Friday, July 29, 2011

What's the Difference?

There are so many things that are different here in I thought I would address some of the major differences that you may not have thought of yet...
1. Garbage: We have to sort nearly every piece of garbage that we garbage, paper garbage (cardboard, paper, etc.), plastics (hard, soft), aluminum, styrofoam, and "other" garbage...we have 3 different garbage cans and a bag we keep in the freezer for food garbage. Definitely different.
2. Smells: It's amazing how different the air here smells. Sometimes it's food (or fish), sometimes it's smoke, sometimes it's garbage, and sometimes it justs smells bad. Can't explain it. Other times it smells good. Regardless, it always smells different!
3. Cars: This one is probably pretty obvious. There are a lot of Hyundais, Kias, and Daewoos. Not many of anything else, including pick up trucks of any kind. If you see a Ford, it's usually driven by someone in US Army fatigues. There are a few Lexus, Mercedes, and Audis. They stick out like a sore thumb (or a silver spoon!).
4. Houses: Heat is through pipes under the floors, so everyone has hardwood. You can't wear your shoes in the house. You turn off your hot water, A/C, and gas (for the range) every time you leave the house. Everyone has enclosed balconies. We have a large one in front that is all glass windows where we dry our clothes. Our washing machine is on the back balcony. No one has a dryer.
5. Streets: All of the streets appear to be uphill! There are sidewalks, but their purpose is unclear. People drive on them, park on them, and attempt to walk on them. They are extremely narrow and cars still park in both directions on both sides. Then large buses drive through them. Red lights are a suggestion. Scooters are the only ones the right of way. No rules appear to apply to them. Pedestrians must yield to, scooters, and buses.
6. Food: Everything is individually packaged (I guess that's why they're so fanatical about their garbage!) including apples, cheese slices, and crackers. Food is expensive. All of it! We have wandered around more than one market wondering what to buy, but we have cooked two different kinds of pasta and tacos in the last week, so we're feeling pretty good about that! As far as eating out goes, it is easy to find just about any type of food you would like in our neighborhood: Indian, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Mexican, American, Jordanian, Italian, Chinese, Filipino. Pizza, coffee, and bakeries abound!

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