Day 183: The Faffing Laundry

Hmmmm, how to write about today? I know I usually say this, but there is literally nothing to write about. Unless you’re the sort of person who gets excited about someone doing laundry, I suggest you go elsewhere for your kicks. A good 6 hours of the day was spent faffing, and I don’t mean your usual sort of faffing. If there were awards for attempting to do something, but getting nowhere fast, we’d definitely take first place. Although I manage to elaborate every time I say “I’ll put today’s blog in bullet point format”, I genuinely don’t think it will be possible today. So, for a very quick read, here is what happened on this monotonous day.

• I woke up before the others, around 9am, very much aware I had the previous days blog to write. It took me all of an hour and a half to complete, in which time Sarah woke up. She entertained herself with the tablet, using it to go online, where she discovered the horrific news of a bombing during a marathon in Boston. There were 2 deaths and over 100 hundred injured. It’s a sick world we live in.

• We spent some time doing Internet banking, getting up to date with all what we owed. I still don’t fully understand the credit card system. Anna woke up during this, then we all went about packing our bags, as we had to check out by midday. Fortunately we had a new hostel booked, and then came the task of hailing a red truck. Outside our resort there were many trucks passing by. It took us 4 red trucks before one driver finally agreed to take us to So Hostel. Every driver before that, when asked to take us, would look at us wide eyed and shake their head violently in disagreement. We figured there must’ve been something going on on that street that made them not want to drive through. When we arrived, there was nothing. No post Songkran celebrations, no rioting in the streets, no protests, whatever reason they had for not taking us wasn’t to be seen. They simply must not like the area, which would’ve also been a strange reason, as the location is great. The hostel is situated a stones throw from the night bazaar, and plenty of other amenities.

• We were told we wouldn’t be able to check in until 2pm. This gave us somewhere between an hour and a half – 2 hours to waste. We were allowed to put our bags in storage, and free ourselves from the heavy strain on our backs. Before doing so, we took our dirty clothes out and decided to do some laundry. The hostel had three washing machines and two tumble dryers. All of which required a minimum of 30 baht. I was against this from the start, but the majority vote won, 2 against 1. It didn’t make sense to me, for us to do it ourselves. We had so many clothes that it would have been cheaper to visit a laundrette instead. Granted they charge by the kilo, and we had at least 10 kilos in total. By the time we’d finished, we had paid several times over for the tumble dryer, as on the first go it didn’t dry a thing, if anything our clothes felt more damp than when they first went in. By the end we must have spent 2 hours of our lives, and over 200 baht in 10 baht coins. Not to mention we overloaded a washing machine with all our darks. Oh, and before we could do any of our washing, we had the small issue of having no wash powder. Anna went off to reception to grab a couple pouches of the stuff, and it was then Sarah made the mistake of emptying the whole sachet into the designated drawer. In her defence, all the instructions on the pouch, and the washing machine, were in Thai. However, it was quite funny to watch the bubbles seep through the gaps of the drawer when the machine started. We took up two washing machines, as we separated the loads between darks and lights, and I didn’t say anything as I saw Sarah put a blue vest of mine in with the lights. I figured she knew best. Each load was set to finish at separate times, at best we had an hour to play with before one load was done, so we went out for breakfast.

• Along the street outside our hostel was a multi purpose business. It was not only a tourist information shop, where you could buy day trips and the such, but it acted as a barbershop and a laundrette. For 40 baht a kilo you could get your washing done, in a simpler, less complicated fashion than we’d already attempted. Seeing as the girls had a few items left over that wouldn’t fit in the drum, they handed it over. We then continued around the various streets for an open restaurant. Many businesses were closed because of Songkran. It was the first day after the festival had ended, and everywhere seemed to be on a hiatus for one more day. Eventually we located somewhere that was open, and we went inside to enjoy some sandwiches. Afterwards, we returned to the hostel to check on the washing.

