Lifts vs stairs

The laboratory is connected to the academic hospital, and is partly on the 2nd floor (level with the ground) and partly on the 3rd floor (one up from the 2nd floor.)  The lift has buttons for floors 2, 3, and 4.  The first thing I thought odd was that there were no stairs near the lifts.  If you want to go up or down, the lifts are the only option.  If you really need to take the stairs, you can go to the other side of the building, which isn't far, and on that side there are no lifts.

I feel quite silly going up one floor in a lift instead of taking the stairs, and even worse going down one floor, but everyone does it.  Eventually I'll have my bearings better and know instinctively which way the stairs are - most things I need downstairs are on the side of the building with the stairs.

The highly unusual thing about these lifts is that, due to their distance from the stairs, they remain functional.  I've only been here for two weeks now, but they have always worked, they stop on all floors, and their buttons don't turn on and off by themselves.

At the Tygerberg Medical Campus of Stellenbosch University one of the places I worked before, the lifts are controlled very ingeniously by a team of experts whose job it is to provide a new puzzle every day for lift users.  On some days, certain buttons remain on all day (that had nothing to do with infection control during the Namibian polio outbreak, which was first identified by my old lab at the top of these lifts); sometimes you cannot call the lift from certain floors; sometimes the experts want people to guess which floor they need to run to in order to catch the lift ... and they are sneaky!  When you reach that floor, sensors detect that you're approaching, and the lift closes and goes up to another floor (usually the 4th), waits there a while, and then comes down slowly, opening on each level for the invisible person who didn't press any buttons.

At that place still fresh in my memory, the same experts are training people for the special olympics - they have a special electric door for people in wheelchairs, and the door is specially fitted with a device that senses when someone is in the doorway, and then it closes on them.  Only the fastest get through in time.  My advice: if you're already injured, in a wheelchair, blind, or use a walking stick, climb over the turnstiles and go up the stairs - it's safer!

None of that excitement at my new lab.  Here there are only 2 relevant floors for the lab staff - they wouldn't get away with it even if they wanted to.

These are the lifts from the outside:

And from the inside:

These are the stairs, looking up from the ground (i.e. 2nd) floor:

These are the stairs from the outside of the building:

I suppose not many blogs have an entire post dedicated to a discussion of the lifts the blog writers use.  I promise to have more virology in future posts, but this is also about my new life, and therefore functioning rural elevators are topical.  In the places I've worked in, functioning elevators are topical, rural or not.

Maybe in a future post I'll go into the fascinating aspects of the buttons in these lifts ...

Key word for the day:

English: lift; plural lifts
Americanese translation: elevator; plural elevators

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