You know how people change city names and make them sound much cooler than they actually are? Examples: Portland = P-town; Cincinnati = The ‘Nati; Eugene = The Eug.
I want to change “Tel Aviv” to “The Viv.” I feel like this will significantly improve my online credibility and cool factor.
…that, or it will confuse people. Either way, I’m doing it.
I’ll be honest. I’m really tired (the kind of tired where one eye is droopy and it looks like part of my face is numb) and don’t want to write about anything super thought-provoking or deep–you know, like the majority of my blog posts. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to transition between thoughts in a way that makes sense to anyone but my sleepy self. And I don’t care. So here goes. My stream of consciousness storytelling that may or may not be intelligible.
My first full weekend in The Viv was a solo attempt to do laundry. I had a few options:
- Have the hotel do my laundry. It probably would’ve cost $300 since I had both my and Kyle’s laundry.
- Have the laundromat next to the hotel do my laundry. That also would’ve cost a lot of money. I also don’t like people touching my laundry, either dirty or clean.
- Clean our laundry by hand. Ha! Like I would ever do that. Not only would it take forever, but our laundry would probably be dirtier than when I started.
So I ventured out to find the self-service laundromat that one of Kyle’s coworkers told him about. Supposedly, it was down a few roads and on the left side of the street. I estimated 15 minutes of walking time based on the instructions that he texted to me.
I bundled our laundry up into Kyle’s duffel bag and started walking down the road. It was awkward and heavy-ish.
Alas, I forgot laundry detergent! So I deviated from the instructions and crossed the road to the Super-Pharm (like a Walgreens). I spent far too long picking out laundry detergent (hoping that it wasn’t dishwashing detergent), grabbed some dryer sheets, and struggled through my transaction at the front counter because the woman helping me didn’t speak English and the little Hebrew that I know was totally worthless.
I crossed the road again and started walking down the road, keeping my eyes peeled for the laundromat. I was still in high spirits.
After walking for what felt like forever, I couldn’t find it. I checked my map and the directions. When he said “cross Ibn Gabirol and take a right” did he mean cross it and take a right on the next side road or just turn right? Since I couldn’t find the laundromat, I thought that it was on the next side road. I started walking down a sketchy side road and peered into buildings. They were mostly apartment buildings and there was no laundromat in sight.
I stopped and asked for directions from a woman walking her dog. She didn’t speak English (or likely, she spoke English but didn’t feel like helping me).
I tried to use my phone to search for it, but without knowing the name of the laundromat or the crossroad, it was difficult.
I tried finding other laundromats in the area and found a place called Soap Opera that was supposedly a self-service laundromat. I walked more than one kilometer down the road only to discover that it was not self-service. Poo.
The man working there directed me down the road (the opposite side of the street) for a laundromat that he thought existed. “Ten minutes,” he said.
After 15 minutes of walking and no laundromat in sight, I crossed the road and thought that he was mistaken with the side of the road that it was on. I walked back down the same road again.
No laundromat in sight.
I started to get hungry, so I stopped for some lunch.
The food was delicious and I even made a new friend(?) that suggested that I do laundry at his apartment. It was all the way across town and I would have to take a bus to get there. He would go with me when he got off of work, he said. Then he could take me out and show me Tel Aviv and his favorite restaurant. Ummm, super generous, but I’ll have to pass on going to a strange man’s apartment for laundry and a date.
After lunch, I started down the road again. I walked up and down Ibn Gabirol all afternoon and still hadn’t found the laundromat. Finally, a very helpful man at a gelato shop “asked Google” and gave me the building number, specific directions, and I was able to find the laundromat. Yay!
It was like in the movies where the gates of Heaven open up, it’s all golden, bright, and the angels are singing.
At that point, my arrival at the laundromat felt like the Israelite’s arrival to the Promised Land. *Sorry about the sacrilege, Mom. But that’s how glorious it was for me to finally find this place. Relevant?
I soon found that the washing machines only took 5 shekel coins and each load would cost 20 shekels. I had two coins and I needed eight. Boo.
Figuring that it would be easy to make change, I went next door and asked the coffee shop for some change. Not so politely, the woman said “we don’t have any change” and proceeded to stare at me while I uncomfortably stood there and stared back at her. What she should’ve said was “we have change but I don’t want to give any to you.” It makes total sense–they probably get asked for change all the time. But she didn’t have to be so rude about it.
Luckily, a service man came into the laundromat and he gave me change directly from the machines.
I finished our laundry, folded it, and brought it back to the hotel like a sweaty, tired little pack-mule with my prized laundry possession.
All in all, I was probably “doing laundry” for a solid 5 hours.
My laundry adventure taught me lessons in patience, perseverance through adversity, strength of character, and…. ok, who am I kidding? It taught me to hoard any 5 shekel coins that I can get a hold of.