The Morals of a Mop Atakpame, Togo West Africa Friday, April 27, 2007
It is finally hitting me, I am in a Catholic world, I am in West Africa, I am not in a Buddhist world, and I the floors are dirty. Hindus do mop, but with a very dirty rag, the Islamic need to clean their feet a lot for a reason.
I have a bad habit, I do not think I can break it, I like or walk around barefoot in my hotels rooms. I am not going to, and do not want to wear sandals in my room. I feel the most comfortable with no shoes, I have went for a long as one month with never wearing a shoe in Mexico on the beach. I do not like shoes or sandals, I like sandals or flip flops better than any confine my feet shoes.
Options here in Togo:
1. Get into bed with very dirty feet, make the sheet dirty and force the management to change the sheet daily.
2. Ask the management of the hotels to mop the rooms. I will do this sometimes in some countries, whereby I can find the mop, then do or hope to finish the job myself. However, the mop is normally so disgusting and the water so filthy, I do not even consider this option. I do have people mop in Asia, as they will use a rag and do on their hands and knees. THIS OPTION IS NOT FEASIBLE
3. Ask for a towel, maybe they give me a towel, then I use it to mop the floor. I THINK FEASIBLE IN ABOUT 50 PERCENT TO 80 PERCENT OF HOTEL - I think they will give me a towel to shower, if I ask, I have never asked in the month or so here in Africa and only one gave me a towel without asking, the Galion in Lome, Togo.
4. Find a rug and use as a mop. This option has worked in two hotels and is possible on a small scale.
5. I buy something to use a mop. This is a good option, however, the problem is this, to clean a mop takes a lot of work, I need to really clean it, and rinse it. Then it must dry, this is the essential problem, to dry a mop or something very wet is difficult, and then the question is, do you or I want to carry around the rag part of a dirty or cleaned rag part of a mop in our backpacks or suitcases.
I just do not know, I think an extremely small maybe nylon, does not absorb, not cotton, but fast drying small, cut up towel could work. I could put it in a one-gallon zip lock bag or a black plastic bag.
Hmm, do I need a mop handle?
There must be more options, but I am tired of thinking.
The Morals of a Mop.
I think this is to me a small moral, ethical and manners issue, and probably does not bother only about one percent of the travelers of the planet.
Option 1, I get in a bed with dirty feet, then force them to clean the sheets daily. This is normal traveler and tourist expectations and they have no moral or ethical problem with telling the staff to change the sheets. I do not allow people to clean my room, I clean my room, I do not want them to enter my room, I do not care how much I pay, I very seldom allow staff to clean my room. I do not want to stash, protect, hide my cameras, computer, cell phone constantly. It takes me a lot of work to prepare to allow a person to enter my room. One good thing, I have went to chaining my bag to the chair, it is becoming faster and quick to have all the essential valuables chained to the TV, bed or something difficult to move, I have began to allow some cleaning in the room, however only when managed by me.
There is this ecological issue that is floating around in rooms of the world, I will see signs, about not cleaning sheets, or only every three to six days to preserve or limit the amount of detergents entering the water table. I tend to agree, I think cleaning sheets after two or three uses is ok. I will often just grab the sheets in a better hotel and change them myself. In a hotel that is cleaner, there are sheets sitting around in many places and easy to find, because they are changing the sheets often.
On a funny, I was in Amlame, and the owner went and got some packaged sheets, he kept hitting the pack of sheets, trying to get the dust off of the package. Then he opened, the sheets had been ironed and cleaned, and they were rock hard creases in the folds of the sheets, the sheets had not been used in months. I do not think they included sheets with a room, the people slept on the mattress.
This is common in India to never change sheets or clean in some hotels, the covers or blankets in any country are suspect and not cleaned, the heavier the blanket the more likely it has been used by many and more than you want to know clients.
Moral - Ethics - Values - Manners
I am in a problem area of living in hotels. The easy option it to use a white or clean rug, or a sheet, or the table cloth in my present room. Grab a sheet, towel or something from the hotel staff and mop the floor. I consider it very bad manner to use a table cloth to mop the floor and I doubt they will ever get it cleaned, I would be ruining a good table cloth.
