Thursday, January 30, 2014

Laundry Vietnamese Style: It works!!!

We had a most satisfying laundry experience in Nah Trang. Funny how the basic (primitive?) needs can become such a dominant focus when you're out of your primary element. Behind our hotel, in an alley, is a whole world of local life. At night, when the electricity is on, you can see into the homes: the multiple scooters in the main room, satellite dishes for nearly everyone, and EVERYONE has a cell phone in the rural areas as well as the towns and cities.

Anyhow, while Kirk was out excursioning with the rest of our group, I was trying to recoup from my gut ailment and sought out how to do our laundry. Laundromats don't exist around here. You can pay the hotel $20-30 to do your laundry or have one of the families in the alley do it for $1.00 USD/kilo. I gave a delightfully happy 30-ish woman my 4kilo of wash and 8 hours later it was all washed and dried, some line dried, some machine dried, pressed when appropriate (like Kirk's T-shirts, he doesn't get that treatment at home), and returned to us with a hug and a smile. We gave her a $2.00 tip and she thought it was a mistake. Must have made her week, or maybe her month.

We didn't have a group meal our 2nd night in Nah Trang, so Kirk and I went in search of something less Vietnamese, something a little more like home. We chose Indian. Sounds funny, but lamb curry and papadum with chutney tasted like comfort food.

Had another laundry experience in Saigon. (District 1, of 24 districts, is called Saigon; the metro area is referred to as Ho Chi Minh City, or HCMC, with half of the districts being named, the other half given numbers.) Anyhow, our hotel was in the heart of what would be Michigan Avenue or the Miracle Mile in Chicago or Park Ave. in NYC. No alleys anywhere in sight with  families competing to do your laundry.

We walked out the front door of the glitzy 4 Star Hotel heading for a walk with the goal of getting 4 more mug shots for our Cambodian Visa. Literally had not gotten 10 feet from the front door when a woman rushed us, thrust a business card into our hands with an offer to do our laundry. $5.00 USD/kilo, but we're not complaining. We wondered if we'd ever see it again, but she promised to have it ready for us at the same spot on the corner in 24 hours. Deal!!

24 hours later all of our laundry was more than perfectly present, folded, high tech fabrics line dried, heavy duty cottons dried another. The system works.

Again, pix will be dropped into the blog after I get home. For now, those of you on Facebook can catch some of the pix there.

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