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From Bay Area to Barcelona

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More Milestones... [ Tuesday, 04 Jan 05 | 15:08 ]
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[My Mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

Last week a milestone was passed when my Comcast email account stopped working. This week more milestones have been reached.

I changed my computer so that Spanish is the preferred language and many applications now display menus and messages in Spanish. I also changed my keyboard setting so that it uses the ISO Spanish layout. This makes it easier to type accented vowels like á and é and the letters ñ and ç without having to use the “option” key. The standard alphabet letters are in the same place, but symbols are moved around a bit. I am getting used to this layout as all the ciber cafes have Spanish keyboards.

And now that I have been here at the hotel for two weeks, the rate has been reduced to 30 € a night.

On Monday, 3 January I started looking at electrodomesticos and was surprised to see how uniform they were in size. For example, refrigerators were taller and thinner than in the US. Also, they had a sticker on the front that indicated their energy efficiency. “A” is the highest grade and I also saw a few “A+”s. There were many European brands as well as LG from Korea and Whirlpool from the US. Another interesting thing is that the refrigerators have all drawers rather than a mix of drawers and shelves as they do in the US. And space for several wine bottles. Bottom freezers are the norm rather than on the top. I know that Consumer Reports says that style is more energy efficient, but it is less popular in the US. I even saw two models with built-in LCD TVs!

All the washing machines were front-loading with the controls on the front as well. It looks like typical thing is to stack the dryer on top of the washer. That was the apparent setup in the piso I looked at last Friday. And the other difference is that the washer has a built-in water heater as well. When you wash clothes, you set the temperature in Celsius, of course. And the temperatures usually go up to 90° C or 194° F, which is a lot hotter than the maximum used in the US of 140° F or 60° C. You can match the internationl symbols on clothing you wear in order to wash them correctly. I know that in the US everyone ignores them or don’t know what they mean.

One of the things they promote is the RPM used for the spin cycle. I have seen 1100 RPM on some models. This is so that the clothes come out of the washer nearly dry and only take a few minutes in the dryer. Utility prices are higher here and it is cheaper to spin rather than to heat. :-)