Showering At HKU

January 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

The morning after I arrived in Hong Kong, I took a shower to scrub off the grime of traveling. I’ve never had communal floor showers before, but the stalls looked relatively clean, so I thought I’d give it a go. I entered the stall and turned on the water, but it sprayed harder than I expected and left a puddle outside the shower curtain.

I hopped into the next shower and turned it on, but it wouldn’t warm up, even on the hottest setting. The water felt tolerable on my arm, so I stuck my whole head under it. This turned out to be a bad decision, because the water was freezing. I tried to get minimally wet while washing my hair as I took the one of the shortest showers of my life. Teeth chattering, I wrapped myself in my towel and hurried back to my room, which was just as cold.

Rosaline was still sleeping, but Nadia was awake, and I asked her if the hot water turned on or off at a certain time of day, since I remembered that would be the case sometimes in mainland China due to water shortages.

“You have to turn on the hot water separately,” Rosaline mutter from underneath the covers.
“What??” I asked, thinking back to if I’d seen another lever in the shower stall.
“The switches are by the door, next to the light switch.”
“Ohh…”

The next morning, I was determined to have a pleasant bathing experience. Armed with my towel and shampoo, I marched to the shower room and flipped the switch for stall #4, closest to the windows [opaque ones, don’t worry]. Even though I turned on the hot water, it only got lukewarm at best. Disappointed, I cleaned myself quickly and jumped out. I usually shower at night, but since I had been staying out at night until 4AM, I could only shower in the mornings.

My next experience was only slightly better — the water was scalding in the beginning, so I tried to turn it down a little bit. I had a hot shower for two minutes before it turned ass-freezingly cold again. Nadia said that the water seemed to stay warm when she showered in the evening, so I tried that the next time. It was my first enjoyable shower of the week. I haven’t completely figured out the system yet, but I hope that consistently hot showers won’t be a luxury of the past while I’m here.

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