29. a functioning shower*
It’s not much to ask for, is it? It’s a very privileged thing to be thankful for, I guess. Especially considering that many people of this world consider safe drinking water a luxury.
But it was a rainfall showerhead with 5 trickles of rain that prompted me to turn toward Pete and say the following words.
“I think I might be an adult.”
Shocking, I know.
This was at the end of 15 days of Moroccan Motoring. We had returned to the cockroach hosting riad from which we began the journey 14 days prior. At the time, 14 days earlier, it seemed exciting and exotic and the pitiful excuse for a shower just one of those quaint aspects of travelling that seem unimportant in comparison to the experience that lies ahead. 14 days later, I was recovering from my second round of ‘Moroccan malaise’ and arriving to yet another room of questionable cleanliness was heartbreaking.
As I predicted in my final post in the Guest Series, Pete did wander the streets of Marrakech alone for the day. But I wasn’t stressing about packing and to-do lists. I was watching second-rate rom-coms, family-friendly comedies and a documentary about a basketball player on a TV Pete rigged to get the only English-speaking channel. When the heat and stillness of the room got to me, I crawled to the bathroom and looked in dismay at the shower. (I was crawling, not because I was that ill, but because the TV rigging required the room to be criss-crossed with cables that were precariously connected to various outlets and antenna.) Surprisingly, this shower had a lukewarm setting and five streams of rain, so an improvement, all in all.
In the course of the 15 day tour, I can remember about 3 passable showers. Passable here had two requirements 1) luke-warm water 2) pressure greater than spit. One of these three showers did not pass muster for Pete, as it apparently only had enough warm water for one shower that morning. So that takes it down to two.
I must take time out to tell you about one of these passable showers in particular. It was in Ait BenHaddou. For those movie buffs out there, this is the small market town on the edge of the Sahara that historically served as a stopping point for desert caravans to pay tax on their wares on their way to the bigger cities to the north. Now it serves as a movie set. First, for Lawrence of Arabia, in more recent productions, Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven. Back to the shower.
When we arrived, Pete was suffering from his second round of ‘Moroccan malaise.’ On first viewing the shower attached to our room, I was not hopeful. The showerhead was held together with grey tape. As I was viewing this repair from the toilet I had to use side-saddle because the room was too narrow to sit properly without my knees pressing painfully into the opposite wall, or smacking my head on the way as I got up, I did not hold out much hope for this shower to bring any relief to Pete.
Turns out, the grey tape was to keep the shower head down, not up. The pressure was so powerful that within 30 seconds of beginning my shower, the showerhead migrated upward so that the water was basically shooting out horizontally from the wall. I had to stand about three feet away from the shower to catch the water as it arched back downward.
Fabulous!!!!!! I won’t mention that each shower threatened to flood the little closet that was our bathroom. Oops!
So back to that last shower in Marrakech which prompted me to wonder at my arrival at adulthood on the eve of my 33rd birthday. It was a rude awakening, really. On our first wedding anniversary, Pete and I made a list of things we would like to accomplish by our 5th wedding anniversary. One of those items was completing another expedition like the one on which we met.
That day in Marrakech, we looked at each other and came to the realization that we may not be able to complete that list item in the way we hoped. We were at the end of a 15 day tour which had many more luxuries than our previous African adventure, but we were much more exhausted mentally and physically than we ever remembered being 6 years ago.
We have become accustomed to our home comforts. We like our pillows and mattress just so, and we like our showers hot and pressurized. It’s true that the drug of new love and adventure may be softening our memories of that first adventure to a cheery rose-hue, and we don’t wish to seem like spoiled city folk that can’t take a little grime in the pursuit of adventure, but after 15 days in a cramped car and two rounds of sickness each, we just wanted a proper shower.
Today, as I prepared for another day in our home sweet home, the hot water suddenly gave out and I was immediately reminded of the beauty of the ‘developed’ world.
Today, I am thankful for functioning showers and the revelations that sometimes come with the ability to bathe. Or not.