Friday, February 12, 2010

Clogged Drain

I haven't posted anything for a while so I might as well get back into the swing of things with an unusual one. We have a new roommate on the third floor of our house who went away to Bangkok for the week before Tet holiday. We went up to do some laundry, as the washing machine is in the bathroom on that floor, and noticed the sink was half full of really disturbing looking water. I attempted to unclog it with a wire hanger and was unsuccessful. Karen and I came to the conclusion, from the look and smell of the water, that he had thrown up in the sink and because of that the pipes were completely clogged. Instead of telling us, he went away for a week and left us to make this particularly gruesome discovery days later. We called the always helpful Ai and asked her to contact the landlord to send a plumber as soon as possible as Tet was only days away and we didn't want to deal with this for another 10 days. The landlord was there 15 minutes later. He showed up with a weather beaten plunger and made his way up to the third floor. He spent a few moments trying to force the drain to clear and then went at it with the wire hanger. He was as successful as I had been. This is where the story takes a strange and repulsive turn. Karen and I are standing directly behind this man, looking over his shoulder as he takes on the sink. ***I need to describe the third floor bathroom before continuing this story. There is a shower stall, a basin and the washing machine. The washing machine, basin and shower all empty into a drain in the corner of the room fed by pipes. There is no toilet in this bathroom.*** To the complete horror/dismay/surprise/shock/outrage of Karen and I, the landlord unzipped his fly and began to urinate into the drain. I didn't know if I should give the man some privacy or roll up a newspaper and whack him across the nose before rubbing his face in the mess he just made on our floor. In a true tribute to the level of desensitization that Vietnam has inflicted on us over the past 44 months, we simply walked away and went downstairs. the landlord came down and,because he doesn't speak a word of English, wrote a time for later that same day on a piece of paper. With that, his business was finished and he bid us a goodbye. " Ok, thanks for coming into our home and pissing on the floor, you disgusting animal." I replied cheerily. He nodded to me and hopped onto his scooter and sped out of our lives for the time being. The plumber came later and fixed the sink. To the best of my knowledge he didn't relieve himself on any the floor of any of our rooms, so we have that going for us. For those of you still checking in on us from time to time, Happy Tet and may the year of the tiger bring you much luck and prosperity.
Pray for our sanity,