Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Laundry day (or boat-wife torture)

[Maryanne]Laundry was well overdue aboard Footprint. I should have been keeping up with the small stuff in a bucket, but convicted we’d be in civilization I’d left it, and now had at least 3 loads, and sheets and towels. We were also running low on water with no way to fill up Footprint, and it was TIME to crack the laundry issue.
After searching, asking and begging all Friday in the tiny town of Kalimaki with no luck, and with rumours of a laundry in Corinth, I asked around for the mysterious bus times and realized I had to get the 8am bus in to Corinth and hope I could find the laundry by asking around...

Naturally the bus didn't arrive until 8:50, but standing out in the sun waiting for a bus is fun, so I didn't mind. While waiting I had a friendly sign language lesson on how to stop the bus from driving past me from a local waiting for the bus on the other side of the street.

Made it to Corinth and started wandering around with my giant bag of laundry in tow - street after street hoping to stumble on they mysterious laundry. Eventually I found a police station and asked - and got some very sketchy directions, only to discover a dry cleaning store that practically threw me out when he saw my bag of laundry - in the process he yelled Loutraki (the town just to the North of the Canal from Corinth) as the only place I could go.

Oh but I wouldn't give up that easily - I walked to the marina thinking there may be something there - nothing so much as a toilet block. I was already getting tired and frustrated and just as I wondered back into town to start researching buses to Loutraki, my shoe (flip flop) broke. I soon realized I'd have to purchase a new pair of shoes if I was to make any progress, so €10 later I had a pair of shoes that seemed fine; a few blocks later than that I was already forming a blister. Grrrr!

Already feeling exhausted and defeated, I decided to reject the bus ( I don't think there is a direct one anyway) and went to the find the taxi line I’d seen earlier in the day. Just my luck I get the taxi guy that hardly speaks English and doesn't seem to know where there is a laundry in Loutraki either, but insists he does and I have no choice but to get in HIS cab or give up. He said about €10 for the journey - but on route determines that the bridge is down (for the west end of the canal) and now he has to go over the main road-bridge (where Kyle previously bungeed) and that it would now cost €20. I was already feeling pretty overwhelmed and frustrated by the day, and knew he'd be going by the main bus station now - so I asked him to drop me off there - He pretended not to understand me and drove right by the entrance, then miraculously understood me... but there was nowhere for him to turn. Luckily we then found ourselves on the road to Loutraki where a bus stop was overflowing with people - and I made him let me out there before the meter got any higher - clearly there was a bus due any minute.

Within 10 minutes I was in Loutraki - whew, now wheeling my laundry with my blister about the streets looking for anything that looked like a laundry and asking anyone that looked like they might be able to help. Hours later I find somewhere, it looks like a dry cleaning place but the very friendly and smiley assistant is immediately on the phone and steals my laundry away with no hint of a price... (won't know until it is done). Gives me a time to return. So I'm free, I have a few hours to kill and I don't want to walk too far.

Loutraki turns out to be a nice little sea-side resort. Kind of like a Virginia Beach but with a pebble beach and mostly old folk. There are supposedly spa waters there, so there is a nifty indoor pool with waterfalls, Jacuzzi(s) and the like - full of the elderly (including one 80+ year old guy with a shower cap on). Quite entertaining. With time to kill I finally got my hair cut and was suitably chastised by the very friendly and chatty hairdresser (with great English), and then went looking for the waterfalls she told me about - but I couldn't find them, nor be bothered to walk any further with my new shoes and blister.

I found a great little restaurant where I got stuffed tomatoes and peppers for under €5 - real Greek food, no chips.

Eventually I hobbled back to the laundry only to be told it would be longer (they took my phone number); there was more than they expected it seems!

So I hung out in the park reading my book for another couple of hours.. I'd already researched the buses and knew that I'd missed the early afternoon bus, next one 'home' was not until 6:30pm (so who knows what time I’d actually get back to the boat). I felt ever more exhausted. I still had the boat to tidy, the bed to make, and possibly had a visitor on Sunday so I really was feeling overwhelmed.

Eventually my laundry is ready (€35 - about $50) and it seemed the family were driving my laundry from Isthmous - I mistook that for Isthmia (i.e. the next town down) and asked if they could give me a ride back to Kalimaki (I'd pay, obviously). But it wasn't quite the right town - they did say they would drive me to the bus station though, and from there, there may be more bus options or a taxi. No buses for the next 2 hours - so I grabbed another cab (again, no English and only a vague idea of what I was talking about - but we made it).

Relieved, Laundry done. Lesson learned? Probably not. I hate to add up the total cost.

Paradise today was not!


kate said...

typical cab driver! so sorry your day was highjacked by laundry - or rather, the endless series of glitches that turned it into a day long endurance test. and your busted flip flop - and the new one that gave you the inevitable blister, ouch! i feel your pain there. at least the laundry is now clean, and you don't have to worry on that count for a while. have you managed to learn a few greek curse words on the off chance you face future frustrations? :) can't wait to see you guys!

Karen said...

Good grief, Maryanne! Doing laundry is a chore in one's own home, much less doing it in a laundromat. But having to drag a load of clothes from town to town while suffering with transportation issues (both mobile and pedestrian - hope your blister's on the mend), not to mention losing an enire day in the process and then having to pay a fortune for the experience? Sheesh - what an ordeal! It's almost enough to justify giving up on the process entirely. Either that or maybe going 'au naturel' instead? ;-)

At least you had a good meal and were able to catch up on some reading. I have no doubt you'll be fully
recovered and Footprint will be ship-shape in plenty of time for what I'm sure will be a wonderful
island-hopping cruise with Kate and Mark. (Can't wait to read all about it.)

Happy sails!