Friday, November 16, 2012

MY FIRST TIME: Episode Five: Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Synopsis: Our intrepid author and his Beloved are on their very first cross-cultural missions experience. To truly get caught up, and because it's been so long since Episode Four, maybe you should go read the previous posts in this series: Episode One: This is your captain speakingEpisode Two: And the Grammy goes to...Episode Three: How much is that urinal in the window?Episode Four: You can't get there from here

Beloved and I were the only married couple on the trip, but we fully anticipated separate housing...and, like almost everything else while we were in Panama, we found that our expectations were wrong. We were matched up with a local banker and actually had our own "guest house" in the family's back yard.

It was small/cozy, to be sure, but very comfortable with a ceiling fan over the mattress and box springs, which were on the cement floor, and our own bathroom: a sink, a commode, and a shower curtain separating the part of the room that had a shower head in the wall and a drain in the floor.

Two special notes about that shower...

Every afternoon, when we got back from our work project and as we were cleaning up for the evening's activity, we shared that shower with at least one gecko, clinging to the wall and enjoying the shade. We were told by our hosts that those were good lizards, because they ate bugs, which made us particularly sad when we opened our front door one afternoon to find that we had inadvertently squished one of those suckers flat in the door jamb.

The other thing to note is that, unlike every other showering experience we had in our subsequent two trips to Panama, our water was actually heated. True Truth: most water in Central America is not artificially heated except on a stove top, so all our other showers were experiments in self-torture as we turned the water on just long enough to have a heart attack and get wet, lathered up, then rinsed off to the sound of our own screams.

The magic of having a hot shower was accomplished by flipping a switch on the wall. That switch was connected to a mechanism that was wired to the shower head.

I tried desperately to forget that the contraption was called a widowmaker.

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