Hotness. The past few days have been the gorgeous, sticky, tropical summer days that make the tourists flock here when it gets cold and grey up in the North. I love to see the happy, sun-dazed and rather sun-burned tourists that wander up and down the streets. You can tell they are getting their daily sun, water and palm tree dose – exactly what the brochures advertise.
On Friday we ran out of water.
Climbing on top of our water pump box and unscrewing the large cap on top of the tank to peer inside, I noticed that there was only a small puddle on the bottom. Our water tank was empty and there was no water coming in to fill it up.
I called our gardener to come and check on the situation. He seemed nervous after looking inside the tank and told me to wait until Saturday morning. He then explained that due to the increase in tourists, the lack of daily rain waters and the high degrees of daily heat, the main water lines to private houses might have been shut off during the day so that the hotels and sugar farmers would have enough water.
Saturday morning came and Saturday morning went with no increase in water levels during the night. We were given the key to the owner’s house next door so that we could take showers and use the toilet.
While walking across the lawn to the neighbors and carrying my little travel bag of shampoo and soap and with my towel tossed across my shoulder, I tried to think of this little excursion like that of going to a locker room or to the shared bathroom in the college dorm.
But, it still felt strange to be taking a shower in our 85-year-old proprietor’s winter home. Getting into the house proved to be rather tricky because like most South Africans and many others here, he had installed cage door gates and bars on all the doors and windows. It takes a while to unlock and open everything up.
The Frenchman refused the offer and decided that our swimming pool would become his temporary sweaty-body rinse off which was fine by me. A splash of water from an Evian bottle would work just as well considering that the moment you dry off from the shower, you’re sweating just as quickly once more.
After my rapid splash down, the gardener was still with the plumber examining all the hoses to and from the tank. There didn’t seem to be any leaks. And so we were told, once more, to wait until after Saturday night to see if the water levels had increased.
On Sunday morning I went out to the tank and was excited to hear the tiny drip-drip of water coming into the tank. I turned the pump back on and we were able to take rapid showers and even flush a toilet or two.
We spent the majority of the day at a beach by our house. While snorkeling, we saw a few sea snakes and schools of black and white stripes swimming in the pink coral chunks. When we returned home the drip-drip of water had stopped and the tank remained painfully low.
As of this morning, we still have very low levels and no one seems to know the reason why. This has never happened before and we haven’t been using any more water than we usually do. Perhaps the recent electrical work that was done caused a change in water pressure or maybe there is a break in a main water line.
With all of the recent and late season rain water we received in October and November, it seems odd that the reserves would suddenly be low. But, who knows. All I know is that I’ll probably never know the exact reason why because that’s just how it is here.
I am now practicing water patience and hope that the water tank fairies pay us a visit soon.