Guatemalan Suicide Showers
I’m terrified I’m going to fry myself and they will find my body laying on the shower floor jerking back and forth as 50 amps of raw power stylizing my blond hair with a popping noise to look like Billy Idol in the Rebel Yell video. It all started when they explained how hot water works in Guatemala. At both the hotel in Guatemala City and in the host family house here in Quetzaltenango, there is no hot water heater and running hot water. Instead, kitchen water is boiled on the stove and shower water is creatively heated directly at the shower head by running two thick wires and 50 amps of power into a metal shower head. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem for me if the shower head were mounted seven or eight feet off the floor. But, with the average height of a grown man being only 4 foot 6 inches among the Maya natives and 5 foot 2 inches for Latin men. I’m six foot six and the shower head is mounted about six feet off the floor. To get hot water, you turn the single knob slowly only a quarter turn or so, enough so that the water starts running. At this point, if you’ve done it slow enough, the lights will dim, and a buzzing noise will begin. When you put your hand under the water it is almost scalding hot. If you did it wrong, you won’t get buzzing, dimming of lights and have freaking cold water. Once the hot water is coming down, hop in, but don’t forget shower safety (some tips below).
- Don’t touch the shower head when hot water is running!
- Don’t lift your hands above your head while standing near shower head!
- Don’t stand up after leaning over under shower head!
- Don’t fry yourself to a crisp with 50 amps of power under shower head
- Don’t open your mouth or swallow while in shower
- Somehow remember to wash yourself while in shower