When you’re a tourist or a nomad you realize that there are certain things that you take for granted, which, when seen within a routine, seemed mundane. Then you notice that you don’t have a place to wash or dry them, and you have to call Reception to bring up the ironing board and iron. It’s suddenly not mundane anymore. Unless you’re a member of the Cullen family that don’t wear the same thing twice (they throw them away) then you would have to do something about your dirty clothes.
You can try the laundry services offered by the hotel but I found it ludicrous to be paying around S$5 and up for a single piece of shirt or pair of trousers – and we’re talking regular washing here. Dry cleaning is a different issue altogether. Long before my nomadic existence, unwashed laundry grated on my nerves. The sun was shining and it would have been wonderful to hang them outside and get sun-dried clothes by sunset, but my washing machine was missing a motherboard. It got fried a few days back. Browsing the net for a self-service laundry place in Singapore was frustrating and, at some point, infuriating. For all the convenience and traveller-friendly services of Singapore, self-service laundry centres were virtually unheard off. I was gobsmacked with this discovery.
When my family and I were living in Palo Alto, California, the washing machine and dryer we rented were already picked up and we had some clothes to wash. We were heading for home soon. Fortunately, my mum discovered a self-service laundry centre a few blocks away from our apartment in Escondido Village and problem was solved
In Singapore, I was lucky to have stumbled into a self-service laundry place in Bukit Merah Central (some call it Bukit Merah Bus Interchange) called Wascolux. For an extra dollar, according to the lady managing the place, they’ll do the washing, drying and folding for you. She kept emphasising that it’s only a difference of S$1 when I started loading laundry into the washing machine. I kept refusing her politely – it wasn’t an issue of money for me. I like doing my laundry – not the ironing – because, well, it’s therapeutic just like when am running on the treadmill. As I mechanically go through the motions of doing laundry, I sift through my thoughts and feelings, problems, etc. But explaining that to her would have been an effort; not all people understand the concept of being alone with their thoughts.
While waiting for my laundry to finish, and with a rumbling tummy, I made another serendipitous find while I searched for a place for breakfast. Wang Café was a better choice than the nearby McDonald’s. I chose a table outside to enjoy the morning sun while I waited for my traditional Singaporean breakfast to be served. Most Singaporeans like to eat nasi lemak (Malay dish of coconut-rice with egg and fish or chicken) or fried bee-hoon (vermicelli noodles) in the morning while I favour a lighter breakfast. For S$4, set B is breakfast of butter-sugar toast (it’s kaya jam instead of sugar for set A), two boiled eggs (runny eggs!) and teh (tea with milk) served in a cup slightly bigger than a cappuccino cup.
Laundry problem solved; a table under the morning sun; my kind of breakfast; and a book to read – these helped ease the starkness of my nomadic existence.
Bukit Merah Central, #01-3527
Tel: +65 6270 1743
Block 165 Bukit Merah Central
Tel: +65 62780604
8:30am – 5pm (Monday and Public Holiday)
8:30am – 8pm (Tuesday to Friday)
8:30 am – 7pm (Saturday and Sunday)