How to Use a Balkan Shower

Trying to stay clean while traveling is always an ordeal. Some bathrooms are flip-flop only territory. Others are non-existent. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what the shower is like because you’re sweating all the time, it’s just a daily nicety you do for the sake of civility.
But, then there are the showers in Slavic Balkan countries. They’re wacky. Actually, let me put in a mention right now that my friends in the Balkans find the showers in the US to be equally backwards, so it’s really just a point of view thing in the end. Still, I would like to share my Balkan Shower experiences with those coming from North America.
First off, always remember the 4P’s: Preparation, Plenty of Towels, Positioning, and Power. These are key items. Preparation is best accomplished by knowing what you’re getting in to. Taking in US perceptions of what a shower should be is only going to cause harm. You see, a lot of these showers don’t have doors. Those that do have doors don’t really close properly. And then there’s that shower head that isn’t stationary and the drain in the floor. You need to prepare for the fact that the drain is there because you will make a mess and it’s to be expected.
Next, realize that you need two, maybe three towels to use one of these showers. There is the one to dry yourself with to start off. Then you need the one to put on the floor to mop up your mess. The third one is recommended in case you have a blow out on the other two. I’ve had situations in the doorless/curtainless showers where I soaked my original towel by being careless and was thusly screwed in getting myself dry.
Lastly, pay close attention to your position in the shower. You can’t flap your arms all over the place and expect the water to stay in any sort of reasonable containment. No, you need to kind of back yourself in to a corner and always have the shower head shooting towards the wall. Just because that shower head can have next to no flow, doesn’t mean pointing it out in to the bathroom isn’t going to cause problems.
Lastly is the power issue. Many places have the hot water heater in the bathroom and on a separate switch. If you don’t turn that switch on, you don’t get hot water. I’ve never quite gotten this one myself, but I suppose it conserves power somehow when no one else is around for some time. Otherwise, it’s just stupid, since it requires a lot of power to get water back up to hot once it has cooled off. I stayed in many a place I thought had no hot water until I realized there was this little switch that was right by the light switch to the bathroom to turn on the heater.
And that’s about it. Follow these four simple guidelines and you’re bound to remain clean when in the lands of Southern Slavs. Oh, one last thing. Some people may tell you to turn off the water heater when showering for fear of electrocution. I’ve thought about this a bit and find it to be basically impossible due to how electricity finds the path of least resistance. Just nod your head and agree when they say this. Of course, if you get shocked by a water heater, don’t blame me. I got a B- in Physics.
How to Use a Balkan Shower