It sounds simple enough! We’ve only been traveling for about three days, but when you only carry a backpack for a six week trip, it doesn’t take long before the idea of fresh clean clothes is quite attractive for several reasons! Especially when the outfit you are wearing is the same one you put on and have worn for the past two days since you left home! (OK, Mitch, I get the hint! Stop holding your nose!)
I find myself with a washer readily available at our housesit, so let’s get this done! Instructions left by the homeowners – three small scoops of detergent and one small scoop of “anti-cal” to combat the hard water. Got it! I gather up an armload of dirties and head out the kitchen door to go down to the gym/laundry room to get this chore going.
About halfway down the steep staircase of 18 narrow steps, I feel my feet go out from under me as my middle back hits the hard concrete…tripped up on some dangling dirties! Coupled with some prolonged moaning and bellowing, I do a quick mental inventory of my conditon. OK. Just some scrapes – no breaks! Onward to laundry!
What??? I need a home ec class for this! Youtube and Google Translate to the rescue! Some of the settings are pretty obvious, others not so much.
Algodon – cotton.
Algodao – cotton in Portuguese!! What – it’s in two languages??
Sineteticos – synthetics.
Delicado/Seda – delicate/silk.
Lana/La – wool (never did figure what La is or how to get that little ~ above the a on my keyboard.)
Antialergias – Hypoallergenic (I’m guessing).
Sport – duh.
Plumas/Penas – feathers (What? No, more Portuguese).
Camisas/Blusas – shirts/blouses.
Ropa oscura/Ropa escura – dark clothes.
Rapido – quick!
Ignoring most of the other buttons, I choose Algondon. (By the way, “Prelav” is like a pre-wash or extended wash, I think.) Then I see the numbers illuminate!! Are you kidding, 2 hours and 45 minutes to do a load of laundry? Guess I will skip my hiking plans for today!
Turns out that these front-loading European washing machines don’t have agitators, so they are gentler on your clothes. But the wash cycle takes forever. And the water temperatures?? US average for a load in hot water is 120°F. Well, here it is 60°C which is 140°F and if you want to get those babies really clean you can up to 90°C (194°F)!!! Dang! Now that’s some clean clothes! I feel dirty again! I never did figure out the other controls – but I realize the little clock symbol is a timer. I guess it would be convenient to load them the night before and have it start while you are still sleeping. Especially if it is going to take almost 3 hours to get the load done! We learned later from the homeowners that many of the locals do their wash at night since electricity rates are lower during off peak times.
So, the washing is done. How about the drying? It is a very common practice here to hang your clothes out to dry. Fortunately, I do that at home too. Saves on the electric bill, makes your clothes smell fresher and bleaches those whites in the sun! But, it has been since I was a child that I saw an umbrella or rotating clothesline! It is a battle of woman and the wind! Those sheets were wrapping themselves around me like a mummy!
Gotta say, once you figure it out and make some adjustments to your schedule, I like it this way! And my clothes have never seemed so clean! Now watch out – I am going hiking!