Posted by: scribe9 | January 10, 2010

Pipe down!

Americans abroad are required by federal law to cast aspersions on foreign plumbing, so I’m only doing my patriotic duty here.

When we first moved into our current house, I was wandering around the back and side yard and noticed a couple of places where pipes came out of the lower wall and elbowed downward. An inch or two below the ends of the pipes was a small grate. I had a sneaking suspicion, which was confirmed when I happened to be there while someone was running water in the sink or shower. The water does, indeed, drain out the pipes, going through air before hitting the drain and disappearing. The only exception is the toilet. It has a vent through the roof and no other visible piping, so I’m assuming no other opening. Since virtually every house here has either a metal or a tile roof, perhaps this arrangement is meant to avoid punching holes in the roof. I assume it’s not a health issue, so maybe I should just call it disconcerting.

In Australia, we had lived in a newer townhouse and I never noticed outside pipes. But we quickly discovered that the way to keep cockroaches out was to tape over the drains in the floors of the bathroom upstairs and the toilet room downstairs. Cockroaches are far beyond disconcerting. Fortunately, here we have no floor drains.

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