Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Bumpy Night's Rest

Today, we are taking an overnight train to Jodpur, a city in Northwest India.  From Jodpur, we will start our Rickshaw Rally towards New Delhi.  We are on the train right now, and have a new cellular USB internet card.  The card allows me to access the internet by cell so that I can publish this blog from the train.

This morning, before our overnight train, we visited Dhobi Ghat, the place where much of the laundry in Mumbai is done.  To get there, we split up into four taxis taking us to the regional train station. There, Rob and Vic held our luggage while the rest of us took a city train to Dhobi Ghat.  We walked out of the station and onto a bridge overlooking the laundry facility.  We saw hundreds of hanging clothes and small washing pools.  The pools were about one to two square meters in size with one meter high cement walls.  When we entered the laundry complex, we saw not only people washing, but also people bathing.  Locals were sitting in the cement pools using small buckets to dump water on themselves.

The laundry is done mostly by hand.  The workers wash the laundry in the pools filled with water.  In the water, the workers added a fair amount of soap.  After washing a batch of clothing, they put it into metal spinners to ring out the clothing.  When the procedure is finished, they hang the clothes on lines and roof tops.  The buildings in the complex are where the workers and their families live.  Every family has its own business.  The complex is a working ground for any family who needs or wishes to start a laundry business.

After touring the laundry complex, we got back on the city train to the regional train station. We then walked on a loud, dirty and chaotic road to the interstate train station where we ate lunch and got our luggage from Rob and Vic.  My parents and I, along with two other American doctors, (Adam and Andrew) and the Indian doctor (Ravi) boarded the overnight train.  The rest of the Americans have boarded another overnight train because they couldn’t get seats on this one.  There are five other Indian doctors who have boarded neither train, and are unsure yet of how they will get to Jodpur.  When we got on board this train, we had to ask two local passengers to switch seats for all of us to be together.  This train car has AC, for which I am thankful.  I am a little afraid for my luggage overnight, but I think it will be OK.

I am super tired and will not like waking up for the early arrival one bit.

Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!


  1. Really like the sense of vortex in the first photo, and the pic of the dark washing pool with the bright-colored clothes.

    Hope you slept well on the overnight train!

  2. Interesting pics about the laundry. Did you find out where the washing water came from. I remember long ago pictures of people washing clothes and themselves in the Ganges River. Is that in Mumbai or elsewhere in India.
    I need to look on a map for Ganges and also Jodpur. Can't do more than one thing at a time on Google.
    Did your Mom get my email about the next Yoga in the Canyon trip in Sept.?
    And watch out for those early AM rippings.
    Love, Grandma Doris

  3. Some amazing stuff you are seeing! Say, do you know how the clothes are organized by owner?

  4. The Ganges is in Varanasi and we will go there when we finish the rally. Chopper thank you for the picture complement. Andrew, I do not know how they organize the clothing.