In major Russian cities, hot water is produced centrally in big plants and then pumped out to individual buildings. This saves Russians the expense of a hot water heater.
But during the two weeks each summer when those plants and pipes get their needed maintenance, it costs everyone their hot water.
(Read Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Clifford Levy’s account of the hot water shutoff in Moscow in the New York Times here.)
In my district of St. Petersburg, the hot water was turned off yesterday, and will remain off for about two weeks.
Generally, residents of St. Petersburg cope by bathing at the homes of friends in different districts or by heating their water on the stove and taking sponge baths. I’ve also been told that some people shower less, which should make the metro rides a bit more fun.
We, of course, don’t have friends in other parts of the city to bum showers from.
But luckily for us, our apartment actually has a small hot water heater in it. It should provide for some lukewarm showers, if it works.