July 5, 2010 by jessperriam
Warning: potentially boring yet potentially hilarious post ahead.
Egypt is many things. It’s steeped in history, full of natural things to look at and chock a block full of bazaars and the annoying touts to match.
But it is also dusty, dirty, hot and conservative. This inevitably means doing laundry to wash the sweat, the dust and that strange smell from your clothes.
I am a backpack packing ninja. My pack is filled with half Western clothes and half conservative clothes. There is a reason you won’t see many photos of me during my time in Egypt – I look like a hobo, with scary, scary hair. I pretty much had about three or four similarly daggy outfits for 15 days. Ring a ding ding.
The hotels we stayed in throughout Egypt were… different. The tour company didn’t put the tour in the ‘basic’ category for nothing. To give you an example of the rooms we stayed in, here’s my room in the Siwa Oasis:
I think perhaps they were trying to go for the brothel – chic look. Right down to the red light. But the best thing about being a fifth wheel on a tour is that the sleeping situation is win-win. You either get a room with a double bed – you get to spread out. Or you get a twin room with two single beds – one to sleep in, the other to dump all your stuff on. Who said travelling alone didn’t have its perks?
But in another triumph of Egyptian interior design:
This bathroom was strangely convenient. From left to right you have: a basin, a shower and a toilet. All with nothing dividing them.
So if you’re a forward planner, here’s what you do:
Soak your dirty, filthy socks in the basin.
Then you have a shower, safe in the knowledge that any soapy water will go into the sink, helping to make the soaking, filthy socks marginally cleaner.
Once (relative) cleanliness has been achieved, it’s time to dry these suckers out
The best thing you can have in your backpack? An elastic washing line with hooks on either end. Invaluable.
The best thing a hotel can give you? Coathangers to hook the washing line to odd things such as towel racks… or exposed hot water system pipes.
That’s pretty much what happened every afternoon when it was too hot to do anything but sleep or shower. And there was something in hand washing clothes and squeezing every last bit of water out of some trousers that was strangely satisfying.
That being said I can’t wait to use a washing machine again.