Doing the washing, buying underwear, and playing charades with the Chinese

Doing the washing, buying underwear, and playing charades with the Chinese

I've discovered that doing your washing is either really hard or expensive. China doesn't have Laundromats like they do in many western countries. The type where you take everything down and sit there with a magazine while it washes and dries everything for you. They do have lots of dry cleaners but they are just as expensive as New Zealand. So it's not really an option to use a laundromat. The other option is to use the hotel laundry service. This is slow and expensive. It can take between 12 and 48 hours to get your clothes back but they will be super clean and ironed.

John tired to help us out when we got to his city and he arranged for us to do washing at his friends place. It was great but then we have to dry it all. and the problem here is that nothing dries very fast.

I didn't go any washing in anticipation of free cleaning in John's home city of Zhengzhou. I used up a lot of clothes holding out on doing my washing. Now I've done my washing but I can't get it dry so I'm running around in a cold city in shorts and a singlet hahaha. The Chinese thought we were interesting in the first place but now they just think I'm crazy! here is this strange white human in shorts and singlet?!!? I'm a little mad that I can't get my washing done but what can ya do?

Obviously I have had to do washing in the nearly three weeks I've been here. I must have spent over $100 NZD getting my washing done. Each piece of clothing costs to get it washed. The lads are figuring it's cheaper to buy new socks and undies than to wash them. They are nearly right. To wash a pair of socks is $10 RMB ($3 NZD) and to buy them is two for $12 RMB ($3.20 NZD). Undies to wash are $15 RMB ($5 NZD) and cost about $20 RMB ($6.5 NZD) to buy. Pants and shirts are a different story and better to get washed but not by much.

So the we have been buying lots of socks and undies. However, we have found that Chinese clothing sizes are not the same as NZ - obvious in hindsight. I bought some size L boxers. When I put them on the leg hole got stuck going around my calf, my thigh was nearly impossible, and I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

The next time I bought XL boxers and they fit a little better. I'm thinking that I'll have to try some XXL or even XXXL to get the same as a NZ Large hahaha.

Buying shoes is a similar problem. Everyone wants to sell us shoes. I've been tempted with a few and asked to try them on. When I tell them that I wear size 10 they laugh and shake their heads as they often don't have shoes that large. Most places will stock up to size 8.

For a few days we all split up and went to different cities. Sam went back to Beijing, John went to Zhengzhou, Sinclair and I went to Guilin. I hadn't really appreciated how hard it would be to communicate without John. I knew it wouldn't be easy and I got John to write down the names of all key things like hotels and flight details etc in Chinese and English. When it actually came time to communicate it all got very hard. Trying to pay bond, trying to check out, trying to get an old blind taxi driver to read a laptop screen to find a hotel, trying to communicate McDonalds to people etc. It suddenly gets very interesting. We danced, mimed, drawn pictures, pointed, gestured all to try and communicate our needs. It was slightly embarrassing at first because they all stare at us anyway let alone when you are dancing in the middle of an airport trying to ask where the bathroom is - makes for some very funny times.

On checking out of the hotel in Guilin, we need to catch a taxi to the airport. I couldn't figure out how to communicate it so we drew the below picture. It worked a treat. Drawing pictures and acting out seems to do OK. Yay for the basic rules of communication.



13 comments (Add your own)

1. Baz wrote:
Just as well you did Drama classes at school. We knew it would come in handy. The mental images are vibrant.
Chuckles Mum

Fri, April 3, 2009 @ 8:43 PM

2. Hayden Sanders wrote:
I've just gone and bought the largest size I can get XXXXXXL (6XL) hahaha I'm hoping they fit. The package has them as 'Fat mens undies' bahahaha

Fri, April 3, 2009 @ 10:15 PM

3. E wrote:
ohhhhhhhhh probably not something you want to advertise for the world to see. i am never ever going to let you forget having to buy fat men's undies. how awesome and how disturbing

Fri, April 3, 2009 @ 11:43 PM

4. Hayden Sanders wrote:
Yeah maybe. The thing is the Chinese are very small so it works out to be about a NZ Large

Fri, April 3, 2009 @ 11:58 PM

5. Baz wrote:

Sun, April 5, 2009 @ 6:54 AM

6. Hayden Sanders wrote:
Maybe I will but I doubt it. I'll just go back to the land of the long white cloud and average sized Europeans and I'm sure I'll be fine haha

Sun, April 5, 2009 @ 9:09 AM

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