• It was done, now all that was left to do was put it in the tumble dryer. We used the only two machines, and then had another half an hour to wait. For the majority of the day we filtered between going somewhere outside and returning to the washing. The second time we went out was for a coffee at Starbucks. We were getting low on credit on the gift card my mum bought us, but still treated Anna to a drink all the same. When we were done, it was back to the hostel.

• It turned out, one of the dryers worked better than the other. Either that, or it better coped with a smaller load. The light stuff had dried best of the two, but the darks had to go back in for a second dry. It was then Sarah realised a blue vest can’t go in with whites. It had spread to a few of her items, then she had the nerve to blame me for it. When secretly, deep down, she was happy it happened, as it would give her an excuse to buy more clothes. We chucked the load in for another half an hour, then went to reception to check in. We paid for two nights upfront, before being escorted to the storage room. It was there I had to use my Spider-Man skills to clamber over other people’s bags to get to ours from the back. I don’t quite know how they filled the room with so many bags and still managed to close the sliding door properly. I used the stairs, which were separated from the room by bars, to my advantage. I shimmied along until I located our holdalls and one by one, threw them to Anna. We then got into the elevator and were taken to the sixth floor to locate our room.

• There was a slight bit of confusion when we got there as to which beds were ours, but we soon figured it out. No thanks to a cleaner changing the sheets and pointing them out, even if it later turned out to be someone else’s. With our bags beside our beds, we returned to the dryers. They still weren’t completely dry, and by this point, people were waiting to use them. We took what was dry back to the room, but the items which were still damp we put as a giant load into the better dryer. Instead of leaving it for just 30 minutes, we decided to pay a little more for a total of 50. As well as the laundry that day we wanted to sort out our Australian visas once and for all. To do that we’d need an Internet cafe, as our place charged 20 baht for half an hours usage.

• We located the only close by Internet cafe, but what do you know, it was closed. There was a sign on the door which read “will be open at 4:30pm, sorry for any inconvenience”. That was a full 30 minutes from then, so we explored the rest of the area to see if there were any others. On the way there was a very peculiar man waking in Sarah’s path. Usually when two people are walking towards each other, that awkward stranger dance occurs until someone moves out the way. Not this guy. This guy was determined to make Sarah move, he was adamant he’d keep his ground, and came to an abrupt stop right in front of her until she moved around him. I only put this in here because he defied the laws of the dance, never had I seen someone rude enough to just stand still, forcing the other person to move.

• We couldn’t find any other Internet cafes, and in the end we couldn’t even be bothered to wait for the other place to open. We had to be back in 50 minutes, and 30 of those would be waiting around anyway. So we decided to pay and use the computers at So Hostel instead. Besides, they were cheaper than the cafe anyway.

• It took somewhere around half an hour to an hour by the time we finished our forms. While Sarah was sorting hers, Anna and I finished off the drying and took it to the room. When I returned I found a rather stressed out girlfriend. I think we were putting to much pressure on the whole thing, thinking the worst would happen if there was the slightest of errors. We checked it over to the best of our abilities, then paid £240 to be allowed a chance to work in Australia for a year. It was now out of our hands, and into the government officials that would be checking it. All that was left to do was get those X-rays, and we should be golden. We printed off all the forms, as instructed, then went about helping our buddy Anna with hers. It really is tricky when English isn’t your first language. Especially when it comes to filling out details from your passport. For example, we’d write Copenhagen if we were to put it on the form. But because Anna is from Denmark, it is spelled the Danish way, and the alphabet they use isn’t exactly on the keyboard. Even when she managed to figure out how to type using her letters, she then had the issue of wondering if the person checking it in Australia would understand it. It’s all very complicated. I swear they don’t want new people coming to their country. By the time we finished on the computers we wanted to be anywhere but there.

