And I mean that in the literal sense of the statement, not in the "it's raining here all the time" way. Which it is. When it's not snowing. Or windy.
Though my new bathroom is gorgeous as can be (pictures will follow), the water system of London is pure and utter bullshit. How can civilized people live like this?!
First, as my friend Ozzie Luke will perfectly attest, there is a pure and utter lack of sense when it comes to the ideas of hot and cold water. Hot is boiling hot and could be used to make instantaneous black tea (black as the streets are gritty) and the cold is cold enough to basically make ice cubes out of as they fall out of the faucet. Really, my hands have never hurt so badly as I tried to wash dishes.
If you're lucky enough to have a combination faucet of some kind (which I am lucky enough to have, with all of the sinks in my apartment...this was a special thing I looked for when doing my viewings, because of the warnings I had gotten from Luke and others), you may get a combination that equals warm. Usually you will get boiling hot (if you're lucky enough to get something that resembles hot water on a normal basis) or freezing cold. There no happy medium. Even when the water is being premixed for you. Really.
This, apparently, also applies to their showers. Stupid as that sounds. And really, it took me several minutes of dumb staring at the thing to even figure out how to get the shower working in the first place. I figured out easily enough how to turn on the faucet that fills the tub, and how to get that temperature just perfectly...but then there was no lever to get the water to the shower head. Hence the dumb staring.
Now, in all fairness, I'd seen this kind of contraption before. In Thailand.
Yes, in that developing country I'd been in two months before. I'll repeat that: in that developing country I'd been in two months before. Developing country. Developing. Country.
And yet it was here, in my first world European apartment. On the "Grand Island" (as my boss calls it).
What the deuce?
Anyway, in Thailand they were smart enough not to bother with bath tubs (though admittedly I love the choice and missed them when I was in Finland), so I never had to bother with this situation. Hence the confusion now. And the mystification. And the feeling dumb.
After about 5 minutes of standing there completely dumbfounded (really, I searched the damn thing for buttons other than what was on the face, which wasn't clear), I eventually called my parents in to give it a go as well, to see if I had just stupidly missed something.
The answer was no.
Eventually we decided to just start pushing buttons on it. Clearly there were no other levers or buttons we'd missed on the bathtub itself, so, guess it was time for some very awkward trial and error.
We did figure out the button to push. It's the bottom one with the single red line on it. Obvious right? Hmph.
Anyway, the water pressure was pretty low, though it was hot, so I got in and continued to shower.
While I was in there though, thinking that maybe I should explore and possibly improve my situation, I tried the other buttons.
This was a horrid mistake.
The button with the single blue line quickly turned the water ice cold (well, within about 3 seconds...the machine itself is changing the water temperature as the water runs through it so it takes a little while to adjust the temperature you're commanding it to be). I was yelping as I pushed the button with the single red line again.
The button with the two double red lines? Burning hot magma water. I had to jump out of the way to avoid giving myself second degree burns. No wonder I hear sirens all over the city, this snazz is ridiculous. The water pressure didn't seem to improve on either of those either (though my mom claims afterwards that the double red lines setting does make the water pressure better, you just need to lower the temperature on the knob beforehand so you don't scald yourself).
And to turn the thing off? It's not by pushing the button of the setting you're already on. Hooo no, that'd be far too simple. You need to press the STOP button on the top. Obviously. :P Yeah, naturally.
After getting out of my mostly adventurous and unsatisfying shower I then had to step the two and a half feet down back to earth. For whatever reason the British feel the need to elevate their tubs to monumental heights. I'm not sure the reason for this other than to accentuate the fact that they are above the world/were above the world at some point in time. Something something imperialism. Or to keep old people from taking baths or showers. Can't tell. [It's okay, in actuality I understand that it's because the plumbing all fits underneath the tub and not into the floor or wall, as we do in the rest of the world/the States.]
Anyway, that was my first shower experience in my new apartment. Terrifying.
Pretty sure my main conclusion is that I'll be showering most of the week at my fancy gym. At least there they have incredible water pressure, unlimited hot water, and I can stay in there as long as I want without having to wonder how much my water bill will be.
Gym membership, you just became even better...