Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Laundry in Dubai

It's a generally mundane topic, I know. But laundry here in Dubai is a cultural thing. Let me explain.

If you're a member of the white collar (professional) society, you send your laundry out or your live-in maid does it for you. 

If you have a live-in maid, her quarters consist of a tiny room, usually windowless and usually off the kitchen. Your maid also helps with house cleaning, child-minding, grocery shopping, cooking, dog-walking, errand running and tea making. She is indispensable. 

If you send your laundry out, you choose to have the clothing items laundered, pressed (freshened) or dry-cleaned. You don't flinch at paying 19 AED ($5.17) to have one men's shirt laundered. A safari suit (Indian male attire) cleaning will set you back 45 AED ($12.25). And that three-piece tux will come back clean for a mere 75 AED ($20.42). 

Oh, and apparently they do this weird thing to western style men's suits. After they dry clean the suit, they steam it and then kind of buff it so it's rather ... shiny. Not everyone wants to sport a reflective look, but apparently this is what they deem appropriate.

So far, I've done a tubful of hand washing (horror!) and accepted a generous offer from Greg's colleague to impose upon his apartment and washing machine. 

Isn't it funny how you take these things for granted, until it becomes hugely, disproportionately important?

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