A white rug or light colored rug is the same, I have no qualms about using a dark rug, as I know it is very dirty already and not going to make a difference. Requiring a person that is dirty by nature, never has cleaned something good in their lives to clean my room good is maybe bad manners. Like expecting a person from India to be clean, not really fair, or to expect a person from Thailand to not squat or try to squat on a western style toilet.
I am in West Africa, I must accept the standards of their country, it is a little onerous to expect special treatment.
3 to ask for a towel is an easy option, but that towel will never be the same again, it will always be damaged or dirty. This makes the towel bad for the next client, and also ruins a towel, or cost the hotel money.
If I ask the hotel for a mop, I am saying to the hotel. - Your hotel is dirty, I want to clean, because I do not trust you. -
I can clean my room all day, they do not care, they do not get annoyed by me cleaning my own room. There is not a sense of guilt on the planet by me cleaning my own room, like it is their job. 1 in 50 yes though and those hotels are precious and difficult to find. However, just because the manager thinks this, does not mean the cleaning people agree.
I think I have only one option, I need to buy a towel, cut it up into three pieces and use my foot for a handle, or my hand. Then comes the question, do I use the dip shower bucket for a bucket or my own? I hope I can find a bucket here that is not for showering.
Cultural manners to me, requires I do not expect my values of clean, work, justice, etc to apply in the country I am visiting, I consider is extremely bad manners to expect western style quality in a 6 dollar hotel. On the other hand, if I paid the 50-100 US of the silly Americans, I would be so frustrated trying to get the room cleaned, the maintenance done, in the end, I do it myself.
In Mexico, I lived on a beach for up to six months, I hired cleaning girls to come to my room and work the day cleaning my room. This is a great option however difficult to find a cleaning lady that fast. On a very strange side note, I can find a girl that will sleep with me for a 5000 CFA cadeau or gift and be my girlfriend. She will clean the room, and will continue to clean until I am happy, because that is what the do best, try to take care of a man. Another ethical question and taxing to my soul.
Ok, today I try to buy a towel, to use as a mop, I will store in a plastic bag to carry from place to place.
I prefer to stay 10 days in every hotel. The first 3 days, I find the best room, if I did not choose the best on the first try. I choose the best room in the hotel about 75 percent of the time now, when I first started I just accepted and room and made some very bad choices.
The 10 day rule of rooms means.
10 plus 10 plus 10 equal 30 days. 30 Days in a month. 9 days for preparing the rooms.
I have about 5 days of life or living in a room whereby I feel uncomfortable. If I move quickly from a hotel, it means I do not like the city or the hotel. Normally a manners or trust issue.
25 days of high quality living 5 days of nonchalant arranging and working on the room. If a person thought for one second about how much time they spend cleaning their own home, they would and could evaluate and see, I spend about they spend 10 times the amount of time working on their homes than me living in a hotel room.
Yet, when they get in a hotel room, they turn into hotel dictators or fat slobs that want to demand services from hotels. Or on an even worst thought, many just ignore that the hotel is dirty. I do not like India because it is impossible for me to be the same as the other travelers and ignore the grime and dirt, I would need to live in a hotel for 30 days and hire two cleaning person to work daily to be comfortable. Goa has some exceptions to this idea.
I laugh when I see a person ask for a towel in a hotel. Then they think I am dirty, I wash my own towels and know who clean it, normally me, I do not have to share a towel with every person who has ever entered the hotel. This same person that will share a towel with everyone will then hoover over the toilet seat. Seems like they would buy some alcohol and clean it, and do a good job, but because they paid for a room, they feel they cannot clean or work on the room, all take and no give. When I manage homes and owned homes, a good tenant would make the home better and when the left, the place was improved, this happens in about 5 percent of homes, and my friend Walt interviews and gets about 95 percent of tenants that leave the place better than when it started. I would say, I fix on average one to two maintenance problems per hotel and would do more if I had the tools and supplies, I consider a dirty room normal, I consider a broken faucet lazy.
Mops, Gear, West Africa Gear, Hotel Room Choosing, Room Cleaning, Togo,