PART #1. MUST SHOWER!
Before work. After work. After work out. Before going out. It dictated my life.
Our "furnished" apartment in Valparaiso, Chile was a 2-story loft with wood floors and a shower with exposed rock walls--BEAUTIFUL!
Smelly with a layer of filth from traveling I sprinted to the bathroom! It took less then 2 minutes to realize that "furnished" did not mean bedding included.
Undaunted by the lack of towels I flipped on the shower head and yelped like a kicked puppy. No freaking hot water! Our gas propane tank was empty! I didn't know how to buy a tank or where and my Spanish, well, sucks!*
Then I thought of Katherine Hepburn. She swam in a frigid sea/lake every day. She said it kept her body and mind strong!
So I stripped down and hopped in that icy shower screaming "Katherine Hepburn! Katherine Hepburn! What the hell were you thinking Katherine Hepburn?!"
But I was clean. My first shower in Valpo in my new apartment. I caught a cold but quickly recovered.
The shower did not recover though!
We finally bought a new propane tank but it leaked gas into my bedroom turning it into Sylvia Plath's oven. The bathroom faucet broke causing water to run constantly unless we turned off the water valves. Ants exploded everywhere and I'm pretty sure were biters and we had 2 new guests; one-inch slugs named Frank and Frank Pt. Deux.
Showering became a nuisance and with the constant heat, irrelevant.
Valparaiso itself is a slightly dirtier ciudad because the feral dogs rip apart trash bags searching for food. Heavy gusts of wind that run through Valparaiso scatter the trash everywhere and on everyone. So even if you were clean before you left the apartment, you weren't the moment you stepped outside.
To be completely fair though, Valparaiso, Chile' is a beautiful city full of political and religious graffiti, stilt houses with Tuscan colors and wonderful old men who slowly climb the cerros (hills) as their daily walk.
It is a ciudad full of honest grit and little pretension. And a place for a Neurotic Traveler to face and hopefully embrace their irks and quirks.
Whether I wanted to or not.
*I moved to Chile believing my Spanish to more then tolerable only to quickly realize that the dialect in Chile was extremely hard. It's fast, with "s" dropped on many words, and slang constantly changing.