You don’t really escape reality when you’re travelling, its just that the focus of the every day mundane things shifts slightly and joy is found in the most unlikely of places. Today’s topic therefore is
When you are carrying a limited array of clothes in hot and sweaty countries it means that you’re likely to need your clothes washed more often than not, unless you really want to be Noddy No Mates. Getting a pile of fresh clean clothes back from the laundry is probably one of the top 5 most exciting things that can happen when you’re away for a long period of time, if you don’t have a life…like me.
When you’re at the beach for a few days it’s a bit of a win:win – limited wearing going on all round. You spend the day in your choice of bathing suit, it gets rinsed out before, during or after your shower, and left to dry and then you’re only really wearing your pants to go out to dinner (well, not just your pants, not unless you’re heading to eating establishments that I don’t want to know abour). Pant wearage is 1-2hrs max, that’s not even a morning’s worth of wear so they’re good for nearly a week by my reckoning and the standard check of freshness most travellers and probably all men would do.
However if you’re in a city, and a humid one at that, like George Town, for example, then you spend most of the time thinking you’ve wet your pants because it’s so hot out there, (and not just because you’re getting old and your pelvic floor recently dropped to the basement) and also very damp everywhere else, particulary in nooks and crannies you never knew existed till you started sweating from them.
The reality is that you’re going to be changing clothes more often and certainly not checking for freshness, unless you want to be found passed out on the hotel floor. Therefore knowing that your time in a place is limited, as is your wardrobe you aim to maximise the ratio of washing to location as much as possible, particularly as most locations is charging by the kilo, although some parts of India do still charge by the item*
What tends to happen therefore is you run down your clothing stock to the bare minimum, keeping back a set of (vaguely) fresh clothes for the next journey you’re undertaking. On your arrival at your new location you bundle the pile of unseemliness into one of the many plastic bags you have acquired (this too is a weird travelling thing – you become an extreme hoarder of any size of plastic bag, because…they might, and often do, come in handy) and one of your very first acts after checking in is to hand over a steaming pile of festering textile to your new host for them to clean them and make them new once more. The joy of having that bundle of loveliness back and knowing you now have 2 t-shirts to chose from again is enough to keep a smile on your face for…ooo…at least until the next Archers episode you can get to listen to.
*The cost of washing does appear to be pegged to some sort of dobi-wallah stock exchange, having stayed at roughly £1 a kilo since fo’eva.