Guadalajara: Car Wash

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Detailing a car at a curbside car wash


If anyone knows anything about conserving water, it’s the car detailers of Guadalajara—or any city in Mexico. They can make a car spotless with less water than most people in the United States use to wash their hands.
They move around the city, setting up shop on street corners on certain days. Armed with 20-liter plastic buckets, they beg water from any local resident who is willing to give it.
The detailers show up every Tuesday, open-air market day, on Calle Capricornio at about 6 a.m. In the winter, it’s still dark at that hour, but never mind. They can clean a car by the glow of the streetlights, and never leave a streak or a spot. They use far less than a bucket of water to wash a car and return it to its original showroom luster.
When the open-air market closes, and shoppers and shopkeepers head for home, the work of washing cars is essentially over. But in that eight-hour stretch from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., there is rarely any downtime for the detailers of Guadalajara. Somebody always wants his or her car washed. And the lucky somebodies who come to these water misers for service will always get a good deal at a fair price.

winter afternoon—
the neighbor in a hurry
peels out from the curb


Text and photo © 2016 by Mark M. Redfearn, all rights reserved


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