Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thankful in India :: Traveling Laundry

I have written a few times now about the things that I am thankful for while traveling in India. I promised to finish up this series with a top ten, but first I've got a few stories to tell. And so as we wind down the year, I'm going to complete my list of reason to be thankful while I was traveling in India.

We were in India for several weeks traveling around the Northern part of the country, which was long enough to need to have our clothes laundered. Pretty much any vacation longer than 3 weeks you run out of ‘essentials.’  And so 2 weeks in, we sent our clothes out to the hotel's dhobi wallah (loosely translated means 'laundry worker'). One thing we'd noticed as we traveled was that there was laundry hanging from trees, or Indian women beating it against the rocks near rivers. But we told ourselves that this was just how the locals did their laundry, and that our laundry was of course cleaned as we might traditionally do at home in the US. You know at some sort of laundromat - although I confess I never saw one. 


Funny thing was that when our clothes came back at night there was a tell tale sign of how all laundry is done in India. There would be a smudge near a collar, a small twig near an elastic band. Nothing really quite noticeable, but nonetheless it was there. The wonderful thing about it tho was that every thing, and I mean every last piece of our laundry came back lightly starched, ironed, folded and smelling sort of earthy. I did really love that. 

As the weeks went by, I looked for my items hanging from a tree, or perhaps hit up against a rock by the river, but I never did see anything that looked like my clothes. There were entire networks of people who did laundry. Who moved it from one station to the next. From the washing near the river, to the drying in the trees, to the tent cities where they were steamed and pressed before returning each item to its owner. How it all ended up where it needed to go is such a mystery to Western eyes, but I did not lose one item.

So one of the many things I am thankful for while traveling in India was never seeing my underwear hanging in a tree, and that all my laundry traveling through the local laundry network ended up beautifully cleaned, folded at the foot of my bed each time I sent it out. 

27 comments:

BackstoryBeads said...

Fascinating look into another culture! I'll be watching for your Top 10 list!

Christine Altmiller said...

what a fascinating post~something so relatively thoughtless (to americans) as laundry and how it is a part of the culture somewhere else.

Epicurus said...

I gotta say, starch in the socks is NOT a good thing! And make that a double for starchy underwear.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

What a great post! I always love learning about different cultures, and wish so much I could travel this world of ours to see it - and photograph it - in person. It's truly amazing.

Amber Blue Bird said...

wow that looks like a brilliant trip. happy to hear your undies didnt end up in a tree :)

Bobbie said...

What an amazing experience, and how great that you were there long enough to witness so many parts of the lifestyle. And I'm with Amber Blue Bird - glad your knickers didn't end up as part of the local scenery!

Claudia said...

I bet you felt relieved that you never saw your underwear hanging!! What a great experience.

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

This washing method sounds like a good way of getting ants in your pants.

Tammy Lau said...

ahahha..this post must be for me!!!!..ahhaha....I have to wash my clothes all the time..great tips:)


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Tammy Lau said...

but BTW...i never expected you can have someone to do your laundry at india

must love junk said...

Wow! That sure makes you think! Thank you for your sweet comment and for following-I'm happily following you back :)
Susan

Judy Haughton-James said...

It is always so interesting to learn about other cultures. Thanks for sharing. Great post with wonderful shots.

Katherines Corner said...

a wonderful post, truly Thank you for sharing at the Thursday favorite things hop. Big hugs!

Plami said...

You're so lucky! I really wanna visit India some day :)

XoXo
Plami

http://www.fashionthrill.com/

Miss Val's Creations said...

Amazing photos! Doing laundry this way is definately different than we are used to. I would have been trying to see my laundry out there too!!! :)

Marcela Gmd said...

Great post!!! nice to know most of India!
Beautiful photos!!!
Have a wonderful weekend, dear friend!

Besos, desde EspaƱa, Marcela♥

BIKBIK AND RORO said...

Wonderful post on a pretty close neighbour of ours! Those pictures are brilliant; they really capture the colours, the rhythm, of the country :)

About Last Weekend said...

Beautiful photos. Love that there is a little twig etc in your washing, you mind can run itself down to the river where all the scrubbing is done. Funny, my mother had to tell my niece how to hand wash her clothes while she was away traveling, scrub them in the shower and stomp on them.

Kashmira Patel said...

hahaha :)

Caron Michelle said...

What an experience! I look forward to your top 10.

My Life Under the Bus said...

This gave me the giggles as all I can imagine is a Sienfeldian Experiance of being at a business meeting and seeing your own underwear flapping in the breeze! It is amazing what we take for granted!

Marla said...

Ha! I loved this post. Very witty! I don't blame you I would not want to see my underwear hanging in a tree either lol.

Introverted Art said...

I have always wanted to go to India. My hubby refuses to and so many people tell me not to go. i just have this pull to go there though...

Buttons said...

Oh I really enjoyed this post. The photos are fantastic. It makes me happy we live where we live but I admire the work ethic over there so much we are a bit spoiled over here I think.
Underwear in a tree funny:) B

Ashley of Southern (California) Belle said...

Wow, I can't believe you went to India! Must have been an amazing trip (and such a culture shock)!

xo

Ashley

Southern (California) Belle

star whites said...

Excellent post! I must thank you for this informative read. I hope you will post again soon.Laundry Business In India.

deepika kaur said...

Thanks for writing, I very much liked your newest post. I think you should post more frequently, you evidently have natural ability for blogging!
MY india tourism

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