Alex (yakshaver) wrote,

Cambridge, !Mass.

I'm writing this from an internet cafe in on Mill Road, Cambridge, England. I don't even remember the last time I saw an internet cafe in the US, but I'm glad they still have them here. (Crap, the woman next to me just lit a cigarette. Welcome to Europe. Sigh.) I asked the guy at the counter when I came in if they had wireless, and he said yes, but further conversation reveals he didn't know what I was saying. (Many front line customer service jobs in the UK are held by people for whom English is not their first language, and this guy's from Venezuela. But I think this was more likely a variant of computer salesman syndrome: He's clueless, but I asked a question to which the answer I wanted was, from my intonation, obviously "yes".

I'm staying with my friend Matthew, who had broadband at his house until a month or so ago, when he had the housemate whose name it was in cancel it, rather than transfer it, because Matthew was never home and never used it. The lack of broadband alone would make it the most primitive place I'd stayed in years, but there's more. It's a late 19th century house that was retrofitted with plumbing and "central heat" in the early 20th. And never upgraded. We blew a fuse last night on account of space heaters. A five amp fuse. I think I remember 10 amp fuses, in the fuse box my dad tore out of our house in the late 1960s. I suppose that's the equivalent, given the voltage difference. The central heat is provided by this cast iron gas burning instrument in the kitchen that's used for cooking, water heating, and to warm the house by circulating warm water --- very slowly. It gives me an appreciation for modern amenities that even the SCA never did. And in spite of all this, Matthew just sold the place for just under US$300k. It gives me a new perspective on the housing market in Cambridge, Mass.

Anyway, my hour is about up here, so I'm going to call this done.

Tags: travel
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