Friday, April 16, 2010

Spinning Me Right Round

Apparently I took one or two things for granted while I lived in Chicago. Not a complete surprise, but the one that stands out recently is my lost sense of direction.  In Chicago, the water was to the East and everything was mapped on a grid.  I knew that 8 city blocks was a mile and I could determine how far something was just by using street addresses.  Well, I was spoiled and became weak...very weak.  Now, the water isn't always to the East, it isn't even always to the's every where you turn!  And turn you do, because the streets aren't straight and they change names mid-turn.  Things are measured in kilometres rather than miles.  I'm constantly turned around, mostly trying to figure out which way I've actually come from, let alone which way I need to go.

But it's not just my sense of direction that is being tested.  As I'm searching for a new car, I find myself getting quite frustrated.  For starters, I haven't actually had to search for a car since 1999.  I realise that this is an incredible feat for most people but in my defense I kept my first car for 9 years and then I went without for the last two (Note: My fantastic '94 Subaru Legacy is still plugging along from what I understand).

If I were faced with the task of buying a car at home I would relish the opportunity to test drive, visit dealers, and all the other fun stuff that goes along with buying.  But here, I won't be buying from a dealer so finding one place to go with all of the cars I'm interested in is nearly impossible.  Most of my research is being done online instead. Although the major car companies are nearly the same, everything is imported from some place else and the reputations are different.  Not to mention the models themselves are often called by different names.  The fuel economy is measured in kilometres/litre neither of these measurements are easily converted in my head.

What I can say is that I am fortunate that there is an abundance of cheap cars from the backpackers that come, drive them, and leave.  I just need to choose one. Do I get the Ford?  What about a Citroen or Holden?  Or I could go all out and get a cheap BMW.  And what is an Opel???  How about this 1977 mini for $3250 NZD ($2300 USD)?

So, I'm off to find a car.  I need to make sure it's something I enjoy driving, reasonably priced, and is economical.  All very important because if I buy a car, I'll consider myself fortunate if I can navigate my way back home again in a reasonable amount of time.


  1. hmm what an interesting dilemma, hadn't really thought about the need to buy a car!

    I know my way around this portion of miami, but flying back last night from DC I really thought they were landing in the wrong city

  2. The '94 Subaru just made it 400 miles round-trip Chicago to Champaign and back within a 24 hour stretch! Still pluggin...

  3. Sweet as! That's what I like to hear.