How to Shower in a Bishkek Stalin Era Appartment When They Turn Off the Hot Water

Every May they turn off the hot water in all flat blocks in Bishkek for one month. Word is the reason is seasonal repairs.

I believe the men in charge want their people to remain hardy. After all, the nomads on the summer pastures didn’t have running hot water either. Strangely enough, they seem to think only poor people should be hard. Renovated flats have boilers installed for just this one month of year.

My landlady apparently wanted to provide me with the real post-Soviet Bishkek living experience. So I don’t have a boiler. Nothing but ice-cold water comes out of the tap.

My first reaction was to adopt a suffering attitude and shower cold, screaming for my mommy.

Luckily my girlfriend has a more pratical mindset. Her first reaction was to cut off the top of a five-liter water bottle, fill it half with cold water and add boiling water from our teakettle. She showed me how to pour the lukewarm water over myself with a repurposed tuperware container.

Our new boiler and shower.

The next day we put several of the large bottles we keep filled in the appartment for emergency flushing out on the balcony. The hot Kyrgyz shines brightly enough in May to warm the water over the day. In the evening it’s quite comfortably to wash with that water.

Heating water to wash in Bishkek in the 21st century.

The trick when washing in this way is not to use too much soap. Everything that goes on skin and hair has to come off again. If you don’t manage with the warm water, you either have to finish the job with cold water or wait till you’ve boiled some more.

Easier to use less.