Sunday, May 22, 2011

International travel and the can opener of doom

International travel sure can have its moments. Last night's events are a perfect example of a situation that made me want to cry and laugh.... and I'm pretty sure I was doing both at the same time.

I wasn't feeling too great (as the blog below describes) and decided to make a simple dinner: vegetable curry. It was basically sauteed onions and fresh ginger with curry powder, then adding a pot-full of every vegetable available (you can't be terribly picky in a Swiss mountain town), adding a splash of water, putting on a lid and cooking it until the veggies are soft. I know it sounds simple and even I was surprised by how flavourful it was. Ok, back to the story... I was going to add some chickpeas at the end so I got my can all ready to go, but when I went to look for a can opener, all I could find was this device:

I figured it had to be a can opener as it had a twister-type knob and a little bladed wheel, but I had never seen one quite like this before. It looked way too simple, but yet seemed to require an engineering degree to use. After about ten minutes of very unsuccessful attempts at even coming close to piercing the can, I gave up. It would be a low-protein dinner. Adam rings on Skype around this time and I tell him about the can opener. "What? What do you mean you can't open it? It's EASY!!" This is followed by some laughter and more laughter when I show him the actual can opener over skype. I'm really not that big of a princess if I've never seen this before, right?! He gives me a lesson and I have another go at the can. Literally twenty minutes later, with sore hands and chickpea juice everywhere, the can is destroyed.. but opened! YES!

After dinner I head down to our laundry room to do a quick load of laundry. I needed some clean cycling gloves and tights for the morning, so I figured I would pop it in for a quick wash and get it out on the drying rack before bed. It's just after 7pm at this point so PLENTY of time before bedtime. Or so I thought. I toss the clothes in, close the door, put the liquid soap in the drawer, and go to put the money in the coin slot... it only takes 1 franc or 20 cent coins and I only have a 2 franc coin. Oh well, I guess I won't be doing my laundry tonight. I go to open the door and it's locked! And, the pink soap has already rushed down the inside, covering the clothes. Crap. After pressing every button on the machine, I realize it's just not going to open without running the cycle. I then remembered from last year that if the previous person's load didn't use the all the money they paid, the next person can use the remainder. I turn on the control and it starts! I select the short wash and the timer counts down from 45 mins. Perfect, not long at all. After an hour, I cruise downstairs (4 flights I might add, and the elevator is broken). The power is off and the clothes are sitting in water. Crap, I have mixed light and dark so this is a recipe for disaster. Now I really cannot leave it until the morning.... I go back upstairs to check all my pockets for coins. Nothing. Back downstairs I decide to twist the coin return slot on the other machine. Two 20 cent coins come out! YES! I put them in my machine and it's back to life. 35 minutes to go. I'm getting tired by this point so I'm down there right on time but again, the door is locked and the power is off. Having no more change and all shops in town being closed at this point, I'm doomed. I resort to crawling around on the floor, looking under the machines for dropped money. I see the glimmer of a 20 cent coin in the far corner of the room. I go back upstairs for my broom and wedge it out. YES! I pop it in the machine and the timer says 4 minutes to go. I sit there watching nervously, hoping it runs through this time as my next move would likely involve a break-in of someone's apartment or vandalism of the machine. I'm watching the timer count down... 1 minute... still spinning...boom-boom-boom (that's my heart beating)... spinning stops... silence... CLICK, the door pops open! Massive sigh. The clothes are clean.

And I wonder why I slept so well last night!


krystyna47 said...

My flatmate has that exact same can opener. Oh, I've attempted using it many times, each time I simply resort to using a particularly sharp knife, stabbing at the lid until a 4-sided hole is created. Almost the same thing!! :)

Wendy said...

Lauren thanks for the afternoon laugh. even if it was at your own expense. Hilarious blog.

Kerry said...

Oh lardass I miss you :) Hellow from South Africa!!!

Kiet said...

This was a great story, I know because I had the patience to read all the way to the end. I can't believe your luck with the 20 cent coins.

Cheap Flights to Medellin said...

Travel is intensified living--maximum thrills per minute and one of the last great sources of legal adventure.