• We returned to the room to freshen up before heading out for food, but it was there we had a dilemma. The bed I had been issued earlier on that day now had two confused girls beside it. Apparently it belonged to one of them, and they couldn’t figure out why it had a guys clothes all over it. I apologised and explained the situation, then grabbed all my clothes. My bed was number 12 according to the receptionist earlier that day, yet the cleaner had pointed to the girls bed when we first arrived. I found number 12, but there was a girl led on top on it. At first I thought it was a gift from the hostel, a “welcome to the building Mr Norris” sort of thing, sadly it wasn’t. She apologised, and explained that her bed was the one above mine, and was just lying on it for some unknown reason. Before we left the room, one of her friends wandered in, wearing short shorts, and a loose, half buttoned shirt, revealing her large exposed cleavage. She too led on my bed, and again, I thought it to be a gift from the hostel. Sadly Sarah scared her off when she asked if the bed was hers, for a split second I almost suggested she stayed, but thought the repercussions of such an act unwise. Never had I managed to get two different girls in my bed within 5 minutes of each other, and have done so little to get them there.

• With fresh clothes, and our visas looking more promising than before, we headed for the night market. We had a quick look around some stalls before sitting down for tea. I ordered a couple dishes on accounts of only eating sandwiches at brunch. Sarah ordered a noodle soup based dish, but ended up wearing it, fresh from the kitchen. As she dragged the plate towards her, it caught on a place mat causing the boiling contents to splash over the edge and onto her lap. For the rest of the meal she rested a bag of ice on the burn to prevent any damage.

• After our food we only had half an hour to spare before a film started at the cinema. Because we had missed the opportunity the day before, we decided to catch the last screening of “Oblivion”, it was the latest Tom Cruise blockbuster. We hailed a red truck, and were taken to the central airport plaza for 100 baht. Everything was closing down, and we just managed to make it through the front doors before the security guard locked them. We took the elevator to the 4th floor and found the very busy cinema. Sarah was in a foul mood because of what happened, and the pair of us ended up arguing over it. We hadn’t even noticed Anna sneaking off. At first we thought she did it to get away from us, but after I bought popcorn and a coke, she returned with a tube of gel for Sarah’s burns. Instantly Sarah cheered right up. Doing a full 180 from the mood she was just in. It turns out, throwing a hissy fit WILL get you what you want. We then took our seats, but had to stand for the king when requested. It was nice to see they’d changed the footage since last time, much like they do with the orange Wednesday adverts. Now it was a montage of the king’s life, from childhood right up to present. The film itself was entertaining, but it wouldn’t compare to the new Ironman 3 movie which was scheduled for release very soon.

• The whole building was shut down by the end of the movie. We managed to use the elevators to reach the basement, and had to exit through the car park. It was midnight now, and there wasn’t a single red truck or tuktuk insight. We stood waiting for a while, before deciding to walk up the desolate road. The only vehicles that passed belonged to normal citizens. Fortunately a single taxi was heading in our direction. If it wasn’t for the girls being with me, I swear he wouldn’t have stopped. The driver didn’t have the light switched on on his roof, so I presumed he wasn’t looking for a fare. He was kind enough to take us to So Hostel, but we felt bad after he said he was on his way home when we stopped him. I think the red trucks and tuktuks only run until a certain time, after that you’re on your own.

• The driver got us back really quickly because he took the back streets. Which was very entertaining, as he spotted out the lady boys to us, who were street walking. As we turned the first corner, I noticed one of them hunched over the passenger window of a stopped car. The vehicle quickly pulled away as we approached. It was either a customer or a pimp, either way, it was suspicious. We were dropped right outside the front doors, then we made our way up the stairs to our room. The girls played on the Internet for a while. Anna talked to her dad about the visa, while Sarah chatted with her friends. By the time I got my phone back it was 1am, and by the time I’d finished this it was 3:30am.

I am very sorry guys. I told a lie at the beginning of this. I honestly thought I wouldn’t have much to say on today’s activities, but it turns out you truly can elaborate upon a dull day involving laundry and visa applications. Tomorrow will probably see us getting our X-rays done, just imagine what I can do with that after I work wizardry with these words.

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