If you are in Egypt for a month or so, you are going to have to wash your clothes… at some point (I would hope). And laundry here is not quite what it is at home.
First of all there is the mechanics of getting the clothes clean… Now this will vary from person to person, and living arrangement. I have heard that it pretty cheap to pay someone to wash your clothes for you. Actually a lot of people pay people to iron their clothes for them.
But I wasn’t too happy with the results when I did that in Yemen. Yes my clothes were clean and freshly ironed… but the shop marked up my clothes with permanent marker, I think so that it would make it easy for them to identify it. Unfortunately, they marked it up in places that were pretty conspicuous. So I ended doing my laundry for myself.
Here in Egypt, there are apartments equipped with the type of washing machines we have in the states. My apartment however, is not one of them. It has a more complicated washing system, that is nonetheless effective, (and probably a lot better for the environment as well). Thankfully, this is the kind of washing machine I used in Morocco, so it’s not completely unfamiliar to me. It has been 6 years though, so I have forgotten some of the steps. But basically
1. you put the clothes in the washer.
2. you connect the tube from the machine to a water source and turn that source on so that water can fill the compartment. (In Morocco the machine was on the roof, so we used a hose. Here in Egypt we use the bathroom faucet).
3. You let it fill to up to a particular line and then turn the water off.
4. Turn the machine to wash.
5. Repeat the steps 1-4 to get your clothes really clean.
6. When you’re done take you clothes out of the water filled compartment and put them in the squeezing compartment. This will get almost all of the water out of your clothes.
7. Hang them out to dry.
I have realized that when hanging clothes out, you cannot just hang everything will nilly. This took some getting used to because in Morocco you could hang underwear and bras and stuff like that and it wasn’t a problem. But I haven’t seen anyone’s underwear waving proudly on the clotheslines. As a matter of fact, my roommate hung her bras facing the house placed a towel in front to keep them from being seen from the outside.
And there you have it… one of the practical every day issues that are part of living in another country.