Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I don't think China has duct tape

My sink sucks.

Currently, it's full of dishes I'm unable to clean. I am unable to clean them because whenever I turn on the water for more than ten seconds, it comes gushing out of the cupboard underneath like idiocy from Sarah Palin's mouth.

Any of the plumbing connected to the sink seems to dislodge with the slightest bit of pressure. My natural thought: This calls for duct tape. Maybe it's a Canadian thing.

I tried Carrefour. I tried B&Q. I ultimately resorted to scrounging around dust-covered alleys near the train station, hoping some drifter had left scraps of tape from his rucksack on his way outta Dodge.


In a hole-in-the-wall hardware store, I find several rolls of tape. I think this is a good sign. I ask the shopkeeper, "Hey man, do you any of this stuff, but, like, grey and really strong?"*


"You know, it's tape, but this stuff is too ... not strong. I need strong tape, usually grey-coloured. See, I have a problem with my bathroom."

"Buy this stuff."

"No, see, this is for electrical problems. I have a water problem."


There was then some confusion about whether I wanted tape or I wanted some sort of piping. This took ten minutes to clear up.

Eventually, the young guy runs out of the store. I sit and chat with the old guy. Five minutes later, the young guy is back with a roll of something approximating duct tape, except it's as thin as Saran wrap and looks better suited for pasting together an alien's helmet. This stuff practically glows.

"Fuck it. How much?"

Fifteen kuai later and I've got a roll of ... something ... which I'll use to stick my sink back together. Or try to. Wish me luck, true believers.

*Point of order: This is my very loose translation of what happened. My Chinese isn't that fluent. In fact, it's more like a monkey gibbering, punctuated with English curse words.

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