This is what the average bus looks like in Panama:
Actually, no, in all honesty, the average bus looks a little more like this:
(Now featuring exhaust!)
But minus the smokyness and the unreliability and the disorganization and the people-piled-on-top-of-people-piled-on-top-of-people-falling-out-the-windows-and-doors and the middle-of-the-road-broken-down-and-abandoned, they’re pretty rad, right?
Each one is a retired U.S. school bus that’s been decked out with a custom design. Most even have a second “night look” featuring flashing neon lights and blaring music.
Lots of the owners of these buses opt for a classy airbrushing of their daughter’s Quinceañera photo on the backdoor. Others look to the Gospel for inspiration:
Others still go Hollywood (this is one of my personal favorites):
Yup, that’s Hulk Hogan tearing off his shirt as he sneers at your wimpy 2-door hatchback!
And boys, don’t miss this one:
Padme Amidala, people! And it’s for sale!
MUJI is a Japanese company that’s making some simple, super-smart products.
Like these cotton swabs (aka Q-tips):
They’re about 2/3 the usual length for cotton swabs.
People only use the fluffy ends of these things, right? So what difference does it make how long the stems are? None — except when considering the quantity of materials that can be saved by implementing little changes like this.
Which is what MUJI wants us to consider:
“The aftermath of the earthquake only served to underline the awareness of truly appreciating the many wonderful things we take for granted in our daily lives. Increasing concern about our excessive consumption of goods and materials, as well as an over emphasis in the media on encouraging excessive consumption has been growing; the consumer society is in danger of consuming itself, and we now have a responsibility to return such out of control human desire to a more sustainable level.”
“MUJI constantly exercises self-restraint in the design and manufacture of its products; it can be frustrating reducing an item to its essentials, but with practice it becomes natural and even enjoyable.”
The wisdom of purchasing simple, quality, long-lasting items is really hitting home with me these days. When we left the U.S. we purged piles and piles and piles of STUFF, and now we’re starting from square one in our new home. We’ve decided only to buy things that we really love — that are beautiful and functional — and that we really need — and that we can really afford. Which means we actually haven’t bought anything at all quite yet! We’re on a strict financial diet as we attempt to save for some upcoming travel (and eventually a wedding!), which is forcing us to introspect even more about what we can live without. Kitchen table? Television? Sofa? No es necesario.
But to all you who ARE in the market, getcherselves something smart, like MUJI.
Discovered via this article on the quiet revolution.
Went to this awesome free event on Saturday morning with my 3-year-old nephew-to-be, Roger.
There were hundreds of stations set up in the grass, each one equipped with large sheets of thick paper, a paintbrush (a nice one, too, with a long wooden handle) 5 colors of paint, a plate for mixing colors, and a bowl of water for cleaning your brush.
Each of the participants (the event was open to all young people, ages 1-17) got a primary colored t-shirt. When you looked out you saw this sea of bright colors.
The event was organized by the Olga Sinclair Foundation. [From their website:] “The primary objective of the Olga Sinclair Foundation is to achieve a comprehensive human development through art, aiming to produce a positive transformation in our society. Olga Sinclair believes that feeding the spirit of our youngsters with visual and musical arts wakes up within them a motivation to achieve noble goals in their lives.” Sing it, sista.
It makes me so happy to see things like this happening in Panama!
While walking from the Takoma Metro to the BEST coffee shop in DC (Capital City Cheesecake — best coffee AND best cheesecake) yesterday, I passed by Trohv, a home furnishing and decor shop, and was thrilled by their wonderful holiday window display. Go type, go!