The Shower Bucket

On our second day in Kollum, we went on an eco tourism tour of the surrounding countryside. This required a three hour ride which involved much puking on my part. I’ve never been carsick in my life, but riding in a van with covered windows through Indian traffic is apparently more than I can handle. Thankfully we arrived alive.


Please forgive my super shiny face, I’ve given up.


We also found a monkey. A real live wild monkey. Just running around like that was a totally normal thing to be doing.


We also had lunch in this giant open air restaurant on top of a hill.DSC_0069

And chose this moment to dive into the world of eating with our hands. We made a giant mess.


While we were eating, a large group of school children came in. They demanded pictures with us and we got to spend about an hour talking to the teachers. They were very neat women, I wish we could have stayed longer.


I also ran into a nun who lives in Corpus Christi and is on a holy trip. Small world.


After visiting with her, we met a local woman who makes honey.


It was then poured very suddenly into our hands for us to try. So try we did.


It was a good time to remember that we hadn’t washed our hands in a bit. Oh well, we are still alive. After the honey we went on a very long and very sweaty “nature hike” to a dam. I only like nature when it’s at 50 degrees or below.



After slogging though all that nature, we took a lovely three hour bus ride home. While I would typically be asleep during this type of ride, the constant swerving and sudden stopping makes it entirely impossible. Needless to say, we were all a little bit grumpy and tired when we got home. And completely adhered to the vinyl van seats thanks to the lack of air conditioning and inability to open the windows.


Not impressed. We had just enough time to get home and rinse off before we were set to attend our next Rotary meeting. I normally get really stressed about the meetings because we each have to give a presentation and it involves meeting about 50 or so strangers.

I’m getting better at understanding their accents and learning which words I should use, but it is still pretty difficult to communicate at times. Thankfully, I made friends with Parvarti who was at every meeting with her dad because he is a Rotary big wig. I’ve almost got her convinced to run away to Corpus Christi.


She is so smart and her favorite thing to do is read. When she grows up she wants to be an English professor. It was pretty much love at first sight, well except for the fact that she loves Justin Bieber. We can work on that.

In other news, I think I’ve got several key things figured out. I can finally turn my lights and my fan on.

That is the one outlet in my room and those are the switches that control all the electricity in my bedroom and bathroom. There is also a power switch that turns on the plug, it took me way too long to figure that out.

Additionally, I can now bathe. The first night I tried to use that blue sprayer thing, but it just barely sprinkles water on the skin and my shower took 30 minutes. I also never got the soap out of my hair. I felt pretty stupid for not being able to figure it out, but I caved and asked my host mother and she pointed me to the bucket system.


It took me a couple of times to master the semantics of bathing with a bucket, but I finally can get the soap out of my hair. I’ve even decreased the amount of water I need to use by half. Gold star for this wasteful American.

There also isn’t a shower curtain, so I get really stressed about trying not to soak the entire bathroom. On my first night with the bucket, I managed to drench two rolls of my precious toilet paper. Hard times.

The final conundrum we have all faced is the bed. There is just one sheet. It’s not a fitted sheet, it’s  just the top sheet. I don’t know if I go under it (and on the mattress) or over it (and have no covers). I’ve just been wrapping up like a burrito as I do eventually cool down at night. Any advice or explanation from someone who knows how this works would be greatly appreciated.

In fantastic news, we moved cities today and I am in the most amazing house (seriously, it’s the nicest home I’ve ever been in) that has wifi. Even though I miss my last host family and I cried like a baby for several hours this morning, I’m in heaven.


Filed under India

17 Responses to The Shower Bucket

  1. Carrie

    I would have died in that van…car sick, then panic. Ugh. Also, I can’t imagine how you’re wearing long sleeves and pants! Can you buy like 20 sleeveless, light-weight sundresses for the remainder of the trip? You must be so hot! Sounds like they are keeping you guys super busy, too. Love reading these…keep posting.

  2. Now why are you wearing a long sleeved shirt in India? Just looking at you it makes me sweat! That’s crazy!

  3. Gina

    Great pictures!

  4. betsy

    hahahaha, omfg, I am loving your travel journal! I’d totally burrito-up in that sheet, sounds like you did it right. bucket washing on the other hand, ive got no idea. i probably wouldve tried to sit in it or something.

  5. Laura

    wow. I am so beyond jealous of your experiences & hope some day to do something similar!! Parvarti seems like my type of girl too. love kids who love to read, being an English teacher & all haha
    perhaps buy a blanket or use a towel as a top sheet? that would drive me nuts, too!

  6. Annie

    Loving your travel journal! :)

    All these Indian women are gorgeous. I’d love to know their beauty tips!

  7. Miriam

    Did you try to ask for another sheet for your bed? :)

    If they don’t have a spear one I think burritos is the thing to do! ;)

  8. Looks like an incredible trip! My business partner went on a missions trip to India and fell in love. I will have to get over there sometime soon. Those experiences are priceless!

  9. That sounds disgusting and scary. What an incredible trip!

  10. Bridget

    Does Parvati have a twin sister named Padma perchance? Just wondering for totally non-Harry Potter related reasons.

  11. Sam

    Your burrito-sheet comment cracked me up. Classic. We too have switches to turn on power points (outlets) in Australia. Must be a brittish electrical thing.
    When I was living in the states, I used to get quizzical looks when asking where the power point was. I was often told there was no presentation near by.

  12. Sarah W.

    looks so amazing! I hope I can visit there someday.

  13. I understand the bucket shower. I learned how to do that for financial reasons. I spent two summers working & camping (yes, I lived i n a tent) four months at a time in the Yukon. Showers were at the laundromat and were coin-op. $1 for 4 minutes. I used the shampoo, rinse, and soap up and fill my bucket with my first four minutes. Shave while the water was off and then rinse with a second four minutes. That was 15 years ago and to this day, I take a speedy shower. :)

  14. Loving the India posts, Cely! Yay for being force-fed mounds of rice, pictures with school kids, and wearing long sleeves in insane heat! I never quite understood the one sheet thing, either – burrito sounds like a good option.

  15. Oh man, bucket showers. Sounds like what my grandfather used to call “Navy Showers” whenever he thought I was wasting too much water/time in the shower when our family was on vacation. Glad you’re having fun!

  16. Caroline

    Miss you friend!! That little girl is gorgeous. Let’s bring her home!!

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