March 20, 2007 | By More


Ah, those Brazilian showers. Fascinating devices, so they are. To a Brazilian, there is nothing intrinsecally wrong in the combination of electric wires and running water. You will come across this peculiar understanding of physics when you first take a shower at your pousada. You first impression will be, hold on, the installation of the shower hasn’t been completed. Oh, how wrong you will be. It is ready, yes. Above your head, you will see the central pice of the shower, that contains the resistance that heats up the water. If you are unlucky, you will also see some electrical wires with a bit of insulating tape at their end. You will most certainly find a tiny tube connected to the central piece of the shower with a tiny shower head at the other end.

So far, so good. Above your heads, you will be able to make out a switch with two positions: inverno (winter) and verão (summer). Because it’s warm outside, you leave the button on the position you found it, “verão”. Wrong choice. You wait, wait and wait, and all that comes through the shower is cold water. Where is that warm water you have been waiting for? That’s it, I’m going to try inverno.

If the shower wasn’t properly installed, you will get your first electric shock now. This is the time to let some of those expletives out. Sometimes it’s just an uncomfortable tickling sensation that falls short of a shock. The same can happen when you turn the tap/faucet. You’d better get used to it. As it happens, this wonderful discovery of the excellent properties of water and metal as conductors of electricity will happen with your head completely covered in shampoo and your vision impaired.

But I digress. Let’s go back to the inverno position of the switch. Oh dear, apparently nothing much changed. Still cold. Soon, your patience is rewarded, a tiny trickle of hot water hits your skin. When you move the switch to the inverno position there is a reduction on the amount of water leaving the shower. And it is now when you make that terrible terrible decision. You turn the tap/faucet on full. Soon, torrents of scalding hot water are turning you into a roast.

Unavoidably, you promise yourself you will only take cold showers during the duration of your stay in Brazil.


Category: Alerts, Typical Brazilian

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