Karatu: Cleanliness is Important
Karatu: Cleanliness is Important.
It is hard to find dental floss in Tanzania. Believe me, I have tried…
I went to get my clothes washed today in Karatu, as it has been a long time since I have done my laundry. It was difficult to explain what I needed until I started carrying my laundry bag around with me. Eventually, someone directed me to a place that had a plywood sign painted with the words “Laundry and Dry Cleaning” on it.
There were men working on three motorcycles in front of the door of a house when a guy came outside and understood what I wanted. He had a washing machine inside of his small shack. He took my bag of soiled clothes. I asked him how much it was going to cost to wash everything. He dumped all of my clothes out and counted them piece by piece. Then, after he added up the amount of pieces, he wrote down on a piece of paper, ‘40,000’ shillings. That is $20. I looked at him and said, “Nope.” I started to collect my things. He said, “Okay, no this. This free,” and moved all of the socks out of the pile he had counted. He wrote down ‘30,000.’ I said, “Nope.” He asked how much I would pay. I said, “In Ooo-en-graze-a (England), it would only cost me 10,000 shillings to wash, so I will not pay 30,000 in Tanzania.” He understood and helped me re-pack my clothes.
I went to my guesthouse and was about to wash my things myself when I found a clothesline. I asked the man who runs the guesthouse if it would be okay for me to use it. Then, I used Google Translate to tell the man that some guy wanted 40,000 to wash my clothes. The man pointed to the woman beside him and told me that she would wash all of my things for 5,000 which is $2.50. Sweet! Deal! Machine washed with no effort for 40,000 or hand washed with labour for 5,000. You never know what you are going to get here.
At night in Karatu, I went for drinks with a my friend Geoffry and a few others. It was a nice night. Then, three of us went to a nightclub. I was sort of interested in a French girl who was part of the crew, but my friend seemed to also be interested in her…so I backed off.
When we sat down, we were next to a very pretty local Tanzanian girl. I sat beside her. In no time, while my two friends seemed to be hitting it off, Grace, my new friend started getting touchy. She is a hairdresser in Dar Es Salaam. Things escalated quickly, and before I even finished my beer, she was ready to go. She had been writing ‘I love you’ in my notebook after I had drawn pictures of her and I. So, I drank down my last swallow and brought her with me to my guesthouse. I made her wait at the front door while I put away anything valuable in my room. A man never knows. Then I went and brought her to my room. I pulled her clothes off and we had sex. She wanted to do things without a condom. There was no way it was going down like that. There are germs out there!
Somehow the night in Karatu sure worked out. I am not sure how the evening fell into place so well….