This is the third place we have stayed that provides hot water using electric shower heads. It’s a pretty simple design. There is a 220 volt heating coil inside the head, that is activated by a pressure switch. You turn on the water and when the pressure is high enough the contacts close and electricity flows through the coil. You know when the pressure is high enough because that’s when the ceiling light dims.
You adjust the water temperature by adjusting the water flow rate. You can not adjust the head position. I found that out when I tried. When water flows through an electric field it is likely to pick up a charge, or at least the water provides a low impedence path to the service entrance that might include the user’s wet body. In other words, I got quite a zap.
Learning that failure effect by direct experience is chilling I might say. The sole safety to prevent an electrocution is a grounding wire that passes through a couple chambers in the shower head. Apparently this is an attempt to dissipate any electrical charge in the water. I would classify that solution as “sub-optimal.”
I learned about the design and construction of this device by watching a Youube video wherein a Scandinavian man disassembled one of these units and described his observations in a very interesting combination of English and Scandinavian tongues.
This is one of the many observations that lead me to think it may be becoming too late in history to travel to foreign lands. Lands are not quite as foreign as they used to be.
Twenty years ago you would not expect hot water in many accomodations in Costa Rica. You also would not have internet access for instructional videos.
We have mosquito nets poised above our bed, but we do not need them since the windows are all well screened. And we don’t need to worry about currency exchanges because credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. It is very easy and convenient to travel here, and it will become somewhat more so when the highway expansion project is complete.
Puerto Viejo has been here since before there were roads to this region. Now there are paved roads between San Jose and Puerto Viejo. The principal route is slower than usual since a massive construction effort to expand the highway is underway. It is very convenient to travel her and will be somewhat more so when the project is complete.
Of course the place is filled with tourists from around the world. Many from Europe, Argentina, Canada, and the US. Prices have increased considerably over the years as the area has become a playground for rich people like us. And hippies.
Land values near the beach areas are very high and much of the land has been absorbed by the tourist industry. Hotels, restaurants, and various stores take up nearly the whole of the Centro. We see abandoned buildings under renovation, and it is clear the economy is humming along famously for now.
Today Paula and I rented bicycles for the day. As we rode in town before dark I saw three local men walking up a hill leaving town. I imagined they were heading home following a day’s work and I considered what if must be like to be relocated from your village while the investors and entrepreneurs took it over. Where capital moves in people move out, it seems.
I do not get any sense of resentment from the local people we have encountered. Has here been a sufficient improvement in standard of living to make the loss of one’s home acceptable? The salutation is well earned by the people here. Pura Vida.
I figure if you have read this far you may have expected a photo or two. I’ll leave you with one, an a promise to post more in the next day or two.