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10 February 2011

Nepal #13: Bathing will never be the same again.

What you're probably thinking is this: "Oh man, it must have sucked to shower without clean or hot water for 3 weeks." Well, that's not entirely true. Bathing in the village was a life-changing experience for this reason:


Sunrise at the public water tap: A breathtaking view!

Bathing in a Nepali village goes something like this (yes! back to lists):
  1. Gather all the necessary shower items into a bag.
  2. Take a gander (ha! I never use that word, but it's perfect) down the hill to the public water tap (hereafter referred to lovingly as the Big Tap).
  3. As you get closer, you slow down once it comes into view down the steep hill ahead. One of two things happen: (1) You (a woman) see men bathing. This results in immediate return to your house until later. (2) You see no one or only women at the Big Tap. In this case we experience option 2.
  4. Walk down the remaining trail (equivalent to 10 flights of stairs) until you arrive at the Big Tap.
  5. You have arrived at the Big Tap. This tap is basically a parking spot-sized slab of concrete with a 3 inch metal pipe sticking out of a side wall constantly pouring ground temperature water onto the concrete slab. There's a drain in the corner that drains to who-knows-where.
  6. Now it's time to shower. Since you're a woman, you take off all but your bottom layer of clothes (usually pants and a shirt). Now put on your lungi. Lungi? What's that? A lungi is basically a sarong. It's a tube of fabric that you step into and tie off at the top so it doesn't fall down. Once that's on, take your remaining clothing off from under it.
  7. Approach the big tap, trying not to slip on the incredibly slippery/algae-covered concrete floor. Wash your hair first because once your lungi gets wet, you want to get out of there as fast as possible.
  8. Now, get under the tap and completely soak your lungi with soap and water. Use the lungi like a giant sponge. Rinse.
  9. While you're there and already drenched, you might as well do some laundry.
  10. Squeeze as much water out of the lungi as possible. Repeat previous de-clothing process backwards. Yes, this results in very damp undergarments - hopefully you have a dry set to change into once you get home.
  11. Return all your clean, wet laundry and lungi to your bag and start heading home.
  12. Walk up the giant hill.
  13. Yes! You're finally home, and you are even more sweaty/smelly than when you started this whole adventure.
And that is why bathing in Nepal is so wonderful. Don't forget about the incredible view of the mountains! Also, when men bathe they don't use a lungi. Don't ask me how they do it - I was a strict follower of the rules as stated in Step 3 above.

Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the Big Tap or lungis, but here's a photo to give you the idea:

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