Mexico, The Great Adventure, Travel

Photo Friday: Washin’ Ropas

I’m interrupting these road logs to bring you a quick glimpse of my first rest day in Cedral, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. I’m staying at an AirBnB rental (the only one in town!) which is cheaper per night than most Mexican hotels.

Here is my setup for washing my clothes:

Photo by André

Photo by André

Technically, the owner does have a washing machine, but the water doesn’t drain out of it. She seemed prepared to let me use it anyway but I didn’t want to create extra hassle for her. I said I could wash them in my sink, and she instead showed me the set of buckets she uses to do her family’s laundry.

I also ended up with some helpers:

Photo by André

Photo by André

Their assistance mostly consisted of playing with the hose, spraying each other (but not me), and drowning a plastic dinosaur. Their mom eventually ran them off, pictured here. They also put some leaves in my laundry water. I’m not sure if that is supposed to help (maybe they smell good? Or have helpful properties in local folklore?) or if it was just boys causing chaos (this seems more likely to me).

Either way, I have no clue if I did a good job or not. I mean, I swirled my clothes around in the soapy water till it was grey, and rubbed them against a washboard (a real washboard!). But is 60 seconds of that the equivalent of 40 minutes in a laundry machine? Or will they still smell a little funky when they’re done drying? I have no idea.

I did, however, manage to complete the job and my clothes are now hanging up to dry:

Photo by André

Photo by André

…which shouldn’t take long in the desert air (I hope, since I want those jeans before the nighttime chill sets in).

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5 thoughts on “Photo Friday: Washin’ Ropas

  1. Hey Andre, I’ve had to do laundry manually on a semi-regular basis since moving abroad. There was a summer school in Croatia I did where the hotel it was based in charged per piece of laundry instead of by load, and the school had allocated any funds towards the teachers doing laundry in the three weeks we were there. We weren’t traveling light because we needed professional teaching clothes and also hiking and excursion gear. Prices started at 3 euros for a pair of socks; we figured an actual real load of a week’s laundry would have been about E150. So I did everything in the bathtub and then we hung the laundry outside on the swimsuit drying lines.

    Basically you want to wash everything in warm soapy water with lots of agitation, squeeze that out, then rinse in clean water a few times, till the water is basically clear or only slightly pearly from soap and dirt, or each piece individually under a tap. With a bathtub full of clothes I did 3 or 4 rinses. Just put on some music and stomp dance if you’re ever doing bathtub laundry. ;)

    • *and the school *hadn’t* allocated any funds towards the teachers doing laundry during the three weeks we were there. (Nor the kids, they smelled pretty bad by the end.)

    • Those prices are ridiculous! I suppose they knew they had a captive audience.

      Thanks for the tips. I think rinsing them more would indeed be key. I just did one rinse :) It probably doesn’t matter as much for grungy biker clothes as for professional teacher clothes, but I’m likely to do one more load before I go which will include the (only) nice shirt in my bags. You don’t want your only nice shirt to smell like armpits.

  2. Kenneth W. Johnson says:

    Amazing progress. It was the camping out that I was worried about. Love the pictures with their Mexican colors textures and simplicity. I know that city well from inside the jail to outdoors. You never cease to amaze me.

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