What is a South American Suicide Shower?
Have you ever heard of a suicide shower? I hadn’t until I moved to South America this year. Now, unfortunately, I can tell you all about them.
I’ve had a lot of experience with these suicide showers in the past few months and so far, I’ve lived to tell the tale.
What is a Suicide Shower?
Suicide shower is the nickname given to electrically heated showers. As you can probably guess, the name originates from the fact that combining water and electricity usually doesn’t end too well. But, for some reason down here in Peru this is the water heating system of choice, which means Daniel and I have been showering under exposed electric wires for the past 3 months.
Really, I promise I’m not being dramatic here. The term “suicide shower” is a real nickname used for these ridiculous death contraptions and they have caused multiple deaths around the world. Google it if you don’t believe me. (But really don’t. It’s sad.)
Our suicide shower was especially bad in Cusco, where the wires ran out of the light socket and directly into the shower head. Most of them were just taped together with electrical tape and sticking out haphazardly (seriously how many wires does it need?!) with no sort of order or arrangement to them at all.
The water gets heated as it runs through the shower head itself, so another fun aspect of a suicide shower is the lower the water pressure is, the hotter the water will be. That means you can have a warmish shower with ok water pressure, or you can have a hot shower a couple drops at a time. When you have a mane like mine, this means spending even longer in the death trap.
After living in Peru for three months I now consider myself an expert in the subject of sketchy shower practices. Without further ado, I present:
The Complete Guide to Surviving a Suicide Shower
Step 1: Lower your hygiene standards so you are ok with showering as little as possible (never mind the strenuous hikes and climbs you are doing weekly in this part of the world). Once or twice a week is best.
Step 2: Brush your hair and prep everything you need so you can get in and out of there as fast as possible.
Step 3: Turn on the suicide shower and think of anything else except the exposed wires that are running into the shower head, ready and waiting to kill you when you least expect it. Say a prayer.
Step 4: Decide you’re not going down in a shower related accident, wimp out, turn off the shower, and heat up a pot of water for the sad and pathetic bucket shower you deserve.
ANYWAY this is usually the method I go for! I am still alive so it has definitely been working well so far!
If you come across one of these bad boys on your travels through South America, keep this advice in mind because you surely don’t want to be remembered as the backpacker who was killed by a shower 🙂
Good luck and happy travels!
PS explore the Peru Travel Guide for hiking, food, and adventure recommendations, or read more of my travel musings like In Defense of the “T” Word: When did Tourist Become So Negative? or The Truth About Traveling Full-time.
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