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How to Take a Good “Suicide Shower” in Brazil

I’ve been taking cold showers for a week in Cabo Frio because I have no idea how to turn on the hot water.

Both taps offer cold water. It’s a mystery to me but not a particularly interesting one to solve—don’t feel sorry for me, it’s so hot that I’m happy to take cold showers.

Honestly, I’d rather take a suicide shower. They are more reliable once you conveniently forget about basic physics, the unlikely mix of water and electricity and exposed wires above your (wet) head.

Yes, there’s a reason why they are nicknamed “suicide showers” by safety-obsessed foreigners.

In southern Brazil, in cities like São Paulo or Curitiba where it does get “cold” in the winter (laughing in Canadian), you’re more likely to have the regular two-tap shower—one for hot water, one for cold water, just find the perfect temperature yourself.

Elsewhere in Brazil, just like in many countries in Central and South America, suicide showers are the rule.

A suicide shower only has one tap. The water is heated electrically through the showerhead, which is why it’s bigger than your average showerhead. There are always wires taped to the (wet) wall or arranged in some magical way above your head.

It’s okay.

I mean, it should be okay.

Turn on the tap.

Chances are, the water will be cold because many people like to shower with cold water (looking at you, Feng). If you’re not a monster and if you want to rinse shampoo more easily, you’re gonna want hot or at least lukewarm water.

There should be either a switch on the showerhead or a stick to adjust the temperature—nothing fancy, it’s usually the three basic settings like cold, lukewarm or hot. Once it’s on, adjusting the pressure also helps to adjust the temperature—low water flow for hotter water, and more water pressure for colder water, because the built-in heater can’t keep up.

The great thing with suicide showers is that they are cheap to install and you’ll never run out of hot water.

And if you’re afraid of electric shocks, well, keep your Havaianas on when you shower!

A typical "suicide shower", Pôrto Belo
A typical “suicide shower”, Pôrto Belo
First, turn it on
First, turn it on
Then use the little stick to adjust the temperature
Then use the little stick to adjust the temperature
Then use the little stick to adjust the temperature
Then use the little stick to adjust the temperature
Then use the little stick to adjust the temperature
Then use the little stick to adjust the temperature
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Zhu

French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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