The key to packing for a 3-week trip is to pack for a 1-week trip, and spend time at the laundromat. The staff at the hotel pointed me to a facility on the edge of the downtown area. If there’s one thing I planned well, it was laundry accessories (one of the great inventions of our age: the Tide packet). So today I made my way up “S,” crossed the Marktplatz and plunged into the heart of Little Istanbul.
Everyone was out enjoying the gorgeous morning, shopping, talking, eating. It was about a 20-minute walk to the Schnell und Sauber [Quick and Clean] but it passed quickly because of all the sights and sounds. These did not stop once I arrived at the waschsalon [laundromat], which had a brisk business for a Saturday morning, with many wash machines taken by a man and woman. This couple appeared to be washing every article of linen they owned.
In hopes of learning the ropes, I watched them for a while. I studied drawings posted around the grimy room. I burned up expensive data on my smart phone trying to translate words I saw posted in the payment area. In the end, I had to ask another patron, a harried woman, how to do it. She knew enough English and could point effectively, so learned how to pay for a load and how to turn on a machine. I never quite mastered the dryer; I think its settings were “damp,” “slightly less damp” and “still somewhat damp.”
The only signs I could figure out were “no drinking” and “no loitering,” and it wasn’t hard to comply. There was nothing to do there and no surfaces that would allow computer or writing activity. I read, but mostly watched the pas a deux as the couple folded their large collection of bed
I also tried not to touch anything around me. I’ve never thought so much about disinfecting myself from a place designed to get things clean. It’s a testament to my thirst for new things that I left with a sense of accomplishment. The Schnell und Sauber lived up to its name, pretty much: I had clean clothes for the week ahead, even it if took most of my Saturday morning to make that happen.