So one of the oddest parts about being in Mongolia these days is just how normal my life feels here. Parts of my routine should feel weird – really weird – but they just don’t. Not anymore.
Two of the biggest ones that come to mind are the twin tub and the water filter. When we arrived last August, I can remember hearing people talk about their “twin tub” and what a nightmare it was. Not wanting to sound naive, of course I responded with a casual uh huh, and the conversation moved along. And now here I am, about to tell you about the twin tub. While I wouldn’t call it a nightmare (it washes my clothes after all), it has surely given me a new appreciation for any sort of washing machine not called a twin tub.
Have a look:
The tub on the top is the wash and rinse area; the one on the bottom takes care of the spin cycle. Sounds easy enough. But this is the twin tub we’re talking about.
So before your clothes even hit the tub, you must fill said tub using a crappy plastic tube that connects (and on a good day stays connected) to the shower hose. The tub is then filled, the machine plugged in (on the other side of the bathroom) and away we go; we’re doing the wash!
Just don’t trip on the cord…
So yeah, a wash and two rinses later (all of that is done manually – you fill the tub, empty it, fill it, empty it…you get it), you are left with clean clothes that are tied in a magnificent knot.
I am holding the clothes from the top – you can’t see my hand – but they are ALL connected. By grabbing a single shirt, more often than not you can shift the entire load from the wash/rinse tub to the spin tub. It’s that simple.
But it does horrid things to your clothes. You should see the shape of some of our t-shirts…they’re stretched into the most awkward oblong shapes. That said, it’s great if you have a shirt that is a little too small – it’ll surely come out a size or two bigger than it went in.
Ahh, the twin tub. Love it or hate it, it’s better than hand washing!
But enough about that, let’s talk about the British Berkefeld. What in the world is a British Berkefeld, you might ask? It’s our trusty water filter of course, and when you have a glimpse inside, you quickly realize that it’s necessary.
But first a tour:
There she is in all her glory. The top part contains the filters, and that is where you put your water (after it has been boiled of course – which happens every morning in our case). The bottom is the reservoir – that’s where the boiled, filtered water stays until we need it.
Just this week I replaced the candles (what the filters are called):
Gross, right? That set of candles served us since September. You can clean them by scrubbing away all of the sediment – which we do about every 3-4 weeks – but at some point you reach the point of no return, and it’s time for a new batch. And the new ones?
Right. They look quite different from the old ones to say the least.
So what is it that is in our water? Well, it’s a little bit of everything…and a lot of lead…which, of course, is why the British Berkefeld is our trusty companion during our time in Mongolia.
They sure do make a dynamic duo, the twin tub and the water filter.