After a long day of hiking into a village, we were all pretty anxious for showers. Unfortunately, the nearby faucet and bucket designed for bathing was being cleaned.
Option two? A nearby waterfall. Sounds beautiful, right? An experience, yes?
As gentleman, Stephen & Chris encouraged Jenn & I to go first. We put on our sarongs and headed to the waterfall with about five locals.
Take note of our get up: our sarongs are a simple tube of Karen material pulled around us and tucked in at the top. We have towels over our shoulders, flip flops on, and shampoo in hand. I also brought my razor, which I realized later was much too ambitious.
This waterfall was relatively nearby–about half a kilometer. A little further than anticipated for a shower. This short distance also included a hike through the jungle, crossing about six smallish waterfalls with a decent current, a steep vertical climb of mossy rock, and crossing a hydropower engine for the village.
It was hilarious in many ways.
Our first challenge was to simply keep our sarongs up. It’s easier said than done while standing, but hiking in a loose robe wouldn’t be my first choice. There is something about stretching out to step over rushing water and sharp rocks without underclothes that feels very vulnerable. It’s also quite challenging to climb up a vertical rock with one hand on your falling sarong and the other grasping the shampoo & razor you’re questioning was worth bringing. Let’s just say there were some close calls, and I definitely was wishing we had decided to just share shampoo for this one!
There was also the challenge of keeping on flipflops in rushing waters. I laughed at Jenn when she lost hers down a waterfall (to be recovered by a competent local), but then lost mine three times following–all to be recovered by someone more competent than I.
By the time we were on our way back, now in very wet, heavy sarongs, we had someone carrying our shoes, another someone carrying our shampoos, and someone else in charge of lending a hand when needed. They had picked up on our inadequacies.
The actual bath was lovely. Having just finished rainy season, the water was forcefully coming off the mountain, so rather than attempting to hold tree roots in a pool of deep, swirling water, we sat on the rocks. We let this beautiful, fresh water flow over us, while we desperately grasped our sarongs. It was clumsy, and it encouraged stares and laughs.
It was funny enough that we did a re-creation for Chris & Stephen when we went to visit the waterfall the next afternoon.
And after hiking back from the “shower”, we had dirty hands from bracing on trees and dirty feet from trekking through dirt and mud. I had begun to sweat again.
The bathing faucet had been fixed by this time, and we could quickly rinse off. Again.
And hey, at least it was funny.