Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Washing dishes in Florence

Besides the obvious reminders that one is staying a long way from home -- the different language and new surroundings, of course -- there are thousands of small details, things that are familiar in their function but are, in their design, different than what you are used to. 

Commuter trains look different -- indeed, the presence of commuter trains is different.  Radiators have a different look, as do pay phones. (They do still exist in Florence -- concentrated around heavy tourist areas.)  Generally the cars are smaller, and some of the municipal vehicles are so small they almost look like toys.  I've seen three-wheel trucks motoring about.  Window shutters that are hinged in the middle so that the lower halves can be bent upward and propped up, so that they remained closed to the sun but allow in more air.  Anywhere I look, I am apt to notice a solution to an everyday problem that is slightly different than the solutions I'm used to seeing where I come from.

One day, Jason and I decided to do wash the dishes for our host mom.  We found the soap and the sponges with no difficulty.  After setting clean dishes on the side of the sink, we then searched for where the dishes lived.  That's when we opened the cabinet over the sink and made the discovery illustrated above.

The cabinet has no bottom, and instead has two rows of dish rack.  This way, you wash the dishes, put them away, and they drip into the sink as they dry.

Simple and ingenious.  Now I want one for my wife's home. It wouldn't be hard to build...

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