Summer Showers in Sakhalin

We are enjoying a fine spell of weather here in the south of Sakhalin Island, with temperatures getting up to 23-24 degrees Celcius during the day and the sun shining most of the time.

As such, the city administration yesterday decided to switch off the town heating system, which hitherto had been pumping superheated steam around each and every apartment, including my own, turning the place into a furnace.  Welcome though the switching off of the heat is, not so welcome is the switching off of the hot water supply in the process: I now have no hot water whatsoever (cold water comes out of both taps).

We have a boiler rigged up in the apartment linked to the shower and bathroom sink, but after meddling with it last night all we got this morning was a minute of hot water before it turned icy cold.  I’ve meddled some more this morning, opening and closing various valves and taps I found hiding in a recess behind the bathroom tiles, and I hope by this evening we will have enough hot water for a decent shower.  If not, we’ll be in for some harsh summer mornings.

Also unfortunately, the boiler does not supply hot water to the kitchen sink, meaning I either have to wash up with cold water or boil kettles and pour them into the washing up bowl.  Bear in mind that we (or rather, my employers) are paying $2,700 per month for this place, plus the electricity bill. 

The apartment I saw in Singapore which used fingerprint recognition technology in place of a door key now seems as though I witnessed it in a dream taking place on Mars.


Yay!  I’ve managed to get the boiler working, and we can now have hot showers.  I knew that mechanical engineering degree would come in handy some day.


6 thoughts on “Summer Showers in Sakhalin

  1. You haven’t developed a taste for cold showers yet?

    When Katja first came to the US, one of the first things we had to obtain was a large basin or bucket for her morning shower ritual. She needs about 4 or 5 gallons of cold water (ice is even added to the water if it isn’t cold enough) to dump over her head at the end of her hot shower in the morning.

    Apparently it is a health ritual. Of course, she has persuaded me to try it (such is the power of a beautiful woman over her man). Difficult to convince me that it is healthy, however.

  2. Excellent work. I don’t suppose you could come round to London and fix my boiler could you?

    I’m reliving the joys of cold showers in the morning at the moment. When I was in Russia, they seemed somewhat glamorous. Not in bloody London though…

  3. Yes, even on a boiling hot day, the cold shower is tough to get used to. One of the joys of Russian life I don’t that much miss (along with the mosquitoes).

  4. Those boilers can be a bitch to turn on – our last place in Moscow had so many different faucets and taps that I could never figure out the right combination to make it work. Luckily, my wife usually could.

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