Monday, October 18, 2010


One of the things I love about living in a different country is uncovering the startlingly different assumptions about how everyday things work. Like garbage.

When we first came in 2002, I couldn't figure out what we were supposed to do with our garbage. Turns out it's a very simple system. Every few blocks dumpsters perch at the edge of the road. You dump your garbage there.

It's about a 5 minute walk for us to get to a dumpster, so we, like most people, don't use big garbage bags.

There is no official recycling program I know of, but there are some informal ones. Scavengers on bicycle (in this photo, I caught one, lumpy bags strapped to the bike, just as he was leaving the dumpster) make regular rounds of the city's dumpsters, retrieving anything of value, kind of like the old rags-and-bones men.

You often see bags of stale bread hanging on the outside of the dumpsters.

They're for the poor who might prefer stale bread to no bread at all.

And occasionally, someone leaves something outside the dumpster just because it's too beautiful to throw away.

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