Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wish you were here

Continuing on the theme of reasons to be glad you are not here, we bring you a blog on scams.

Doing laundry is not easy on the road. We rarely have a washing machine at our disposal and we have never had a dryer. That means if you wash your clothes, you’d better have enough time for the load to dry before you move on. So, we’ve really only washed a few loads ourselves. The rest of the time we seek out Laundromats. Just so you know, these actually don’t seem to exist outside England. If you want your laundry done, you have to take it to someone else to do for you.

Having someone else wash my clothes seemed expensive and decadent at first. However, when there are no options except to hand wash, one quickly adapts. I want to say that I did try hand washing when we were in Santorini. I dutifully hauled out the tub, bought some detergent and hand washed shirts, underwear, towels and bathing suits. I could only do one or two tubs at a time and it took forever. Not to mention, your hands start to ache from the wringing. Tom gave it a shot and we both agreed, having someone else wash the clothes was better.

All through Greece and Turkey we would seek out laundry spots. They were very reasonably priced at about 5-8 dollars a load; sometimes cheaper. Even then, it is difficult to find a place to do it. It usually takes more than one day and we have to haul all the clothes to wherever the place is and so that means we find the place first and then go back to the hostel to get our clothes. The whole process is very time consuming.

Imagine our delight then, at finding out that the hotel we were staying at in Belgrade would wash our clothes for us! They came right to the door, took the clothes and would have them back by dinner time! Fabulous!

We found the hotel by chance actually. We arrived in Belgrade at 6:30am after our unexpectedly long journey from Istanbul. We found the hostel we had looked at online but it was closed. We wandered through the dark city streets looking for a café and happened across the Hotel Slavija. It was by no means a top of the line hotel. The café had table linens with cigarette holes burned in and the rooms were well worn. The bathtub looked like it had probably been used for the past hundred years or so and my favourite part of the room was the toilet with a seat that didn’t actually fit the rim of the bowl. Nice. However, it was available immediately and it was clean. The room was only 65 euros and it had two rooms with enough beds for all of us. The buffet breakfast was included and looked delicious.

The weather in Belgrade was horrible. It rained hard the whole day and was about 10 degrees. We were outside almost the entire time but did our best to find places to go inside. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were very wet and quite chilled. Our clothes were in the room. They were all neatly folded, pressed and cleaner than they had been when we left Canada. The laundress had done an amazing job! My jackets were hanging on hangers, underwear was in a separate pile. It even looked like they had tried to separate the clothes by size! Socks were matched and pressed. It was unbelievable; almost like it had been sent to the drycleaners. Hmm. I picked up the bill. FIFTY DOLLARS! Yes, we had been taken to the cleaners.

It is not the first time we have been hosed. We had a shoeshine in Istanbul that cost about $15 per person. It is now “That which will not be mentioned” so I dare not go into details here. Suffice to say, the past week has been filled with rude surprises.


maryanncart said...

Hi All, I guess the more primitive countries are more primitive in many ways...for $50!!! NOT NICE...What if you imagine you are Tarzan/Jane and dealing with animals? At any rate, I'm glad you found a place to stay and "chalk it up to experience"!!
Going to Kamloops on Sunday, back late Wednesday night. Love to all, Mom

Steve said...

I seem to recall the laundry was either by the pound or by number of garments through out Europe. Either way, it added up WAY to fast. Of course $50 is off any charts one could possibly imagine. That would buy a whole laundry centre in Belgrade I imagine! Nice to have clean pressed clothes again I bet. After doing socks and undies in the sink and hanging in the shower for a few months, having pressed laundry is ALMOST worth the cost.

Holly said...

And to add insult to injury, we have a washing machine in our Budapest apartment now. Too funny.