Friday’s Five Favorite Things: Traveling with an electrician

I have a special knack for recognizing buildings that would make good funeral homes. It’s true; sometimes I’ll spot a bank or a church or a library and I’ll think to myself, “that building missed its calling – it should have been a funeral home”.

I wasn’t born with this gift; it was definitely a nurture over nature kind of thing. You see, my dad is a funeral director and in addition to a myriad of other unusual things that I learned while growing up the daughter of a mortician, I also learned what kind of buildings would make the best funeral homes. In appearance, the perfect funeral home is serious but not stuffy; elegant but not gaudy; somber but not depressing. It needs to be away from any noisy intersections, have adequate parking and be large enough to be accommodating but not so large as to become impersonal.

And now you know.

My Girl movie.

You were about to make the My Girl reference weren’t you. Yeah, so has just about everyone else I’ve ever met.

That’s the thing about parents’ careers – you wind up knowing a fair amount about them. The same goes for whatever your spouse does for a living. Andy, as you know, is an electrician and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say I could install an outlet without setting a house on fire, I have started noticing things that only an electrician (or one’s spouse) would notice.

This is especially true in other countries. Here are my favorite things about traveling with an electrician (other than the fact that the one I travel with also happens to be charming, handsome and pretty much all around wonderful).

1. He can tell you when something is safe or not…

Hotel shower in Dumaguete, Philippines

A shower in Dumaguete, Philippines… and yes, it is safe. (Also, yes, this is the same shower that we tried to wash all those cookie crumbs down the drain)

Shower in Guatape, Colombia.

Another shower, this time in Guatape, Colombia. It’s also safe.

Most of the showers that I’ve seen in other countries have these sort of electrical water heating devices; the ones pictured are pretty typical. That being said, they can be a little unnerving at first – especially when you can feel the electricity pulsing through the water. But, that’s their system and Andy says for the most part, they’re probably safe – which is good to know.

[edit: Andy wanted me to include a disclaimer that he never said safe… they’re just sort of safe. That is, by many other countries’ standards they are sort of safe; by US standards, they would be quite shocking (ha!) to an inspector.]

2. He has more than common knowledge about power conversions…

I’ll pass on what I’ve been taught. We all know we need outlet converters in other countries. Here’s a chart.

Chart of electrical outlet types

Here are the outlets of the world. Follow this link to a good reference website that lists what outlets are used in what country.

However, lots of times you read that you don’t only need a converter so your hair dryer/phone charger/boom box can plug in, but that you also need a voltage converter so you don’t blow things up. This always used to worry me, that is until Andy told me that many items that are likely to be used in travel have dual voltage capabilities. When in doubt, check the fine print on whatever it is you wish to plug in. For example, here is my camera charger:

Camera charger voltage information.

This means that this camera charger is approved to be used any place that uses anywhere between 100-240 volts.

Not sure where to find a country’s voltage information? Check here under the ‘electrical potential’ column.

3. He points out things like this…

Which I probably wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

Palm tree plug in the Philippines

In case you have to plug something in while sitting under this palm tree in the Philippines.

4. And this…

Power lines in Manila, Philippines.

This is in Manila. These black power/phone lines were everywhere.

As a matter of fact, sometimes foreign electricity is so noticeable that even Andy’s in-laws think of him. Back in 2008, four years before Andy went to the Philippines, my sister saw this same type of electrical chaos, snapped a picture and had this to say while tagging Andy on Facebook:

Power lines in Manila, Philippines.

I’ve seen some crazy power lines in my day, but nothing comes close to what I saw in Manila.

5. He makes me giggle when I walk into a hotel room and he’s doing stuff like this…

Circuit breaker in our Cartagena hotel room.

Yep, this really happened. This was in our hotel in Cartagena, Colombia and I walked in the room and saw Andy checking out the fuse box electrical panel. (During his proofing of this post Andy informed me that the term fuse box is outdated since most don’t use fuses anymore. I guess I still have some things to learn.)

And then for the thing that isn’t so spectacular:

  • When you’re really hungry and looking for a place to grab lunch and the electrician insists on stopping along the way and to check out random electrical things on the street…
Electrical stuff in Guatape, Colombia.

It’s kind of endearing, but a little less so when my tummy is rumbling.

And that, my friends, is what it’s like to travel with an electrician. Also, it’s kind of unfair to complain about my last point because while traveling with a travel blogger, Andy has to put up with a lot more than I do. He poses for pictures while carrying heavy groceries in the rain, waits patiently while I take a million pictures of chubby naked people in museums and listens to me go on and on about what would and wouldn’t make an entertaining post. Still, he has gotten more than a few of those posts dedicated to his awesomeness so I guess that’s a good trade-off. 🙂

5 responses to “Friday’s Five Favorite Things: Traveling with an electrician

  1. having worked with many linemen and electrical engineers in my career, I can totally relate to this and laughed a lot along the way of reading this…very well done!!

  2. Haha! I wish I could travel with someone who would give me a safety heads up about stuff! Outdoor electrical outlets, shocking showers, baboons, hyenas warthogs (well maybe at least about the first couple of things!).

  3. Pingback: Where we’re headed: Colombia and Cancer | See Jules Travel·

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