Now how exactly am I supposed to take a shower?

This morning I am packing up to leave this beautiful oasis in Portugal for a few days at a Permaculture cooperative about two hours from Porto. It sounds like a really interesting place and we will be staying in little personal hobbit holes. At least that’s what these little one person shelters look like to me on the website.

In the middle of my packing, I decided I needed to take a shower, but when I went into the bathroom, this is the control panel I was confronted with. Above me was a movable showerhead, and to my left a seat molded into the shower with a bunch of built-in showerheads embedded in the plastic. It seems as if this is some kind of built-in shower water massage spa, but how the hell am I supposed to use it? All I want is a nice hot stream of water so I can wash my hair and get the sweat off my body, but this flat panel is totally confounding.

It’s the same thing when I try to use the dishwasher that’s in the kitchen or the European washing machine. Everything about the control panels is completely unfamiliar to me. Thankfully, my friend Michaela is European and seems to have no trouble figuring out how to turn on and run these machines. Unfortunately she is not taking a shower with me this morning.

This is actually one of the things I love the most about travel, how what is ordinary and taking for granted at home, becomes a mystery and an adventure overseas.

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