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As clean as a Tobago car

Monday, March 3, 2014
Tobago Peeps
Most cars in Tobago are well kept by their owners and glisten in the sunlight, like this one, after a good wash.

On the little road leading to Kariwak Hotel, where I teach yoga on Friday evenings, there is a man I once noticed washing a car. “Sixty dollars,” he had told me when I asked how much. So, on this particular Friday as I am driving to Kariwak, I see him standing outside doing nothing and ask if he will wash my vehicle as I wait for yoga to begin at six. That gives him forty-five minutes.


He goes inside and returns with the tools of his trade: a high power vacuum cleaner, bucket and a large chammy cloth. I leave the keys with him and go to Kariwak to bide time and look over what I will be teaching later. After about half an hour I return. The car is looking much cleaner but he is nowhere near finished. “This car real need a wash,” he tells me. I agree. That’s why I brought it to him.


His hands move the chammy cloth in strong, large circles on the area where mud kicks up from the wheels. The grit comes off with surprising ease. “Living by the sea it needs a frequent wash,” I tell him. I know it is supposed to be washed as often as possible to avoid salt build-up and rust. I can do it myself, and I usually do, but currently not as often as is necessary. This is where people like him really come in handy.


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