I had life in Thailand pretty well figured out, so this is the first ‘unexpected risk’ post since 2012. New country, new unexpected risks. To explain the liquid soap risk requires understanding the combined effects of building materials and cost of electricity in Portugal.
Before applying for a visa I knew:
– Portugal has either the highest or one of the highest electricity prices in the EU.
– Older buildings have little or no insulation.
– My apartment is in an older building.
– Many expats who first try living in other provinces post online about relocating to the Algarve (southernmost, warmest, too bleeping hot in the summer for me) because their homes were either too bleeping cold or the cost of heating them was too bleeping high.
– For many expats ‘too cold’ meant having to wear more clothes indoors than they wanted to.
– The lowest cost heating method is a pellet stove . “A pellet stove is a stove that burns compressed wood or biomass pellets to create a source of heat for residential and sometimes industrial spaces. By steadily feeding fuel from a storage container (hopper) into a burn pot area, it produces a constant flame that requires little to no physical adjustments.”.
The pellet stove is in the living room. It has been running 24 hrs a day. Its fan pushes warm air into the room, after that the temperature falls off with distance. Temps in the apartment are consistent: 21C (70F) in the living room near the stove, 20C (68F) in the Kitchen, 19C (66F) in the bedroom and bathroom, and 17C (62.5F) in the unused and closed door second bedroom.
My low cost shower technique is wait for ‘warm enough’ water, get wet, then turn the water off. The unexpected risk was squeezing 19C soap into my palm, then realizing how cold that was going to feel on the rest of my body. I had no other choice, so after remembering a saying* I first heard when rock climbing in the early ’80s, I found out just how cold it was. As I type this a small plastic squeeze bottle with enough soap for 2 showers is sitting on a table in the living room. 21C liquid soap is not a problem.
*They say falling from a great height is like taking a cold shower. As long as you keep screaming, it’s not too bad.