Hot Showers in Jamaica – Cost: About $7
When I got my first apartment in Jamaica in April of last year, it had hot water. I moved to a brand new building last summer – into a brand new studio apartment. It has no hot water. I wasn’t aware of this when I moved in because it’s not something we have to think about in the states because all apartments as a matter of course come with hot water, right?
Note: Read all posts in this “living in Jamaica” series.
Apparently here in Jamaica though, it’s not out of the norm for an apartment NOT to have hot water. I braved the cold showers for months but, except for rare occasions, I’m not a cold shower kind of girl. So when I returned this month, I brought with me a solar shower.
Cost in currency: $7.
Cost to me: Priceless.
Getting Hot Water in an Apartment in Jamaica
There are contraptions you can buy to put on your shower that will give you hot water. They run anywhere from about $35 on up to about $120, plus the cost to have someone to install it. This can be anywhere from about $30-$50.
So, getting hot shower water is no big deal and not too expensive. But, it’s the running around and getting everything and scheduling with the landlord and an electrician to get the thingamabob installed is what has caused me to procrastinate.
The building I live in is constructed out of stone, which means that there’s going to have to be some drilling in the shower stall, some re-installation of tiles, etc. My landlord is great and would be very accommodating but as I’ll be moving again in a few months, I didn’t want to have all of this done, then have to go through it all again in a few months.
Why Am I Moving Again?
I’ll be moving to the top floor of the current building I live in – which has three-quarter views of the ocean with a balcony. I can’t wait! But, the top floor is not finished yet. I’m currently on the first floor.
The building is in stages of construction. Only the first floor was finished when I moved in and there are only three tenants – me and two others.
The reason the landlord/owner hasn’t finished the building is because most homes/apartment buildings here in Jamaica are not constructed by way of loan; ie, many don’t take out mortgages like we do in the states (which I think is hella smart!).
You’ll see a lot of homes in Jamaica in various stages of construction. It may take some 10 or 15 years or more to finish building their home. But when it’s finished, it’s all paid for. Considering the foreclosure crisis we’re still experiencing in the states, we could learn a lesson from this supposedly “third-world” country.
The landlord is starting on the third floor now, and my apartment up there should be done probably around August or so.
Solar Showers: What They Are & Why They’re So Great
A friend of my sister’s back in the states keeps provisions on hand for things like when the lights go out, when there’s no water, etc. She’s one of those eccentric types, but she’s always prepared for everything.
For example, if you invite her over for a BBQ, you don’t have to worry about her having somewhere to sit or getting her a cold drink because she’ll come with her “lawn chair setup;” complete with umbrella, cooler, bottle of rum, coke and a bag of ice.
She told my sister once that she gets a lot of her gear from the camping department. So as I was browsing the camping department of my local Walmart for a rain slicker to cover my laptop bag (with no car, I do a lot of walking in Negril and those rain showers can come out of nowhere), I spotted these things called “solar showers.”
As the photo illustrates, it’s basically just a big plastic bag with a shower hose attached to the end. You sit it in the sun for a few hours and then hang it in your shower and let loose the shower hose to bathe with.
And you know what? It works beautifully!
The water gets really warm; in fact, it can get really hot and you could burn yourself if you’re not careful. The most delightful surprise for me though was that the little spray hose on it comes with some pretty good pressure. I was skeptical, but it does the job just great.
The only thing I don’t like is that I have to stoop down in the shower to rinse off because if you raise the hose, you cut off the water flow. But, I just plop down in the tub like a two-year-old and get my shower on! ANYTHING beats cold water (I literally can’t stand cold shower water; again, except on very rare occasions).
Before discovering the solar shower, I was all set to get the hot water contraption in my current apartment when I got back this month. But now, I have no problems waiting until I move upstairs. Because I’ll be in this building for a few years at least, I’m waiting to invest in this more permanent solution.
Speaking of Bathing
Tomorrow, I’m going on a little road trip for the weekend. Part of this will consist of a visit to the hot mineral springs (Bath Fountain) in the parish of St. Thomas here in Jamaica. I’ll be shooting some video and will share it in my next post in the series.
That’s it for this Girl a Go Go this week. Enjoy the weekend!
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