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Where is the laundress to empress?

By | August 23rd, 2010 | TRAVEL

Lili’s laundromat in Sifnos

So since I’ve been here on an undisclosed Greek Island I’ve accumulated a bit of laundry. In the beginning I was hand washing about 2 things a day-but then I got busy..busy doing nothing is a lot of work-there’s swimming, eating, smoozing, floating, you get the idea. That’s the thing about vacation, it sneaks up on you. So my cousin recommended a new ‘cheap’ laundry service in town. Apparently coin operated laundromats are only in Greek ghettos and not so popular. But one very clean ‘Lilli’s’ has opened up so I decided to give it a whirl. Knowing that hours are odd here-there’s an afternoon siesta from 2-6 when things change I set off on foot with my bag and my detergent bright and early but not too early. I got there, the door was open but no one in there. I poked my head in the international magazine stand next door and the lady would not give me 1 euro coins for the machine because the man would be back in 10 minutes. Greek time or real time? I decided to wait as I had nothing else pressing to do.  After awhile a man come in speaking in Greek and based on his outfit I can’t tell if he works there so I asked him, ‘do you work here, or do you think I work here? because I don’t’ He kept rattling off in Greek so I went to get the magazine lady to translate-she speaks English. The machines cost 6 euro a load, I want to do 2 loads-lights and darks, and the machine takes only 1 euro coins. They two are arguing. It seems the guy doesn’t want to give me change. What is it you actually do here? It’s obvious that he doesn’t do your laundry but he can’t make change? So I inquire is there somewhere else I could go to get change? She answers, ‘no one will give it to you.’ I’m complaining to her about the lack of service of this guy and she explains that all day people are asking her for change and that it’s not her business. She asks if I am unhappy with her store. I exclaim I am happy with her service and have bought some nice books and paper in her shop. They’re going back and forth and the nice lady gives me 6 1 euros, and then I hand the guy a 5 euro bill, I put the coins in two machines, he takes them out and turns a key in the machine! Wait why does he ask for coins when he can turn the machine on by key? Is this some elaborate scheme to milk this nice magazine stand lady out of coins? I explain to him that I only want to wash and no dry. Because I see so many nice drying racks I assume that I will be able to air dry my clothes. So I leave and come back after the cycle only to find the shop closed up and with no visible sign of my clothing. I recheck the hours of operation and see I’m not crazy this guy who is obviously not Lili should be open. I stay calm and visit the magazine store lady again and she hands me a plastic bag of my clothes. They are inside, still wet, and with some extra sand???….by accident? for fun? for garnish? I’m not sure. I’ve just paid 12 euros for what?? Ahh island living.

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