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It’s a gas! - Chuck Fisher's LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
From Bay Area to Barcelona

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It’s a gas! [ Thursday, 17 Feb 05 | 02:26 ]
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[My Mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

After two weeks finally I have gas! Someone came out the day after I went to the notario to check to see that there were vents and a chimney. This past Tuesday a technician did a more rigorous check. And then on Thursday the agent from GasNatural installed a gas meter, lit the water heater, and checked the range.

The caldera (water heater) is located in the kitchen, next to the sink. This is the usual location in Spain. It is a combination water heater and boiler to drive the radiators. There’s no “capacity” as in American water heaters, it’s all demand driven – turn on the tap and the heater produces hot water in seconds. You can set the water temperature just like on US heaters, except this one goes up to 65° C, which is a bit hotter than in the US.

The estufa or range top is interesting as well. There is one large burner, two small ones, and a warming plate. You have to manually light the burners, but the warming plate is self-starting and has two settings: warm and hot. I will probably upgrade the range when things settle down a bit. The oven is separate from the range and electric.

Another difference here is that they do not add an odorant to the gas. So you can’t see or smell it. In the US when you “smell gas”, it’s actually a chemical you smell and not the gas itself.

Now I have no excuse not to cook! And I have been cooking all my meals for several days. When I get back from the States, I will have to go to the supermercado and “stock up”. I bought a four-wheel shopping cart or carreta. The mercado publico for El Masnou is about a 15-minute walk from home.

To celebrate finally having hot water, I took a long, leisurely shower, ahhh...

More on the neighborhood
Now that I have been living in my piso for more than a week, I’ve had a little more time to check things out. I’m being spoiled by the panadería (bakery) just around the corner. It’s not open on Sunday, but they seem friendly enough. I had a croissant on Saturday that had just came out of the oven. It went great with the tortilla francesa (omelette) that I cooked.

My barra de pan integral (whole-wheat baguette) wasn’t ready yet, but after breakfast I went back and picked up warm loaf. I don’t know if I’ve even seen whole-wheat baguettes in the Bay Area, let alone for 0,75 €.

The convenience store is handy too. I’ve bought some nice tomatoes for 1,50 € a kilo, which is a lot cheaper than in the Bay area. I’ll have to ask if they are locally grown. The prices aren’t that out-of-line compared to other stores. Strawberries are starting to come in now, but still too expensive for me to buy.

Spain is famous for its strawberries, just like California. The difference is that in California the pickers speak castellano and in Spain they speak Polish!