17 January 2007

Gas Tank

In Vietnam, we don’t have gas lines into houses or apartments, or I guess into much of anything else. To wash dishes, I boil water. The shower has an electric water heater, and the gas for the stove comes from a small tank.

When I moved into my apartment in October, 2005, the gas tank was empty. The landlord called the shop, and a new one was delivered. At the time, I told her it would last me a year and she laughed. She said I would need a new one in three months.

Having used such tanks in other countries, I knew my consumption rate. Although I cook every day, it is quick cooking; no pots of beans and rice simmering away. But half-way through the pasta last night, the last drop of gas finally ran out. I let the linguini sit in the hot water another five minutes and although a bit sticky, was edible.

When I got home from work today I called the number on the empty tank and, pretty much ordering in Vietnamese, had a new tank delivered fifteen minutes later. Some sorts of services here are far superior to anywhere else in the world. And you can’t beat the price. One tank, that lasts me nearly fifteen months, is only $10.

The rose next to the tank is for perspective, not aesthetics.
Time to cook.