Wet Hair, Mops & Dingy Knickers

While I was at the hotel I used the hairdryer attached to the wall, for such a little hairdryer – we are talking the equivalent size of a travel hairdryer, it kicked out plenty of drying heat. So I had got used to drying my hair in a short period of time.

When we moved into the house I had to start using the hairdryer I had brought out from the UK. I plugged it in using a plug adaptor, what came out the end would have put a slowly deflating balloon to shame.

MapIt turns out, and this is probably something I should have checked the voltage in Costa Rica is 110 – 120 volts as opposed to 240 volts in the UK. It is only North America, Central America and a few South American countries, Saudi Arabia and Japan that are still 110v.

Well I tried, never say I don’t persevere at something but after 20 minutes of cool air blown at my wet locks not much had changed other than I now had a  tired arm. So I left it to dry naturally, how did my hair choose to reward me for not subjecting it to a modern appliance? – it turned me into Crystal Tipps. Now unless you were brought up in the UK in 1970s and 80s or watched Captain Kangaroo Show in the US you probably don’t know who she is.

Crystal Tipps was a purple haired girl who lived with a dog called Alistair and was friends with Birdie and Butterfly, the style of illustration was similar to  Heinz Edelmann and George Dunning the illustrators of Yellow Submarine’s  as well as Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python animations. There wasn’t any dialogue just music, although when it was shown in the US on the Captain Kangaroo  show there was some narration by the voice over artist called Gus Allegretti, who apparently voiced Bunny Rabbit and Mr Moose.

IMG_2855 IMG_2856

I seemed to have wander off subject again (butterfly mind) what I was trying to say was I had hair that decided to float out sideways so that I resembled Crystal Tipps although my hair is pure white not purple.

Time to add a new hairdryer to my shopping list, preferably one with a long lead as I need it to stretch from the plug nearest a mirror that I can see in. Either the mirrors are  set so high that all I can see is the very top of my head or there isn’t a mirror close by a plug socket. The person who owns this house is of giant proportions (well when you’re short like me anyone is a giant).

I’m now having visions of  Harry and Hagrid and Bilbo and Gandalf but superimposing myself as the smallest person. I’m not sure that I want to think of myself as a Hobbit. Damn now I’m not happy and the thing is I did it myself.

Gandalf harry hagrid

On to more exciting things and a sentence which I never in my wildest dreams thought I would write but………. I desperately need a mop and bucket or if we are dreaming impossible dreams a steam mop.

I have I had too much sun?

ImageWhen ML and I looked in MaxiPali for a mop and bucket we were out of luck. What seems to be the norm here is a long handle with a clip on the end in which you place a piece of cloth or a string head. A cleaning liquid is sprayed on the floor and the cloth is rubbed over it until it is deemed clean. What I was hoping for was a bucket that I could squeeze the water out of a mop head. If it was a spinning mop and bucket even better.

We had heard about a place called the Do It Centre in Papagayo where we had been informed we might be able to get one. So we set off one Sunday morning, it is about 70 km (43 miles) away. We arrived only to find that it didn’t open on a Sunday. The second time we went was just before the New Year and that section within the store was decimated, but we could see from the signs on the shelves that they sold the types of mops at least that we were looking for.

I can only assume that lots of people got mops and buckets as Christmas presents this year.

Our third attempt was towards the end of January, giving the store time to restock. We were met by rows of different mops, some with string heads others with material heads. There wasn’t much in the way of buckets but something was better than nothing. Then stood all on its own was a tall box decorated with a picture of a bright red steam mop.

Now those that know me know that household appliances don’t really do it for me, give me a good book any day and I’m a happy little soldier.

But can I say my little heart leapt at sight of that box, it was going to be mine. I am not someone who relishes housework but I will do it because I can’t bear clutter. I think I fall into the tidy house but not so clean you can eat meals off the floor type of person. There is too much else to do  life in than to spend it cleaning believe me.

I had a cleaner in Vietnam but we were living in a huge three storey house which had long hallways, and masses of stairs which were either tiled or marble. ML and I rattled around in it a bit but lugging the hoover, mop and bucket up and down the stairs was a nightmare.

Here in Costa Rica the house is small enough that I can clean it myself and to be honest I would probably be embarrassed to have somebody cleaning while I was sat at the computer working.

real menBelieve or not I didn’t get first go at the steam mop when we got it home, ML was straight in there trying to set it up – why won’t men read the instruction booklet. Well who was I to spoil his fun so I let him clean the floors to his heart’s content. As for me I finally got to use it a couple of days later, suffice to say I can clean all the floors in not much time at all, the most strenuous thing I have to do is fill it with water.

The house came with a washing machine and tumble dryer, not that I am a great believer in tumble dryers I would much rather air dry things so we looked around the property to see if there was anywhere suitable to put up a washing line. ML deemed that he would have to string up a line between the pillars that hold up the overhanging roof. We had to be careful with what we used as we didn’t want to mark the pillars in any way but we found a nylon cord that was strong but narrow that the pegs would fit over.

The instructions for the washing machine are all in Spanish so I ended up photographing the dials and switches and then translating them. So far we haven’t had any major problems with choosing the wrong programme.

Despite all my attempts I have been unable to resurrect my white underwear that the hotel turned interesting shades of murky pink, dingy blue and an interesting shade of grey. (See: Settling In)

I have bleached, Vanished, scrubbed and soaked them but to no avail, my final last ditch effort was the hope that the sun may be able to bleach them but even that didn’t work. So I am stuck with slightly dingy underwear until I go back to the UK to get some more as Costa Rica doesn’t seem to cater for my abundant frame.

Not sure if I have overworked it or it has just decided to be blasted awkward but the laundry room has flooded twice in the space of a week. Luckily it’s a separate section of the house and opens onto the garden, I tried to shift the water out the door but when you can’t wring out the string mop you’re not going to be very successful.

I tried treading on the mop head like I was squashing grapes and although that got rid of some of the water all it really achieve was a not so wet mop head and two sandals full of water for me. In the end I left the door open and let the water evaporate. Boris and a workman came and fixed it, and then came back and fixed it again and so far (touch wood) there hasn’t been another flood.

Living in Costa Rica

Blog Expat: living abroad

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