Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Giant Bird's Nest

Actual date of this event: 29 July

Today, Luke and I were invited to attend the festivities for today, but we decided it would be best to stay back. I need to do some laundry, he needed to catch up on email and do some house and car research online. Our house search will begin tomorrow, so we need to have some prior knowledge of what is out there. I had to get a jog in at some point today. And we either needed to go to the grocery store for some dinner or go out to eat.

The task of LAUNDRY:
I decided to start on the laundry after having some cups of coffee and eggs for breakfast. About that... the eggs here are "free range" eggs, so in the grocery store they are not kept cold but recommended to be refrigerated after purchase. We were very hesitant about that but we have not seen cold eggs, so we had to purchase some the other day from Asda. The size of the eggs is normal, but when pan fried, they end up being larger than normal. They are somewhat fluffy and the yolk is orange rather than yellow. They are pretty tasty! So I started washing some clothes which I knew was going to be a big task, but didnt realize how much trouble I was in for. I had previously used the dryer to de-wrinkle some clothes because ironing is just not my thing. It was a task to figure out how to use the dryer... actually it is a washer-dryer combo. I had to get the user manual out because the buttons are completely different than in the States. They have letters for certain programs and there is no possible way to know what letter is what program.

Unusual buttons on the washer/dryer

So after reading the manual and pushing the right buttons, I was on my way to some de-wrinkled clothes. Not quite: the dryer does not heat up like an American dryer. So, after attempting to de-wrinkle, I said, "We just got here with suitcases of stuff, people will understand our wrinkles", and I moved on. So now I was washing some clothes because Luke was running out of jeans to wear. First off, the washer/dryer hole is very small and the drum is very small. A load is here is about the half of the load I am used to. I decided jeans were most important and threw those in (three pairs and thats all). Again, I had to get the user manual out since I had not learned how to wash yet. Some brilliant person who lived in this unit before us, decided it was a great idea to let the papers get wet, so I had to use my blurry-glasses to read the print. Not easy.

The window into the drum is not even 12in in diameter.
Blurry manual for washing

So I figure out what buttons, I need to push, but now I dont know where to put the detergent. There are three possible slots. Ugh! So again, consult the blurry manual and decide to go with the middle.

No labels on the compartments for detergent

Allright, Ive got it. Now, after 15 minutes if beginning this process, I can start the machine. I set the timer like I always do when washing clothes to remind me to dry the clothes. I set it for 40 minutes figuring that some machines take 40min and I can just keep adding 10 minutes until the wash finishes. Luke decides to go for a jog, and I figured I would wait for him to get back before I go for my jog. I wash a few dishes (hand-wash that is since we dont have a dishwasher) and clean-up. During Luke's jog, it rains a little bit but not too bad. My timer goes off, so I add 10min. Goes off again, so 10 more. Luke gets back and says his jog was wonderful because it is cool. So after a total of 1hr 40min, my wash finally finishes! Remember, I am washing 3 pairs of jeans here. Seriously. So, I get up and turn it to dry. I set the dryer for 60min because that how long things to take to dry. I go for a jog (see story about jog later in this blog). I get back from jogging. The dryer finishes... it has now been 2hr 40min since the start of these three pairs of jeans. I take them out, and they are not dry!! OMG!!! Are you kidding!?!?! I stick them in for another 30min thinking this has to be enough time. I go to check them after about 15min but I cant because the door to the machine LOCKS when in the middle of the load -whose the genius that came up with that one? So, after 30 min they are still a bit damp, but I am so over this ONE LOAD that I dont care and pull them out and hang them. So to sum it up. 3hr 10min to wash and dry 3 pairs of jeans with no multi-washing at the same time. Washer-Dryer Combo machine sucks.
(Note: I washed some clothes on HOT later on, and it takes 20 minutes longer, so 2hr to wash.)

The task of JOGGING:
Like I said previously, Luke had gone jogging and it had rained a bit on him. When I was finally able to jog after my clothes finished washing, it was still sprinkling a bit. I figured it would stop soon since it had been going on and off since Luke went for his jog. I could not have been wrong! This was my first jog, and I was terrified of getting hit by a car. I was worried that I would look the wrong way since cars are on the opposite side of the road. And the term "pedestrians have the right away" does not mean the same thing here as in America... cars will pull up to about a yard from you as you cross. So it is now pouring rain, I am dodging puddles on the sidewalk, watching for cars as I cross every single street and I am worried that my earbuds are going to go out from being soaked (I put my ipod in a small pocket, so it was fine). My shoes were soaked because the rain got heavier toward the end and I could not avoid puddles without going on the road (not happening). When I got back, I took my shoes off to begin the drying process (forget putting them in the worthless dryer). I took a look into the mirror to see just how wet I was and BAM! Birds had formed a nest in my hair. I wish I had a picture of this because it seriously looked like a birds nest. I have always gotten a few knots in my hair when I jog, but this took 5 minutes to brush out (thats a lot for my fine hair). Braids from now on! The positive to this experience is that I did not break a sweat, my jog went extremely quickly and I wasnt even paying attention to that fact that I was jogging because I was preoccupied with other things. Even though it sounds like a horrible experience, it was actually very pleasant and such a great change from the horrible heat that I used to attempt to jog in. I may change my mind when it is 30 degrees and raining, but we will wait until that day comes to judge. :-)

I tried to cross as few major roads as possible during my jog.

The task of DINNER:
Luke and I decided not to go to the grocery store since there are so many places we would like to try and the best time to do it is in the beginning of your experience. I would hate to fill up the fridge here and have to move it all to our permanent home in a few weeks. We went to Nargile ( because we had heard from several people that it was good and we are Greek fanatics! We had to see if it compared to Albasha. Anyway, it is currently around the block (about 1/2mi) from where we are which is nice. When we walked in, the host blabbed something at me that I could not understand, so I just said, "Um, there are two of us." Apparently he was asking if we had booked a table. I had heard that we would need to make reservations for most places, but this was a last minute decision and I think our American accents would give away that we did not know. He sat us down right away. Luke ordered a Turkish beer, and I ordered a Mediterranean wine. We looked at the menu and tried to find what we thought would be close to our usual from Albasha: Hummus of course and something with lamb. We got a delicious sliced beef & salad appetizer. Luke ordered lamb with purreed aubergine and veggies (great choice). I ordered sliced lamb with purreed aubergine and chopped pitas (tasted like spaghetti). It was definitely different than Albasha, but it was good. I am sure we will make another appearance soon.

Turkish beer
Appetizer: Humus with Pitas and Dana Sogush
My meal: Nargile Special
Luke's meal: Hunkar Begendi 
Palette cleanser after dinner - tasted like dish soap

The task of the PUB:
After dinner, we walked to a bar that we had heard was a previous expat's favorite: The Mariner. It is actually located at a hotel. We had been to a few pubs previously and they all have one major thing in common. There are no servers - you go to the bar to order whatever you want. While here, we tried to watch some Olympic swimming finals involving Americans but apparently that was not as important as GBR in football, so a guy changed the sport on the TV. W headed home to our flat since we needed to be on for our house hunt in the morning.

Pint at the Mariner

Outlets have on/off switches, and it is a fire hazard to have them in the bathroom.

Red showing means the outlet is off


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