Laundry Day in San Pedro Las Huertas

Public Washbasin at Work

It was almost a year ago when I published a photo of the public laundry washbasins in Ciudad Vieja and Heidi asked how do they wash their clothes? As an answer I did a follow up photo of public laundry washbasins at work (about two months later, heck this was fast), but this lavaderos, the Spanish term for washbasins, lack the beauty found at Tanque de la Unión public washbasins. While taking a photo of those washbasins in La Antigua I stumbled upon one of my favorite photos: Arches reflected on Tanque de la Unión and its more abstract sibling Upside down arches; just posted a few days ago. It is only now, almost a year later (boy, I am fast!), that I can show Heidi how are the washbasins used for laundry.

If you have click all the links above, you can see that the public laundry washbasins consist of one shared water tank with basins all around it, sort like stations, where women take their clothes to wash them by hand. In the photo you can see only a fraction of washbasins stations around this huge public lavadero in San Pedro Las Huertas. In one of the captions for the photos linked above I said that “public laundry washbasins (sometimes rivers or lake shores) serve as the gathering place for news, gossip and community building through the interactions that take place. Public washbasins could be considered the first news broadcasting sites; batteries not required.”

Countdown side note: 6 more days to May 1st. Thank you all for all your support, comments and feedback through this 360 days. I also want to THANK all the people who have donated towards the hosting bills through the donation buttons right below the search box. About 50% of the hosting bill was paid through donations made by people like you. THANK YOU!

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  • Somehow or other this makes me ashamed I have a washing machine, and also seems like I might be missing out on something. Curiously, despite it’s affluence, all apartment blocks in Switzerland have a shared laundry room, although many individuals will have their own appliances. It’s an unusual arrangement that has some interesting side effects. You need to co-ordinate activities like laundry wih your neighbours, and while this sometimes leads to friction, in general it adds to community spirit rather than the opposite (means you have to think about what others are doing rather than live in your own bubble). There are other advantages. Often kitchen areas are small in apartments, and often they are open-plan. Moving noisy washing machine out of the house helps. Of course if you have giant house with utility rooms etc this is not a problem, but in Switzerland space is at a premium (too many mountains), and you need to make best use of it

  • Is this a washboard technique or is it a machine of some kind? It brings back some old memories. It poured rain yesterday and I took some photos through the windshield experimenting.

    Abraham LincolnBrookville Daily Photo
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  • Well it’s possible to find some of them in Italy and in France too but mostly are not used anymore. It’s really interesting what Richard said. Unfortunately in Italy we don’t have common area in apartment blocks and washing machines are usually placed in the bathroom or in home-laundry. By the way that shared laundry rooms are a sort of modern public laundry washbasins where people are more oriented to aggregate than the opposite.

    P.S. I appreciate very much your comment on “At home” of my photo blog. I’m not comepletely left-hand (mancino in Italian) using mouse. I use both hands 😉 — About firefox and ubuntu I’d like to talk about but I’m afraid to be too much OT here. I will use the form of your contact page 🙂

  • Thank you for your visit and well wishes. It’s been a week since my last treatment, and I’ve been feeling great. Most of the blisters are now healed, skin is still pretty red from 33 treatments. Again, thank you.

  • They still wash clothes like this on the shores of Lake Atitlan don’t they?

  • love this shot.

    I used to handwash all my clothes but because I’m hardly home long enough in a day, we got a washing machine.

    btw, if you don’t mind me asking, how much does it cost to host this site? do you pay monthly or annually?

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