky, and clammy.

So, there you are! Bucket bathing: just something that’s part of my life now.