Posted on April 15, 2008 by Chris Lumens in , .

Last night was an interesting experience. I’m here for three weeks total, but I only brought about a week’s worth of clothes because there’s a washing machine in the apartment. There’s no dryer, but I can take care of that part easy enough. This sounded pretty good to me since it meant I wouldn’t have to haul twenty pounds of clothes across the ocean and I wouldn’t be taking twenty pounds of dirty clothes back with me. I hate that.

Anyway I’d been told the washing machine was tiny and a little unusual to work with. In fact I’d been told all the appliances were unusual because they’d pause if turned off and resume when turned back on. Oh also all the controls are pictures and all the measurements are in Celsius instead of “hot”/“warm”/“cold”. Whatever.

On the outside, the washing machine was every bit as small as I’d been led to believe. On the inside, it was even more hilariously small. I crammed in two shirts, pair of pants, couple socks, and locked the drum. Then I added detergent, closed the lid, and deciphered the directions to my satisfaction. I turned some knobs and pressed the start button, which caused the machine to immediately begin making a series of grinding noises and pauses.

A quick check with previous residents verified that such noises were to be expected. So I sat down at the laptop to do something while the washer ran. About half an hour later, the power went out. At first I didn’t make the connection. I wandered around in the dark until I stumbled across the front door then checked and made sure the power was still on in the hall. Okay, so it’s just my apartment. I wandered around a while longer looking for a flashlight by cell phone screen but none was to be found. So I took the cell phone and found the breaker box. Sure enough, the main had tripped.

Well the pieces were coming together now. I went and unplugged the washing machine and reset the main breaker. Everything except the washing machine came back on. Success! Now to test my theory… I went and plugged the washer back in. As soon as the poles made contact in the socket, the breaker tripped again. So my theory was right.

Unfortunately now I had a washer full of wet, soapy clothes and no way to clean enough stuff for the rest of my trip. I spent the rest of the night rinsing clothes out in the sink and hanging them up around the apartment. Now I just need to find a laundromat (do such things exist here?) and get someone to come repair the washer. I can only imagine how warranty service works in other countries. More to come…