Tuesday, May 23, 2006
How to bathe
This is a mandi, the traditional Indonesian way to get clean. It's based on the even more traditional Indonesian way to get clean - bathing in the river.
A mandi has a tap at the top, and a plug at the bottom so you can drain it when necessary. You usually leave it half-full so the water is at room temperature. You use the scoop to pour water all over yourself, then you soap up, and then you scoop some more water to rinse off. There's a drain in the bathroom floor so you can fling the water around with abandon.
As I understand it, it's considered good form to leave the scoop sitting on the edge of the mandi rather than floating in the mandi. It's definitely bad form to climb into the mandi! One hears stories of confused foreigners trying the immersion method, but I've never met anyone who confessed to actually doing it themselves.
Mandis are kind of nice, because you can just step in for a quick rinse. That's what I do after walking to work (this is actually the one at the Post). They do make the floor wet, though, so it's inadvisable to walk into any bathroom with just your socks on.