Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Of Brooms, Drains and Plugs

So apart from not being able to find a can opener, I can also not find a decent broom. There seem to be three types: there is a bundle of “broom” which creates a soft, whispy implement, only suitable for dusting; there is a bundle of stiff stalks, which at least you can put a bit of force behind, but you can’t really direct where the dirt is going; and there is a broom made of rubbery strands, intended for sweeping the water towards a drain. None of these brooms is longer than a foot and a half, so of course one is doubled over to do any sweeping. I wonder if locals would appreciate the merits of a long-handled broom, or if they would find it as awkward as I find theirs?

Which leads me to a comment about drains: Most washrooms have a drain in the corner, where water is directed after a shower. That is after the whole washroom, toilet, sink and anything else in the way, gets soaked. In my washroom, I have to remember to remove the toilet roll and my towel before I shower. One benefit is that everything gets a good wash every day. Afterwards I squeegy all the water towards the drain, or the floor would never dry.

My downstairs washroom (the pristine pink-tiled one) has a washing machine in it. The first time I used it, I noted that the drainpipe was just directed onto the floor in the opposite direction to the drain. I thought that was silly, since I really don’t want to have a flood to clear every time I do my laundry. I moved the washing machine so that the pipe goes directly down the drain, and “voila,” no flood. Some solutions are so simple.

Not surprisingly, none of the sinks have plugs. I’ve encountered this in many countries, so I always carry a universal rubber sink stopper. It has come in handy many times. This time, I wanted to be able to put a plug in my kitchen sink to do the dishes, but the rubber stopper isn’t designed for that. I went to the local “hardware” stores, but they don’t sell any such thing. Instead I bought a stainless steel basin to use in the sink. Again, it is a good solution. I think local people just wash dishes under a running tap.

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