Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Laundry x The World

France 1921
The above photo reminded me of the daily scene along the ghats of Varanasi, India. (And it wasn't much of a step up in China, where it took 2 involved & laborious hours to do laundry. The process: using a shower-head, fill "washer" with water, throw in laundry, have it slosh around for 15 minutes, remove, empty water (be careful not to flood the apartment), place laundry in "dryer" (some spinny contraption sans heat), and repeat all of the above 2-3 more times. Oh, and obviously re-start the water heater every 30 min, as it always broke down mid-manual-water-refill. Hang laundry up to dry.) ANYWAY... Varanasi - Fall, '07. Pretty incredible to witness this part of the world, which apparently remains econ/technologically on-par w/ early 20th century France. However, Western nations (and the rest of the world, for that matter) pale in comparison to India's color, chaos, grime, and overall spectacle. Normally I'd be tempted to run off with this laundry, but its vibrancy & sense of wear & tear fit so perfectly within its landscape. (And it belonged to people who probably have a lower income than the vagabonds loitering outside 7-11.) So I happily settled for a photo instead. For me, India's streets & ghats were as cool/aesthetically inspiring as "Vogue" is for fashionistas. (The fact that I take wardrobe cues from developing nations may play a role in my struggle to understand dress codes in America...)