Davao Diary- The Comfort Room

This is something I remembered from when we lived in Okinawa, which is also a coral island in the China sea, so many of the construction resources and materials are similar, and the climate needs are nearly identical (except Okinawa gets typhoons regularly and Mindano doesn’t, especially Southern Mindanao). It’s the pleasure of feeling cold tile against your bare feet on a hot, humid day. There are throw rugs outside the bathroom doors and mats to wipe your feet near the entrances (removing shoes is not as mandatory as it is in other parts of Asia, but it’s still quite common and you should always ask). But within the house the floors are generally tile, so far as I know. I haven’t been in many, but of those dozen or so I have seen, and those I’ve seen on the two Filipino dramas I’ve watched, I don’t recall seeing carpet anywhere, which makes perfect sense.

About the bathrooms – You don’t have hot water on tap anywhere. It’s all one tap, and only cold water comes out. In the guest house the water was slightly warmer than room temperature. Here in our house, the water from the shower was brisk and cold as a mountain stream. My son said he couldn’t breathe when he took a shower in it. I usually take cooler showers than most, and I found it a painful experience to contemplate, and it took me ten minutes of agonizing outside the shower before I grew brave enough to inch my way in, whimpering and gasping. It’s not that cold out of the kitchen tap, sadly.
Anyway, you buy a special hot water heater for your shower if you want to take hot showers. The one at the guest house turned the tepid water from mildly tepid to downright lukewarm but that was the best it did. Ours makes the water hot enough to turn the HM’s skin red. It doesn’t turn mine that shade, because I wouldn’t use that setting unless I wished to cook rather than clean myself.

The shower is just part of the bathroom, not separate. If you want a shower curtain, you get a tension rod and a curtain and create the partition yourself. Our shower has about a two inch rise dividing the floor of the shower from the rest of the bathroom, but it is largely for psychological purposes, as there is a deliberate opening in one section and a drain in the middle of the bathroom floor as well as the floor of the shower. There is a hose for showering, and one for spraying down the bathroom when you (or your helper) scrub it) Basically, the bathroom is a wet room. That is why, in a well ordered household, there will be a rug or mat outside the bathroom door and at least one pair of slippers or shower shoes or flip flops or *something* you can wear on your feet if you want to keep them dry. It’s one thing if you’re barefoot- it’s just clean water, at least in my house, where the menfolk think a male who can’t aim and dribbles on the floor like a child instead of a responsible toilet trained adult is something to be ashamed of. Ahem. Sorry. Soapbox set aside for now. But if you are in socks or regular soft slippers, you don’t want to step on the wet floor. So you have slip on shoes outside the bathroom door, because if the bathroom has been cleaned in the last few hours or somebody has taken a shower in the last few hours, the floor is going to be wet.

I can’t explain why it is, but this photograph, and the real life image makes me indescribably happy. Everytime I see our rack of shoes outside the front door or this tidily arranged group of shoes on the mat outside my comfort room door, all my insides just smile and smile and smile.

*It will be a shower, and not a bath, most likely. Our house doesn’t have a bathtub and we were told not to expect to find one that would.

**Understand that these observations are made from the perspective of somebody living on the charity of others for these two years, not a business person. If you were to come here via something like a company transfer or because you inherited a huge chunk of change and wished to spend it living in Paradise, well, your perspective would be quite different.

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