adrian is rad


car, flags, repairs, spirals, flowers, ¡baboons!

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:05 am

rented Beetle on Boyes Dr.

I rented a 1977 Beetle through December. It’s pretty fun. It’s quite a different driving experience, even compared to my no-nonsense VW Golf that I had before I came. Nothing is power (steering, locks, windows, etc.). It doesn’t have AC or a radio. It takes a minute to warm up enough until it’s willing to be put into gear. There isn’t an intermittent setting on the wipers and the turn signal doesn’t turn off by itself.

When there’s road construction, there’s a person employed whose sole purpose is to wave an orange flag all day warning of the start of the construction area.

The TV at my apartment broke on Thursday and my flatmate said she’d get it fixed. I don’t know if I’ve ever known someone to get a TV fixed[1]. In the US, the cost of getting electronics fixed is rather high whereas the price for new or used consumer electronics is relatively low, so people just tend to get a new one. Here the opposite is the case. Besides washing machines and sewing machines and laptops, I’m having a hard time remembering any piece of consumer electronics that I’ve known someone to get fixed. TVs, cell phones, digital cameras, etc–just get a new (or used) one. I told my flatmate about this and she, rightfully so, thought Americans are quite wasteful.

A couple people have asked which way the water spirals as the toilet flushes here. Toilets flush straight down here, but the sink in my apartment drains clockwise. However, this is, apparently, due to how the vessel is construction or the water enters rather than anything to do with the Coriolis effect.

flowers at kirstenbosch
flowers at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

I spent the afternoon at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. I walked around for a while looking at all the things, especially the proteas, fynbos and silver trees, but I chose to sit and read by the prehistoric cycads. They’re funny looking plants and they date back hundreds of millions of years.

A cautionary sign on Boyes Dr.

I love this sign. I read it ¡Baboons! and it makes me laugh to myself every time I see it.

[1] I did know someone who fixed’s tEp’s TV while he was living there, though.

3 Responses to “car, flags, repairs, spirals, flowers, ¡baboons!”

  1. Lauren Says:

    I went to those gardens when I was there, too- it was a really restful place to spend an afternoon. Of course, my visit would have been better if I had seen the baboons! sign…

  2. Colin Says:

    I don’t think it’s accurate to say that Americans are wasteful. As you point out, the cost structure here encourages wastefulness but I think that most non-Americans, if confronted with said cost structure, would also replace rather than repair.

    I enjoy living at MIT because, with the reuse email list and SwapFest, there are plenty of opportunities to give away or sell broken electronics so they won’t just go into a landfill even if you do wind up buying a new item to replace a broken one.

    I finally just gave away the broken DVD player I mentioned here. I also sold a bunch of old electronics at SwapFest a week ago. I actually sold my N64 to a young African family. They drove a hard bargain.

  3. adrian Says:

    Well, whether the system makes it advantageous to be wasteful or not doesn’t matter. I know it’s a more extreme case, but were people who were cruel under a cruel system like apartheid still cruel? I’d say yes.

    And, yes, there are individuals and areas and segments of the American population that aren’t wasteful and should be applauded, but in general, I would agree with the assessment that Americans are wasteful.

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