Maintenance Mekong-style

Several years ago, we lived in Hanoi, Vietnam. And twice a month, at our apartment, a team of 10 or so young men arrive for 'airconditioning maintenance'. Armed with ladders, drop cloths and buckets, they'd swarm through the place, unscrewing and removing every air vent and tin fixture, and sometimes drilling into odd spots of the ceiling, then carting everything out to the balcony. There each piece was carefully washed with water and soap and drip dried in the sun. Then they would re-assembled it all back into the apartment. It took the better part of a day.

Granted, we didn't have any air-conditioning problems but it's safe to say that this particular exercise benefitted local employment more than it did the airconditioners. But after several months of trying to make myself scarce and to block out the whine of random drilling in the ceiling, I politely told the management that we didn't want our airconditioners maintained. They were visibly startled at my request, and confused, and eventually we settled on every four weeks, instead of every two.

I figured that in a building of 200 apartments, one crazy tay (foreigner) wouldn't rock the staffing roster too much.

Fast forward a few years and we're back in the Mekong. There's been no sign as yet of airconditioning maintenance but the other day a small truck pulled up unannounced in the driveway.

Our trusty gardener, Mr Outhai, who has been with the house since it was built and probably before the advent of air-conditioning, promptly hopped onto his bicycle and disappeared out of the gate. This was slightly ominous but fair enough; the garden itself soon vanished in a puff of smoke. Literally.


And that's a touch of Lao maintenance, aka killing the garden mozzies. And quite possibly other things too.

What home maintenance do you wish someone would take care of?