For the Want of Cold Water

Nepal – June 2012

As one travels, especially in more remote areas, you get used to there either being no hot water or, in some instances, no water at all. The lodge I was staying at in the Peruvian Amazon, for example, had a generator that only ran for a few hours a day. This meant two things: First, the ceiling fan in my room was mostly for decoration, and second, no hot water. Given the heat and humidity, however, a cold shower was welcomed.

Or there was the time I was making my way to the base camp of Mount Everest through increasingly more remote Tibet where the water went from cold to non-existent. Upon my return, when the water returned, it was cold. As it was also cold outside, I bathed with wet wipes that I borrowed from another traveler for several days. When hot water did return days later and I washed my hair, the descending water resembled chocolate milk.

Lumbini, Nepal, however, is the first time there was no cold water. Admittedly, we were there in summer, which is not the ideal time to visit the area. Our room claimed to have air conditioning, which amounted to a trickle of air coming from a narrow vent nowhere near our beds that was occasionally not hot. Perfect time for a cold shower, however there’s only hot water. And not just hot water but scolding hot water. Both taps, sink and shower.

Thinking it might just be a momentary anomaly, I set to rearranging our room so that the bed is under the trickle of not always hot air. But, with the passing of time, it becomes clearer that the water is hot, full stop. So out come the wet wipes and the beginning of a night sleeping, or more accurately resting, above the sheets.

Around 4am my wife stirs me to inform me that the water temperature is finally not scolding. Knowing she can tolerate much higher temperatures than myself, I decide to leave the not scolding water to her and return to my restless sleep. Maybe the water will be cooler in the morning. Maybe not.

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